Weakened Eye To Defeat Margarito; & Undercard Results From
By Tim Donaldson
Photos: Dorotea Arango
Boxing, like any type of
combat, is all about finding your opponent’s weaknesses
and using them to your advantage. If you cannot find a
weakness, you try to create one. When Margarito defeated
Cotto in their first fight, he kept going to the body of
Cotto, wearing him down, so he could exploit that
weakness at the end of the fight. If Margarito did use
plaster in that fight as Cotto and many others believe,
that too gave him an advantage. Cotto, likewise,
exploited Margarito’s weaknesses.
It began even before the fight had started. Cotto and
his team asked for the assistance of Naazim Richardson.
It was no surprise. Richardson was the one who found the
tainted wraps when Margarito fought Mosley. It was that
night that Mosley easily defeated Margarito. The
presence of Naazim Richardson would have as much to do
with reminding Margarito of that night, as it was to
make sure that he did not cheat. He was there to give
Cotto a psychological edge.
Although some of the
press was aware of Naazim Richardson’s presence at the
fight, the majority of the crowd was left in the dark.
These are the little things that go on behind the scenes
that can make a big difference. However, Cotto probably
did not need that psychological edge. He had made it
clear long before the fight that he was going to target
Margarito’s eye. Although Pacquiao probably never
intended it for this reason, the damage he did to that
eye was a gift to Miguel Cotto.
Everyone knew that Margarito’s eye could be trouble. It
was talked about. The HBO show 24/7 mentioned that it
could be a problem. Even the New York Athletic
Commission saw the potential for disaster, but their
doctors cleared Margarito to fight. And so, Margarito
was cleared to climb into the ring to face Miguel Cotto
one more time.
Cotto, who has always
had more boxing skills than Margarito, moved around the
ring in the first round, landing his jab with little
difficulty. He didn’t give Margarito the opportunity to
trade with him. Although Margarito was able to catch
Cotto more in the second, it still was not enough. Cotto
was landing combination after combination. And to even
the most casual observer, it was obvious that Cotto was
aiming all of his shots to the head of Margarito.
The payoff for all of these shots to the head came early
in the fight. It was in the first half of the third
round that blood could be seen coming from Margarito’s
right eye. At first, Margarito was still able to fight.
He was attempting to cut off the ring and landed several
good shots at the end of the round. But by the beginning
of the fourth round, it was clear that Margarito was
losing the use of his right eye. Cotto kept aiming for
the eye. The fifth round was the last round that
Margarito put up any type of fight for Cotto. Margarito
kept coming forward in the first half of the round.
Cotto was able to knock him back. However, Margarito was
pressuring Cotto back at the end of the round.
By the sixth round, the
fight was effectively over. Cotto was landing shots to
the head of Margarito at will. Every time Cotto threw
the left, it seemed to connect with the right eye of
Margarito. Margarito had lost his peripheral vision and
probably his depth perception too. From that round on,
the rounds all looked the same. Margarito was throwing a
probing jab to judge the distance of Cotto. He was doing
everything possible to keep the fight inside. Cotto kept
moving, landing shot after shot to the head of
Margarito. Margarito would stalk toward Cotto, trying to
close the gap, and the whole time Cotto just kept
hitting that eye. In the ninth round, Margarito had
tripped into Cotto. Cotto was using his weight to push
Margarito to the ropes and then he would open up on
Margarito once again.
Between each round, the doctors would check Margarito’s
eye. They probably had reason to stop the fight by the
fifth or sixth round, but Referee Steve Smoger stopped
it at the beginning of the tenth at the doctor’s advice.
Cotto had gotten his revenge. His revenge appears to go
much deeper than just beating Antonio Margarito. To
Cotto’s fans and many fans of boxing, Margarito’s entire
career will once again be called into question. It will
be that much harder for Margarito to deny any wrong
doing. And then there is the question of Margarito’s
eye. Will Antonio Margarito be able to box again?
The undercard featured some of the up and coming
fighters. Brandon Rios defeated John Murray by TKO.
Murray proved to be a tough opponent who refused to back
down. His strategy rested on fighting inside. As long as
he could do this, he could neutralize Rios. But when
Rios could get some distance, Murray found himself on
the losing end. For the majority of the fight, Rios had
little trouble slipping his shots through the defenses
of John Murray. And when Murray started to get the upper
hand, Rios would quickly turn it back around. In the
third, Murray was knocking Rios back across the ring but
was stopped by a body shot from Rios. However, Murray
did have some success in the fourth and fifth rounds. In
the fifth, Rios was throwing little more than his jab.
By the sixth round, Rios was clearly in control again.
He was throwing hooks and following them up with upper
cuts. Rios was having little trouble backing Murray
around the ring. Blood was coming from the nose of
Murray, and by the end of the round, he was covered in
blood. Murray kept his distance in the seventh but still
managed to throw a low shot. By the tenth round, both
fighters were looking tired. In the eleventh, Rios
staggered Murray. Murray was obviously in trouble. Rios
backed him to the ropes. It was obvious Murray would not
survive, and Referee Earl Brown stopped the fight.
Delvin Rodriguez and Pawel Wolak fought a tough fight.
Wolak is a true puncher, with little finesse. Wolak
fights one way. Forward and inside. Rodriguez, to defeat
Wolak, relied on his boxing skills. He kept distance
between them. He would come in long enough to land his
shots and then get out. At times, he would keep his left
hand in the face of Wolak and then try to follow it up
with his right. Rodriguez proved his skills whenever
caught on the ropes. He would spin out and catch Wolak.
By the tenth round, Wolak looked tired and had no power
behind his punches. Rodriguez won the unanimous decision
of the judges. The scores were 98-91, 98-92, and 100-90.
Mike Jones and Sebastian Lujan led the televised portion
of the fight in their IBF eliminator fight. It was
Jones’ first real test since his rematch with Soto
Karass. It seems that Mike Jones may have learned the
lesson of the first Soto Karass fight all too well, as
some in the press thought he was not exciting enough.
However, Jones did prove himself to be a more
disciplined fighter. It was in the second round of the
first Soto Karass fight that he punched himself out.
Jones had Lujan on the ropes in the second but did not
make the same mistake. Jones was landing his shots to
both the head and body of Lujan. This was having a
noticeable effect on Lujan by the seventh, as his
punches seemed to lack power. Although it looked as
though Jones might knock out Lujan in the twelfth, Lujan
survived. Jones won by unanimous decision. Two judges
scored the fight 119-109, while one scored it 118-110.
In the first fight of the evening, Welterweight Samuel
Figueroa beat Ibrihim Shabazz by split decision.
Figueroa knocked Shabazz down in the first round, giving
him the advantage.
Bantamweight Hanzel Martinez beat Felipe Castaneda by
majority decision in a four round contest.
Super Welterweight Glen Tapia knocked out Mike Ruiz in
the second. Tapia looked to be in trouble but battled
back to knock out Ruiz at the end of the round.
Sean Monaghan beat Santos Martinez by TKO. Monaghan
knocked down Martinez in the first. The bout was stopped
in the second round.
Mike Lee beat Allen Medina by TKO. The fight was stopped
in the fourth round.