Miguel Cotto boxed brilliantly tonight, and did as he promised: He targeted Antonio Margarito's bad right eye, and after nine rounds of largely one-sided action that did see Margarito press relentlessly, Cotto avenged his 2008 defeat at Margarito's hands, as doctors advised referee Steve Smoger to stop the fight.
Cotto was up 89-82 on the Bad Left Hook scorecard at the time of stoppage.
Cotto (37-2, 30 KO) was able to bust open Margarito's eye fairly early, and close it up shortly after. Statistically, Margarito was dominated. Margarito landed just 157 of 700 punches (22%), with 33% of his power shots and 8% of his jabs connecting. Cotto landed 210 of 493 punches thrown (43%), including 51% of his power shots (148 of 293). Cotto landed 62 of 200 jabs (31%).
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When the fight was stopped, Cotto went to Margarito's corner, stared at him, and after the fight, said he wanted to do that just to enjoy his victory.
"He means nothing to me," Cotto said to HBO's Max Kellerman. "He means really nothing to me."
Kellerman asked how Margarito's punches felt. "I'm still awake," said Cotto. "That's my answer. After nine rounds, I'm on my feet."
Asked what's next, Cotto said, "I think I've earned a really good rest, and in a couple of weeks, we can talk about boxing."
Margarito falls to 38-8 (27 KO). Margarito, it needs to be said, didn't seem to have a lot of punching power tonight, but was triple tough and did not want the fight to be stopped.
"I told them how many numbers they were holding up, but I knew they were out to protect him," said Margarito. "It's his building."
Asked about how he felt about how the fight was going, Margarito said, "I hurt him. Look at his face. I'll say it again: He hits like a girl."
Margarito said this with a right eye completely swollen shut.
We'll see what the future holds for Miguel Cotto, who may now leave Top Rank and look for big fights elsewhere. For Margarito, it's one more fight in a career that may not have many left.