By John Lumpkin: Watching Max Kellerman’s Face Off promo featuring Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito made it clear that Cotto sincerely believes that Margarito cheated in their first bout.
He even brought a photo which he claimed was proof positive of the use of plaster of Paris in Margarito’s wraps. Given that Margarito was caught cheating in his fight with Mosley, Cotto’s beliefs seem realistic. It is hard to imagine that Margarito would have chosen Mosley as the first opponent to employ this tack after so successfully beating down Cotto. Nevertheless, there was no investigation and no charges were brought against Margarito for the Cotto fight. We just do not know.
It is one thing to speculate, but it is quite another thing to have certainty. What if Margarito’s wraps were done probably in the first fight? Has Cotto prepared a fight plan for that possibility? Or is he betting the farm that Margarito cheated? This seems to be a risky strategy given what he have been able to witness from both these fighters since their first bout.
Margarito understandably lost badly to Mosley. His focus couldn’t have been the best knowing that he had been caught before entering the ring. His subsequent suspension was followed by a so-so comeback performance which may have simply been the result of ring rust. His next fight was with Pacquiao and while predictably he lost to the number one pound for pound fighter, he did show power in the fight visibly hurting Pacquiao. It is a combination of performances that make it very difficult to gauge where Margarito is at right now.
Cotto has not looked particularly spectacular since losing to Margarito. He has won four of five fights, but lost to Pacquaio suffering a beating that looked eerily similar to how he faired against Margarito. His fight with Clottey, who fought on near even terms with Margarito, was a lot tougher than expected. If Cotto was truly a significantly better fighter than Margarito, one would have reasonably expected Cotto to fair better in the two aforementioned fights. The fact that he did not raises a lot of questions.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Margarito’s victory was legitimate. Margarito had no trouble finding Cotto on a regular basis in their first bout and Cotto is not known for having a granite jaw. Unless Margarito is really a feather fisted volume puncher, this fight will likely answer more about who has what left than what happened before. We just have to hope that Cotto is not placing all his eggs in a basket that may or may not be true.
November 14, 2011