THIS fight had a tagline “La Batalla” (The Battle) that ultimately proved apt, although for the first five rounds it resembled more a scintillating procession as Miguel Cotto used speed and precision to dictate. However, Antonio Margarito gradually forced his opponent to fight at a pace he was uncomfortable with, creating his best chance for victory and an enthralling fight into the bargain.
Cotto was the undefeated East Coast draw coming into his prime, having won world titles at two weights. Margarito was the gnarled, perennially underrated former IBF and WBO welter king who had lost to Paul Williams just three fights before. This was thought to be Cotto’s coming-out party in Sin City.
It certainly began in that manner, as the Puerto Rican hero danced and dazzled his way to an early lead but, ominously, the shots he’d used to destroy fighters in two divisions simply bounced off the durable Margarito.