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Cotto vs Margarito 2: Steve Smoger Named Referee for Saturday's Rematch

Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito have a referee who will let them go to war on Saturday. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito have a referee who will let them go to war on Saturday. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito went to war in 2008, and the tone from both is that they plan to do the same on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

They've got a referee who fits that plan.

Steve Smoger, known as an action-friendly referee who doesn't step in to stop fights early (and sometimes waits too long for the tastes of many), will be the third man in the ring on Saturday night, says Top Rank's Carl Moretti.

A pair of fights show the best and worst of Smoger just this year. On July 15 at New York's Roseland Ballroom, Smoger oversaw the non-stop action between Pawel Wolak and Delvin Rodriguez, who will also rematch on Saturday's card. As Wolak developed a grotesque hematoma, Smoger did his job and made sure the fight doctor was OK with the fight continuing, but otherwise stayed out of the way and let the fighters fight.

[ Related: Wolak vs Rodriguez Post-Fight Recap ]

At one point, Smoger audibly shouted, "Doc said let 'em roll!" It was one of those moments fight fans love.

But then there was Smoger's trip to Russia on May 21, where he refereed the ill-advised fight between Denis Lebedev and Roy Jones Jr.

Jones was being badly battered late in the final round of that bout, and Smoger's slow reaction to get in and stop the fight saw Jones take an extra brutal shot from the hard-punching Russian. Out on his feet, Jones crumbled to the mat and looked bad even after getting to his feet.

[ Related: Jones vs Lebedev Post-Fight Recap ]

So what do you say here? Yea or nay on Smoger being named the referee? We often love that he lets the fighters do their jobs, but Margarito's eye is a very real concern, even after he's been approved by doctors and licensed by New York.

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