HBO recap of Cotto vs. Margarito part 1

Sunday, 03 August 2008 03:47

HBO Boxing After Dark Recap Part 1

"The Battle"

July 26, 2008

MGM Grand-Las Vegas, Nevada

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This is part 1 of a 2 part recap of the HBO BAD broadcast from August 2. This part will feature the replay of Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito. Part 2 will feature the live match from the broadcast featuring Joshua Clottey vs. Zab Judah for the IBF Championship at 147 pounds. A Showtime Championship Boxing Recap featuring Dimitri Kirilov vs. Vic Darchinyan for the IBF Junior Bantamweight Championship and a secret that people attending the Beijing Olympics should know about the Cuban baseball team.

WBA Welterweight (147 pounds) 12-Round Championship Match: Miguel Cotto (32-0, 26 KO's, 147 pounds) (c) vs. Antonio Margarito (36-5, 1 NC, 26 KO's, 147 pounds)

Cotto won this title when it was vacant via technical knockout at 3:00 of round 5 over Carlos Quintana on December 2, 2006 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Quintana was unable to answer the bell to start round 6 following a vicious body shot he took to end round 5. The previous champion was Ricky Hatton, who vacated the title to return to 140 pounds. This is Cotto's fifth defense of this title.

The champion is trained by his uncle, Evangelista Cotto, but the two have not been getting along well recently. It has not degenerated to the level of a Mayweather family style falling out, but both sides admit the relationship is now largely just professional. The relationship began to degenerate when Miguel's brother, Jose Cotto, was going for a title and got into an argument with Evangelista on his way back to the corner in the middle of the match. There Jose pushed Evangelista and started yelling at his trainer on the way back to the corner. Evangelista pushed Jose back, forcing Miguel to come out of the crowd and jump on the apron to stop the shoving and convince his brother to listen to Evangelista. The Cotto's claim the entire working relationship in the family is fine and the media has blown things out of proportion. Miguel's perfect record and consistent improvement seem to indicate that everything is fine.

Cotto's last match was a technical knockout at 3:00 of round 5 over Alfonso Gomez on April 12, 2008 at Boardwalk Hall. The referee was grossly negligent in not stopping this match early, as was Gomez' corner while the champion put a potentially life altering beating on Gomez. Cotto seemed to show mercy on Gomez in the waning rounds and slow down his offense in the vain hope that someone would allow him to stop hitting Gomez, before he literally killed the California resident. However, it was finally the doctor who had to end the disturbing beating Gomez was taking, after round 5. Gomez has not boxed competitively, since his loss to Cotto. That makes Gomez, the fourth of Cotto's last 9 opponents to not have an official boxing match after facing Cotto. Cotto does not just beat people he beats them up so badly that it ends their careers.

Cotto is The Ring magazine's number 1 contender at 147 pounds to their vacant championship in the weight class. He is also The Ring's number 6 ranked boxer in the world, pound-for-pound.

Margarito had the deal in place to face Miguel Cotto last year. However, Margarito wanted to keep his title. Therefore, he had to take a mandatory title defense against Paul Williams. Williams is a massive 147-pound boxer. A match up nightmare, Williams is a southpaw, that stands at least 6' 2" and has a wingspan that is wider then the 6' 6" heavyweight title holder Dr. Wladimir Klitschko. Margarito landed the harder punches, but Williams threw nearly 700 more punches over the 12 rounds to take the unanimous decision.

The challenger's last match was a knockout at 1:57 of round 6 over Kermit Cintron on the same card that featured Cotto vs. Gomez. It was a left hand to the lower ribs of Cintron that gave Margarito the knockout victory. Margarito won the IBF championship at 147 pounds in that match, but decided to vacate his title this time to face Cotto. A full recap of that card featuring the Gomez-Cotto and Margarito-Cintron matches can be found here: Margarito is The Ring's number 4 contender at 147 pounds. At 27-years-old, Cotto is 3 years younger then the 30-year-old Margarito. Margarito has the height advantage standing 5' 11" tall, while Cotto stands 5' 8" tall. Both boxers have a 23.5" arm length. Neither boxers' unofficial weight approaching match time is available. However, Margarito will probably be the larger boxer in the ring. Both boxers will employ the orthodox stance, even though Cotto is a natural southpaw. Cotto is the 2-to-1 betting favorite.

