Karma got its revenge? Antonio Margarito found that out first hand as Miguel Cotto exacted revenge in impressive fashion in their hotly anticipated grudge rematch. With a sold-out crowd of 21,000 mostly Puerto Rican Cotto fans absolutely rocking Madison Square Garden, he ended his saga with “Margacheato” in glorious fashion. He gave him what he deserved — a lopsided beating.
Cotto took full advantage of Margarito’s surgically repaired right eye — which nearly prevented him from being licensed by the New York State Athletic Commission until a soap opera of hearings and additional eye exams paved the way two weeks before the fight. Cotto, 31, dominated the exciting, albeit one-sided, contest. He was in great shape, was fast and implemented the perfect game plan from trainer Pedro Diaz, with whom he was working for the first time.
Cotto fired accurate shots and was able to move away before taking too much in return from painfully slow Margarito, who winged wild shots and never stopped coming forward but was utterly outclassed.
By the third round, Cotto had swelled up the right eye, which eventually was completely closed, leaving Margarito with no vision on the right side. The ringside doctors watched the eye even more closely than they normally would because of the fact that Margarito had suffered a severe injury to it in his previous fight a year ago in a crushing one-sided decision loss to Manny Pacquiao.
Margarito suffered a badly broken orbital bone, needed surgery to remove a cataract and had an artificial lens placed in the eye. Round after round, the eye was checked and, finally, there was a lengthy powwow between the doctors and referee Steve Smoger in the Margarito corner after the ninth round. As the discussion continued, the bell to start the 10th round rang and Smoger called timeout. After some more conversation, Smoger finally called off the fight three seconds into the round on the instruction of Dr. Anthony Curreri, the head ringside physician.
The call sent the Garden crowd into a massive celebration. It was like July Fourth and New Year’s Eve rolled into one inside the arena. Cotto, meanwhile, looked more satisfied and relieved than jubilant as he walked to Margarito’s corner and gave him a nasty stare. He probably would have liked to continue pummelling his face, but at least he had avenged his tainted loss to the Mexican villain.
Common knowledge is that a few months after Margarito stopped Cotto in the 11th round of their July 2008 classic — when he came on strong in the second half of the fight to rally and make Cotto take a knee — the win became clouded in controversy because, in Margarito’s next fight, in January 2009, he tried to enter the ring against Shane Mosley with doctored hand wraps in which illegal pads coated in a plaster like substance were discovered after Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson, forced them to be checked.
Since then, Cotto and many others have strongly believed that Margarito got away with fighting him with loaded wraps. It made for a tension- and hate-filled promotion, with Cotto having the last laugh. In his past four fights, ones in which we know for sure that Margarito’s hands were legal, he has only won once and has taken beatings from Mosley, Pacquiao and now Cotto.
In the only win, Margarito, 33, went the distance against a low-level opponent. Based on his recent history, it is not unreasonable to view Margarito’s career as a fraud because of the wraps scandal. In fights when we know he did not have loaded wraps, he has showed no power. And now he is taking regular beatings and looks finished. Cotto, however, looked as good as he has looked since the first six dominating rounds of the first fight with Margarito. He has good fights in front of him, but Margarito, who needed 12 stitches to close the cuts to his bloody right eye, is yesterday’s news. It Looks like good triumphing over bad.