"Back To The Future"
Cotto and Margarito in the ring
W.B.A. Super Welterweight Champion, Miguel Angel Cotto, (36-2, 29 k.o.'s), will reach back and defend his crown against his persistent antagonist, former 3-time world champ Antonio "The Tijuana Tornado" Margarito, (37-7, 27 k.o.'s), on Saturday, December 3, 2011 in the mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden, N.Y.C.
This surprising announcement was confirmed at a press conference within the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan, on Tuesday, September 20, 2011. Since there are so many other lucrative fight choices at hand, Cotto was asked why he chose the formerly suspended and recognized cheater Antonio Margarito, instead of challenging other opponents like undefeated, W.B.C. Junior Middleweight Champ, Saul "El Canelo" Alvarez, (37-0-1, 27, k.o.'s), Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo, top junior middleweight contender, or maybe, even newly crowned 147 pound W.B.C. Champ, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Cotto simply replied his upcoming fight was not only to defend his crown, but it was also to seek vengeance for his first defeat by Margarito. He boasted (referring to Margarito) "I'll beat him on my birthday, December 3rd. Then, I'll go after the rest."
What this sportswriter doesn't fully understand, is why a fighter who committed the criminal act of loading his gloves with a "plaster-of-paris" substance prior to his fight with Shane Mosley in 2009, and was caught by Naazim Richardson, Mosley's trainer, is allowed to continue to fight. It's unbelievable that Margarito's punishment was a mere slap on the wrist comprised of a fine, and a one year suspension. Instead of further punishment, he is awarded 2 lucrative pay-per-view championship fights: Pacquiao, on November, 2010, and now Cotto. Where is the justice?
Margarito's claims that he didn't "see" what his trainer Javier Capetillo, was placing on his hands, was totally untrue, and ridiculous. Having been a boxer for 11 years (amateur and pro), I sat face to face with my trainer as he taped my hands. You can clearly see how and with what, your hands are being wrapped. This incident has led to a growing suspicion via grandfathering some of Margarito's past fights, that his hands could've been doctored when he twice k.o.'d Kermit Cintron and Golden Johnson. This may have also been the case, it's suspected, in his previous fight with Cotto. In fact, during an interview, Cotto discussed the past fight with Margarito wherein he noticed that Margarito's hands felt harder and heavier after the 7th. round. Something he had not felt in the earlier rounds. The question is -- was Margarito also cheating then? Your guess is as good as mine.
Boxing Commissions across the country should know that if Margarito had fought Mosley with those dangerous illegal gloves, Mosley could've suffered career ending injuries, or even worse, death.
Fortunately for Margarito's and his trainer Javier "El General" Capetillo's, their crimes were discovered and stopped before the fight and in the dressing room, and thus, only justified, a fine and a year long suspension. In a just world, Margarito should have had to apply to restore his boxing license after his suspension, and even after being reinstated, he should have only been allowed to fight preliminaries in "tank towns", in order to work his way back up to worthy contender status. Sadly, that was not to be since Margarito was given a one day pass to fight Pacquiao in Texas Stadium, on November 14, 2010, apparently, without the approval of the other State Athletic Commissions. It is mind- boggling to me that the New York City Boxing Commission with its stringent boxing mandates, would allow this fight to be held, without Margarito appealing for re-instatement of his boxing license here in New York.
"Iron" Mike Tyson had to publicly appeal to a State Athletic Commission to restore his license after his brawl at a press conference in a mid-town hotel wherein his fight with Lennox Lewis was announced several years ago. Having attended that press conference, to this day, I still believe Tyson was "set-up." In my opinion,Tyson, like Luis Resto, were just innocent pawns.
The Margarito glove padding case reminded me of the tragic Luis Resto vs. Billy Collins, Jr., fight that ended the boxing career of Collins after he suffered a knockout by Resto in the eigth round, which then resulted in the death of Collins a few months later, by vehicular accident or suicide. It is suspected that Collin's demise may have been due to glove tampering which was the removal of the horse hair fillings from Resto's gloves prior to their fight in 1985, a welterweight elimination semi-final fight, before the Roberto Duran vs. Davey Moore, Junior Middleweight Championship fight, won by Duran by a T.K.O., in Madison Square Garden.
From that day to the present time, I have always believed that Resto was the innocent "dupe," of his trainer, Panama Lewis' glove tampering. Panama Lewis was banned for life in New York State but was allowed to train fighters in Florida, although Lewis could not work in the fighter's corner on fight night. I knew Luis Resto from his P.A.L. and Golden Gloves amateur days. He was trained by my former Golden Gloves trainer, Frank Rodriguez, and I always knew that Resto (although he was a very good boxer-amateur and in the pro ranks), never developed a knockout punch. Thus, there may be little doubt, his pro trainers hoping for an "edge" in his fight with Collins, "doctored" his gloves. For that, Resto went to prison ending his promising boxing career.
There is a growing consensus by those who recall the Resto case, that not only should Margarito been banned for life, but he should have also served time in prison. Personally, I don't agree. You have to understand that although the Resto and Margarito cases were similar cheating in the ring, all 3-parts of the Resto crime were enacted: 1) Glove tampering; 2) The brutal beating suffered by Collins which ended in a knockout, and 3) Billy Collins' death. However, Margarito's glove tampering "crime" was stopped in step #1.
After thought: If Miguel Cotto is on a revenge laden crusade, then his next opponent is Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao is also the only other fighter who has defeated him and with a knockout at that. Beware of the "avenging angel." Hopefully, if this is Cotto's intent, it won't occur until after Pacquiao fights Marquez, and, hopefully, after the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao mega fight, next year.
I feel that the "born-again" Miguel Cotto, under the tutelage of his boxing guru, Emmanuel Steward, should beat Margarito, if not by a close unanimous decision, by a later round stoppage. In my opinion, I don't think Margarito has fully recovered from the brutal punishment which resulted in a fractured right eye socket he suffered at the hands of Manny Pacquiao.