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10 Points of Interest: Cotto-Margarito and undercard

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.


1. Miguel Cotto lost

I hate to overshadow the fact that Antonio Margarito won, but I'd be lying if I said my first, most basic instinct as a fan wasn't the shock that Miguel Cotto lost his first professional fight.

We've seen Cotto in trouble before, against Ricardo Torres and Chop-Chop Corley, but he always rallied. When faced with guys that wouldn't back down, Cotto always came out on top (Mosley, Malignaggi). But Margarito proved to be too much--nothing more, nothing less.

Cotto lost! No longer is Miguel unbeaten. If he can deal with it mentally, he'll be fine. Listen, fighters that fight other real fighters lose fights. What a sentence that was. But it's the truth. Ali lost, Oscar de la Hoya lost, Mosley has lost (obviously), Margarito has lost five fights, Louis lost, Robinson lost, Hagler lost, Hearns lost, Leonard lost, Duran lost, and on and on and on. They all lose fights.

Cotto's performance was really outstanding in many ways, though he showed some real flaws. In becoming more well-rounded, he seems to have lost some of what made him the absolute most destructive body puncher in the sport. He headhunted a lot on Margarito. In the end, that doomed him. Margarito worked the body and chipped away at Cotto. Simple, effective.

2. Antonio Margarito won

How do you rate Margarito's performance? He landed 27% of his punches, compared to Cotto's 43%. Cotto landed on 45% of power punches (179/395). Cotto landed 13 more punches overall (280-267). And Margarito walked through ALL of them. He took ripping shots from Cotto and just moved forward.

Margarito has some of that Kelly Pavlik thing, where he honestly doesn't look like he's hitting all that hard, but he very much is. But it's his epic chin that carried him through the fight. He said, "OK, guy, you can hit me, but I'm never stopping." Just amazing stuff. He was like the Terminator in there.

3. What's next?

You know what? Seriously, how about a rematch? I'm more interested in Margarito-Cotto II than I am in Margarito-Williams II, and I'm more interested in that rematch than I am watching Margarito wail on Oscar de la Hoya. Antonio against Oscar just sounds like a slaughter to me. I doubt I'm alone.

4. PPV undercards HAVE TO get better

The energy in the arena was non-existent throughout the three-fight televised undercard, which featured a fantastic brawl between Giovanni Segura and Cesar Canchila, and also two predictable mismatches that saw Mike Alvarado and Bernabe Concepcion score knockouts.

For those of us that care about the undercards and actually watch the fights, it was excruciating. For one thing, Segura and Canchila deserved a better reception for their fight. But what were they supposed to be excited about? Sure, Alvarado and Cesar Bazan tore into each other, but it wasn't exactly thrilling. The Concepcion fight finished well (and quickly), but nobody knows who in the hell Adam Carrera is, and most people are still not familiar with Concepcion.

We are paying money and getting fights that are, at best, Wednesday Night Fights main events. That has to change. Even for diehards, these fights are hard to get excited about when you're waiting on something like Cotto-Margarito.

There is nothing to lose by spending more money on a card to make more money off of it. You load up a card, and more people buy, because there are more interesting fights to pay for. I get the logistics and the risks, but isn't it worth trying? Segura-Canchila was superb; it also should've been an opener.

5. The Mike Tyson fawning has grown beyond tired

I guess I understand why they show Tyson in the crowd, and last night he was there with two of his sons. Jim Lampley said, "A great American tradition. A father and his sons at a boxing match." Like he was looking at something less than a man who has led a rather deplorable life.

We celebrate Mike Tyson. Why? Boxing should try to distance itself from Tyson and his image. It's not that I have no empathy for the man and his struggles, but continually pointing out Tyson does two things: (1) reminds people of what they think is missing from the sport, and (2) reminds people of something a lot of them hate about the sport.

6. Fight of the Year?

I wouldn't argue with anyone that had Cotto-Margarito as their Fight of the Year right now, but I'd respectfully disagree. They didn't manage to top Vazquez-Marquez III; that's OK, because not many fights have.

What do you have? I really think Segura-Canchila is up there, too. These two fights and the Lacy-Mendoza thriller made for quite a week of great fights.

7. Alvarado wants a top ten opponent

Mike Alvarado came out of his KO win over veteran Cesar Bazan and said he feels he's top 10 in the 140-pound division, and that he wants to face another contender or a titleholder.

Well, good luck. Alvarado got his start in boxing late, picking up the fight game at age 18 after a high school wrestling career, and it still shows. He's got power and possesses some raw skills, but they are still very, very raw. He'd be eaten alive by anyone in the top ten at 140. I wouldn't even pick him over a guy like Lovemore N'dou.

8. Who's No. 1 at 147?

It's not boxing's best division anymore (135), but now there's a real jumble at the top. The top four, undoubtedly, are Margarito, Cotto, Williams and Mosley.

Margarito beat Cotto. Williams beat Margarito. Cotto beat Mosley. Mosley has beaten none of them, but on the right night, I still think he puts any of them to the test and then some. To me, Mosley has to be a clear fourth, based on his age more than anything. So who's No. 1? If you break it down simply and throw no bias in, it's Paul Williams, isn't it? "The Punisher" beat Margarito and violently avenged his only loss to Carlos Quintana. But I'd throw bias in and say it's Margarito right now. I think the "Tornado" beats Williams if they fight again, though the fact is Williams is 1-for-1 against Margarito.

It's a fearsome foursome, to be sure.

9. Never count your chickens

I'll also admit that I felt a lot like Kieran Mulvaney did last night. In the first half of the fight, with Cotto's skill and ring awareness shining, plus his ability to beat Margarito to the punch, I thought, "This is a good fight, but we're on our way to a runaway decision."

Like Mulvaney, I was thinking ahead, but at one moment, I stopped myself. I wanted to say, during the fight, "You know what? Mayweather can't beat Cotto." Cotto looked untouchable at points early on, and it felt like Margarito just had no chance.

But something stopped me from saying it. I thought, "This could turn around any time." Moments later, it started to. I didn't expect it to, but it happened.

10. Conditioning, conditioning, conditioning

Is anyone as well-conditioned as Margarito? His stamina is off the charts. He seems absolutely tireless in there, able to punch and punch and punch (he launched 130 shots in the seventh round alone) without quitting. He didn't take a single round off. He felt Cotto out in the first round, and then he started to cook.

Bob Arum described Margarito as a freight train that just kept rolling downhill until he inevitably ran Cotto over. It's the perfect way to put it.

For years, Antonio Margarito was hyped as the most avoided fighter in the game, the most feared man out there. He ran into Paul Williams, made some mistakes, and lost the fight. But it's now very easy to see (again) just why he was hyped how he was. Congratulations, Antonio. Welcome to the elite.

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