The unified rules of boxing are in effect for this match. All of the judges keeping official score of this match from ringside are from Nevada. The referee is Kenny Bayless. Since this is a replay, HBO will be displaying the official judges' scores after every round. Great round 1 with Cotto landing lots of punches going backwards. Cotto was landing the left jab and left hook seemingly at will in round 1. However, Margarito seemed to be landing the harder punches, when he was able to get Cotto to stop moving against the ropes. All of the judges score round 1 for Cotto, 10-9. The pro-Cotto crowd is making lots of noise in the early part of the match. Round 2 is even better then round 1. Towards the end of the round, Cotto is beginning to bleed from his nose. Cotto probably got the better of the round showing amazing hand speed and great movement. However, Margarito is continuing to walk Cotto down and landing body shots, which are unlikely to win rounds, but will eventually get to the native of Caguas, Puerto Rico. All of the judges score round 2 for Margarito based on aggression, 10-9. With 43 seconds to go a right hook to the groin has Cotto hurt. It was Margarito's second severe low blow that had Cotto hurt this round after the Tijuana, Mexico resident had been cautioned several times. This time Margarito receives a stern warning, and Cotto is given a few seconds to recover. The next time Margarito hits Cotto in the junk, it will probably result in a point deduction. Round 3 is the same as the other 2, Cotto is more effective and out-lands Margarito. However, Margarito is continuing to walk Cotto down. All of the judges score round 3 for Cotto, 10-9, and have him ahead in the match after 3 rounds, 29-28.

Round 4 is contested at a much slower pace then the previous 3 and Cotto's boxing takes it on 2 of the judges' scorecards, 10-9. The third judge gives the round to Margarito based on aggression, 10-9. Cotto has landed some big power punches on Margarito early in this match, and the challenger is not even reacting to them. A cut appears to have opened up above Cotto's left eye following round 4. It may have opened up before the end of round 3. However, it has not been bleeding or effected his vision, yet. Cotto's speed and movement wins round 5 on all of the judges' scorecards, 10-9. Margarito is continuing to pressure Cotto, though, and force the champion to work at an exhausting pace. Margarito throws substantially more punches then Cotto in round 6. However, almost all of the clean punches landed in round 6 were landed by Cotto. Margarito's volume punching wins the round on 2 of the judges' scorecards, 10-9. The other gives the round to Cotto based on his clean effective punching, 10-9. After 6 rounds, all of the judges have Cotto ahead by the same score, 58-56.

A left hook has Cotto badly hurt and holding on to recover with 1:48 to go in round 7. The champion is now exhaling blood from his nose and mouth with every breath. He is in bad shape. Cotto came back to land some big punches at the end of the round, but they had no effect on Margarito. Most Cotto opponents would have been knocked out by the punches Margarito has already taken to seemingly no effect. All of the judges score round 7 for Margarito, 10-9. This match is approaching the level of Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez III. The crowd that was so pro-Cotto at the start of the match is now chanting "Mexico" in support of Margarito. Round 8 is more of a boxing match. However, only one of the judges score round 8 for Cotto, 10-9. The other 2 judges score round 8 for Margarito, 10-9. In this match, Cotto has landed more punches and the harder punches. The difference appears in momentum appears to be Margarito's granite chin and constant pressure. Round 9 is very close. Cotto again landed more of the clean effective punches and Margarito was the aggressor. At this point Cotto's body language looks bad and like he wants this match to be over desperately. Cotto appears to be in survival mode attempting to ride out the Margarito onslaught for the final few rounds. All of the official judges score round 9 for Margarito, 10-9. After 9 rounds, the judges have Margarito winning the match via split decision, 86-85, 85-86, 86-85.

