LIKE a dam with three years of revenge building up behind him, a cool and calculated Miguel Cotto exacted painful retribution on Antonio Margarito before over 21,000 fans inside the cauldron of Madison Square Garden on a cold New York City night on December 3, 2011.
‘The Tijuana Tornado’ had scored a highly controversial win over the Puerto Rican idol in Las Vegas in July 2008. The irresistible Margarito astonishingly battered Cotto to a pulp inside 11 rounds. In his very next fight, however, his doctored handwraps were exposed by Shane Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson, before the bout. The suspicious pads were removed, his hands re-wrapped legally and he was duly smashed up by Mosley in nine rounds.
Margarito and his trainer, Javier Capetillo, had their licenses temporarily suspended by the California State Athletic Commission leading many to suspect this wasn’t the first time Margarito’s team had tried this.
It is one of the worst crimes imaginable for a boxer considering the damage one’s fists can cause.
All this proved ample motivation for Cotto, who fought arguably one of the finest fights of his glittering career, as Margarito, with his right eye swollen shut, was hauled in the 10th round.
The damage required 12 stitches and the tainted Margarito never fought again.
After the fight ended, Cotto stopped and glared at the Mexican, drinking in his sweet victory. “I wanted to taste my victory,” said Cotto, “He means nothing to me, I’m here with all my people, and he means nothing to me.”
The villainous Margarito was defiant to the core: “I keep saying it: He hits like a girl. I never felt the punches. I never pulled back. He was the one pulling back.”
But it was Cotto who had the last word.
Video: HBO Boxing