By John F. McKenna (McJack)
In what must have been the most satisfying win of his career, WBA super light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KO’s) scored a one sided 10 round TKO over former WBC super welterweight champion Antonio Margarito (38-8, 27 KO’s) Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Nearly 3 ½ years ago in July 2008 Margarito won via a 11th round TKO in a savage beat down of Cotto in a fight that Miguel’s father was forced to throw in the white towel of surrender to Margarito.
Margarito’s 2008 victory over Cotto will be forever tainted because of what happened prior to his very next fight with Shane Mosley. Before the fight against Mosley his wily trainer Nazim Richardson noticed something unusual with Antonio’s hand wraps. The wraps were confiscated before the fight started and it was later discovered that they contained material consistent with plaster of Paris. Mosley wound up scoring a 9th round TKO over Margarito winning virtually every round.
“El Tornado” has not been the same since. Because of the illegal hand wraps Margarito was banned from the ring for one year. Upon his return to the ring in November 2010 Antonio suffered a savage beating at the hands of the Filipino dynamo WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. In the Pacquiao fight Margarito received a broken orbital bone in his right eye which had to be surgically repaired.
It his long awaited rematch against Margarito, Cotto fought wisely. Cotto used an assortment of combos against his slower opponent and moved to his right to avoid Margartio’s powerful right hand. Miguel also took advantage of every opportunity to go after Antonio’s right eye causing it to swell under the pounding. The hugely partisan Puerto Rican crowd in the sold out Madison Square Garden voiced their approval with almost every punch landed by Cotto.
With Margarito’s right eye continuing to swell the ringside physicians, one of them an eye doctor checked on his eye after the 9th round. At that point it was just a matter of time.
The situation only got worse for Margarito as Cotto focused on the injured eye during the 10th round. Finally the referee had, had enough and chose to stop the contest, saving Margarito from any further damage.
Cotto did what he set out to do. The redemption he sought for so long was especially sweet. Miguel pointed out that he did not suffer the damage to his face that he had in the first fight with Margarito. Clearly a reference to his belief that “El Tornado” had used illegal wraps in their fight in July 2008.
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