Cotto was winning round 10 big, until Margarito had Cotto hurt with a flurry of punches that landed with less then 10 seconds to go in the round. That will make the round very hard to score. All of the judges go with Margarito's momentum, and give the challenge the round, 10-9. The fact Cotto's face is a mess and his facial expressions are bad at this point are probably hurting him with the judges. Pinned up against the ropes Cotto takes a knee to avoid taking more punches with 1:41 to go in round 10. That is reminiscent of what Zab Judah did in round 9 of his match against Cotto on June 9, 2007. Margarito clearly hit Cotto when he was down. However, that will not be a deciding factor in this match. A bloody Cotto successfully answers the referee's 8-count to continue with 1:30 to go in the round. At this point blood is streaming from the cut above Cotto's left eye and his left eye appears to be nearly swollen shut. Either from the cut or the blood or a combination of the 2, there is no chance Cotto can see out of his left eye. With 1:04 to go in the round, Margarito has Cotto backing up into a corner and the champion, again takes a knee. Cotto's corner has seen enough. They are throwing in the towel, before the referee can finish administering his count. The official outcome from the legendary Michael Buffer is that: at 2:05 of round 11 the winner by technical knockout and new WBA Welterweight Champion of the World, "The Tijuana Tornado" Antonio Margarito. The win moves Margarito to 37-5 with 27 of those wins coming by way of knockout and 1 no contest.

The final punchstat numbers have Margarito landing 267 of the 987 total punches he threw, for a 27% total connect percentage. Margarito landed 237 of the 647 power punches he threw, for a 37% power connect percentage. That means Margarito only landed 30 of the 340 jabs he threw, for a pathetic 9% jab connect percentage. Cotto landed 280 of the 655 total punches he threw, for a sterling 43% total connect percentage. The former champion landed 179 of the 395 power punches he threw, for a great 45% power connect percentage. He landed 101 of the 260 jabs he threw, for an excellent 39% jab connect percentage. All of these numbers suggest that Margarito should have been the one who ran out of gas and was knocked out late, not the other way around.

Margarito gave a live interview during the HBO BAD event and said he would like to face Oscar De La Hoya next. The new champion says there is no chance Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will come out of retirement to face him. When asked who he would like to face at 147 pounds, Margarito insisted he is focused on De La Hoya right now.

Margarito was great in this match. Following the victory, The Ring made him the number 1 contender to their still vacant title at 147 pounds, and he replaced Cotto in their rankings as the number 6 ranked boxer in the world, pound-for-pound. However, there is very little chance he is going to face De La Hoya next. De La Hoya wants to go out on top against a tough opponent who can draw money. Margarito is not a proven draw. Cotto is a proven draw. Therefore, even though he beat Cotto and should usurp Cotto as the logical challenger to De La Hoya it is not going to happen. Whatever reverse psychology Margarito is attempting to use to lure Mayweather out of retirement will be unlikely to work in the near future, either. Again, Mayweather will want big money matches should he return. Until Margarito headlines a string of successful events with one sided victories over top boxers at 147 pounds, Mayweather will have no interest in facing him. There was talk of an immediate rematch with Cotto. However, Bob Arum who promotes both boxers believes it will be a bigger event if both boxers have at least one match in the interim. Arum promoted the immediate rematch between Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor and has learned from it. That was an immediate rematch of a great match that ended in a knockout, and was a failure on PPV because the PPV buying audience did not feel there was a chance for a different outcome. The lure of a great match is not enough to sell PPV's. Arum feels by giving Cotto one or 2 matches to rebuild with highlight reel knockouts the rematch will do bigger business. That makes the likely next opponent for Margarito a chance to avenge his loss to Williams. Williams holds a belt at 147 pounds, and with the loss unavenged Williams has a claim to being the true champion at 147 pounds. A win there would make Margarito the unquestioned champion among the active boxers at 147 pounds. Therefore, drawing even more interest in a potential rematch with Cotto down the line.

