By John F. McKenna (McJack)
WBA super light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KO’s) was impressive in his win over former WBA/WBO/IBF welterweight champion Antonio Margarito (38-8, 27 KO’s). Cotto trained for a tough fight and was prepared for the relentless pressure that he knew Antonio would bring to the fight.
Cotto changed his strategy in his 2nd encounter with Margarito. He used angles, weaved in, landed his shots and then moved back out of harms way. To Miguel’s credit he did not let his 2nd fight with Margarito turn into the war of attrition the first fight had.
Cotto was able to evade Margarito’s wide right hands by stepping to the side. Cotto adapted well to Antonio’s one dimensional offense. Cotto stuck to the game plan laid out for him and the reward was that he finally got the monkey off his back so to speak. No longer is he haunted by the debilitating beating he suffered at the hands of Margarito in July 2008.
Cotto demonstrated very clearly that Antonio is a one dimensional fighter who only knows how to move in relentlessly and deliver punishment. It worked in the first fight for Margarito but that strategy fell far short against Cotto last Saturday night.
As expected Cotto is elated at his huge victory over Margarito and the future is looking up for him. He is even entertaining the thought of having another go at WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquioa (54-3-2, 38 KO’s) who KO’d Miguel in 12 rounds in November 2009. In that fight Manny used his dominating speed and power to overwhelm Cotto, flooring him once in the 3RD, again in the 4th round and finally stopping him in 55 seconds of the 12th round. Afterwards Cotto acknowledged that he could not even tell where the punches were coming from.
But after Pacquiao’s lack luster performance against his long time nemesis WBO/WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KO’s) on November 12 Manny no longer appears to be a superman. It is not far fetched for Cotto to believe that he has a real shot against Pacquiao in a rematch. He fought a poor fight against Manny in November 2009 and he proved against Margarito that he can adapt to different styles.
But it is too easy to just write off Manny Pacquiao based on his performance in one fight. All of the great fighters from the past were plagued by styles and fighters they could not fathom. As great a fighter as Muhmmad Ali was he could never figure out Ken Norton, a fighter who seemingly did not belong in the same ring with Ali. Norton fought Ali three times, winning the first, losing a close decision in the 2nd fight and losing a highly controversial decision to Ali in their 3rd fight. Norton had been easily TKO’d by both George Foreman and Ernie Shavers, opponents that Ali defeated decisively.
It is understandable that Cotto would want to defeat the only other fighter to beat him. Cotto – Pacquiao II would be an interesting match up.
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