Really, that's the best way I can sum up Antonio Margarito's impressive performance during his much-anticipated fight last Saturday against Miguel Cotto. It wasn't the things he showed us - the stifling pressure, the granite chin and the power - as much as the way he put them together. It was easy to believe his post-fight assertion that he could feel the fight turning his way in the middle rounds, and that if he stuck with his plan, he'd come away with the win.
As a fan, it's also easy to feel good about Margarito winning on such a big stage. His crowd-pleasing style is great for boxing, he carries himself well and genuinely seems to enjoy all aspects of his chosen profession. The sport could do a lot worse than to have more champions like him.
That's taking nothing away from Cotto, who fought the most skillful bout I've ever seen from him. Realizing fairly early on that he would be the worse for wear if he just stood and traded with Margarito, he showed excellent lateral movement and was able to use his jab and quick combos to stay out of trouble for quite a while. I've always agreed with those who felt Cotto's boxing skills didn't get enough credit, and nothing that happened Saturday changed my mind.
Still, it was a jarring sight to see the undefeated champ bloodied and reduced to taking a knee from Margarito's onslaught. Cotto simply ran out of gas and answers, and I'm sure his pride hurt even more than his body when his corner threw in the towel.
As for the fight itself, it was very enjoyable and worth paying to see, unlike some other pay-per-view offerings coming this fall (
Margarito certainly seems to have numerous options coming off his big win. Could one be Oscar De La Hoya? Dan Rafael of ESPN says it's possible. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports says the Golden Boy will be looking to fight anyone but Margarito for his supposed final bout, and I can't see Oscar risking permanent damage to his omnipresent smile by stepping in against the Tijuana Tornado.
Steve Kim reports for MaxBoxing that there are obstacles to a Margarito-Paul Williams rematch (subscription needed to read), so the most likely immediate opponents are either the Shane Mosley-Ricardo Mayorga winner or the Zab Judah-Josh Clottey victor. Jake Donovan agrees that the stakes are higher for Judah-Clottey now that Margarito is on top and looking for his next dance partner.
Meanwhile, the AP is reporting that the California State Athletic Commission has changed the James Toney-Hasim Rahman decision from a TKO to a no decision. It's probably the "right" call since Rahman's cut was ruled to have been caused by a head butt, but it still sucks to see The Rock win his appeal when he pretty obviously was hoping to escape from what was looking more and more like an eventual loss at Toney's hands. Lights Out is bound to be extremely motivated if they face each other again.