Cotto looked as good as a boxer can look in defeat. The Ring dropped him to being the number 3 contender at 147 pounds and Cotto is now the number 10 ranked boxer in the world, pound-for-pound. Paul Williams is somehow The Ring's number 2 contender at 147, but not among the top 10 pound-for-pound. (Of course, Bernard Hopkins is still ranked number 4 on their pound-for-pound list.) This loss cost Cotto a guaranteed $25 million payday to be De La Hoya's final opponent. Cotto will take a few rebuilding matches. The first will likely be against a boxer in the top 20. The second will be against a boxer in the top 10, possibly for a belt before getting a second shot at Margarito. Cotto should deliver highlight reel knockouts against both opponents and depending upon the opponent the second could main event a solid PPV. A rematch with Shane Mosley would be great for Cotto's second rebuilding match. It would do great on PPV and re-establish him as the top man opposition to Margarito in the division. However, Cotto will not get a highlight reel knockout out of a match with Mosley.

This was a great match. Using the Vazquez-Marquez scale of greatness, this was better then I, but not quite as good as III. This is a must watch replay. There has not been a better match on HBO this year. The last HBO match this good was Pavlik-Taylor I. Early returns show the event will be a success with the final PPV buys for the event projected to come in between 425,000 and 475,000. That would make it the number 2 boxing PPV of the year, only behind Roy Jones, Jr. vs. Felix Trinidad. The official attendance for the event was 10,477.

News and Notes: The match between Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones, Jr. set to take place on September 20 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York has been postponed. It was to be the second of 2 consecutive weekends of HBO PPV boxing. However, Calzaghe has suffered a wrist injury forcing the delay. HBO was preparing to do a 24/7 series to build up the PPV and is secretly happy about the delay. The match is now tentatively scheduled for November 8 still from Madison Square Garden. However, that would end any chance of a 24/7 series to build up the event. With the guarantee of a 24/7 series to build up De La Hoya's final match on December 6, HBO is not going to run another 24/7 series that close together.

De La Hoya's people had been in talks for De La Hoya's final match to be a chance to avenge his 1999 loss to Felix Trinidad at the same time they were talking to Cotto. However, Trinidad says he cannot get below 170 or 175 pounds even for a rematch with De La Hoya, whose match in May was at 150 pounds. Therefore, De La Hoya's new likely final opponent is Manny Pacquiao. That match would take place at 147 pounds. Pacquiao is a far more proven PPV draw then Mayweather was entering his record setting match with De La Hoya. The all action style of Pacquiao would nearly guarantee a great match. Pacquiao's charisma should also make for a great 24/7 series. If they met it would probably set a PPV and live gate record that would not be approached for at least another decade. There will be more on this potential match in the news and notes section of the next few recaps.

De La Hoya's last opponent, Steve Forbes, who lost all 12-rounds on many scorecards is being given a title shot on October 4. Forbes will move down 3 pounds and challenge Andre Berto for a belt at 147 pounds on that night's HBO event.

Hatton vs. Paulie Malignaggi is now official for November 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on HBO.

Hatton will not have his longtime trainer, Billy Graham, going into his match with Malignaggi. Graham retired a few days ago. The wear and tear from years of working as a boxing trainer have left his hands mangled and he needed to take injections to hold the pads for Hatton. It was time for Graham to leave, so he can still live the rest of his life somewhat pain free. His years of dedication to the business and the success he has seen with Hatton may see his career as a trainer have one more stop, the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Pavlik has signed to face Hopkins in a non-title catch-weight match at 170 pounds on HBO PPV on October 18 at Boardwalk Hall.

The match between Chad Dawson and Antonio Tarver is now official for October 11 on Showtime. The show will also feature a taped delayed replay of Dr. