26.7.08

Round by Round: Cotto vs. Margarito

The most highly anticipated fight of 2008 is almost ready to begin. We're just a few minutes away from seeing Miguel Cotto take on Antonio Margarito, but we've got three national anthems to get through first. Leading off is the Mexican anthem by Rocky, followed by the Puerto Rican anthem. Jasmine Villegas handles the "Star-Spangled Banner." 

The tale of the tape shows both fighters weighing in at 147 pounds with equal arm lengths. Margarito, of course, has a height advantage of several inches.

Margarito comes to the ring first, sporting a red headband and representing Mexico with his country's colors on the hood of his robe. Cotto's robe has angel wings on it. The crowd sounds like it's split pretty evenly between the two fighters.

Kenny Bayless is the referee for tonight's fight. Michael Buffer handles the introductions with his usual flair. Both men look like they are in fantastic shape, though Cotto looks maybe a tad thin. And we're ready to go.

Round 1

Cotto working the jab early and Margarito not rushing in as fast as you may think. Nice left uppercut to the body by Tony. Two nice 1-2 combos by Cotto. He's been backing up a lot but he's boxing well. Left hands both ways and a brief flurry by Cotto. Left uppercut by Margarito and he eats some straight shots back. Cotto looking very sharp with counters. Miguel warned for some shots right on the beltline.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 2

Cotto lands a right as Tony tries to work the jab. Nice flurry by Cotto and he ducks away from return fire. Margarito tries to pressure along the ropes but Cotto works off the ropes well. Nice right by Tony. Now Margarito pressures and Cotto has to cover up. Nice left by Cotto. They trade in the corner as the crowd gets into it. Left hooks crash home by Cotto; Tony fires back with a right. Another good exchange along the ropes. Cotto works a nice combo, jumps away then right back in with a left before the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 3

Big swing and a miss by Tony as Cotto backs. Counter shot by Cotto and he ducks away again. More good work both ways from close range. Body shots by Tony and a right upstairs. Stiff jab by Margarito. Cotto picks his spots; Margarito is warned for low shots. Cotto gets a little space with a left and Tony is warned for a second time. Both men land lefts at the same time. Good exchanges along the ropes and in the center in the waning seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 4

Harold Lederman gave the second round to Margarito. The action in the third starts in the center of the ring. Tony is jabbing in a little more now. The first minute is fairly uneventful. Body shot by Miguel answered by a stiff uppercut. It looks like a headbutt as both men get in close. Straight right by Margarito. Stiff left in the corner by Cotto. Tony has the edge briefly in the corner and Cotto works his way out again.

Franchise: 10-9 Margarito
Uatu: 10-9 Margarito
Spartan117: 10-9 Margarito

Round 5

Cotto still sticking and circling to start the fifth. The announcers think Tony could be cutting off the ring more effectively. Good right along the ropes by Margarito, and another. Jabs both ways. Uppercut from Cotto. Two quick left hands from Cotto find the mark. Now a good flurry as Margarito can't get off. Cotto is moving well but he's using a lot of energy staying mobile. With 10 seconds left, Margarito finally scores with a few rights, but it may have been too little, too late.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 6

Margarito was very inaccurate in that last round, but we know he will just keep coming. His corner wants him to actually pick up the quantity, if that's possible. Low shot by Tony and Cotto lands a pair of uppercuts. Now they stand and try to trade along the ropes, but both men cover up well. Tony is trying to throw, he's just having trouble finding openings. A quick flurry and an uppercut by Cotto. Now a right hand scores for Tony, though Cotto comes right back. Triple right hands by Margarito but they may not have landed clean.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 7

The drama in this fight is a bit different than what was expected, but it's still compelling. Tony starts strong along the ropes with body and head punches. They fight into the opposite corner and Cotto finally looks like he may be stunned a bit. Cotto looks wobbly as he gets hit with lefts and rights. Several shots look like they may be low both ways. Cotto scores with a few of his own punches. More body shots by Tony along the ropes and Miguel is forced to clinch twice. Uppercuts crash home for Tony and Cotto is bloody.

Franchise: 10-9 Margarito
Uatu: 10-9 Margarito
Spartan117: 10-9 Margarito

Round 8

We'll see if the momentum is starting to swing. Cotto returns to his lateral movement, which he almost has to do. A little more clinching now than before. The crowd starts a Mexico chant. Left hands by Cotto and he dances to the side. Less action in this round and it favors the champ. Tony comes in behind multiple uppercuts. Great combo by Cotto with ten seconds to go.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Margarito

Round 9

Cotto strikes with quick shots and moves back. Lederman has the fight even through eight. Good flurry by Cotto and Margarito goes back to work. Tony briefly gets the upper hand and Cotto clinches to escape. Cotto switches southpaw for a minute. Very nice boxing display by the champ rights now as he unleashes another flurry while backed against the ropes. Constant pressure by Margarito as always, but he just didn't land as many punches.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 10

Jab by Cotto and he still has some bounce in his legs. More jabs as he circles left. Combo work by Miguel and he ducks back. Tony doing a little holding as he tries to track down his foe. Nice left hand upstairs by Cotto. Another good left though Tony scores with a right in response. Good right hand snaps Margarito's head back. Tony finally tracks him down but most of his punches are picked off. Now Margarito lands a big flurry and may have Cotto hurt. Tough round to score thanks to that last exchange.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 11

Margarito clearly feeling confident after the end of the tenth. He wades in and Cotto is still game, landing a two-punch combo. Overhand right by Tony coming in. Left to the head by Tony. Left-right combo forces Cotto to take a knee and he is bloody! Cotto is holding on for dear life and he's knocked to a knee again in the corner. Relentless pressure by Margarito has forced the champ to wilt and the ref has called it.

Replays showed that the first knockdown came thanks to a left-right combo, both of which were uppercuts. Margarito just kept throwing, and Cotto took the second knee completely of his own will. Cotto's corner threw in the towel because he clearly had nothing left.

The winner by TKO at 2:05 of the 11th round... and new WBA welterweight champion... Antonio Margarito.

Not surprisingly, Margarito threw and landed more punches, but Cotto landed at a higher percentage. Tony gives credit to Cotto for being a strong fighter, but he told his corner he would get the knockout, and it did come. He says he was never hurt, and felt he could press the action even more beginning with the sixth round. 

Steward says you can beat Margarito over the course of one or two rounds, but it's too difficult to hang in with him for 12 rounds because of the volume and variety of punches he throws. Lampley doesn't think Cotto's reputation will take too much of a hit because he performed well. Replays of the last round confirm that Cotto did indeed take the second knee with no punches landing, though he got hit with several hard body shots after the first knockdown.

Kellerman tries to get an interview with Cotto, but the former champ is apparently too emotional to grant him one. Max thinks Miguel will have to do some soul-searching after this loss, as he's used to breaking down his opponents and he had his own will broken tonight.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great job! Kudos to you!

F.R. Texas

The Franchise said...

Thanks for the kind words. The fight may not have had the back-and-forth drama of some all-time classic fights, but it certainly was compelling and came to an exciting conclusion.

Margarito deserves all the props he's going to get after his win tonight. He's great for the sport because he fights a crowd-pleasing style, looks to knock out every opponent and always has a smile on his face.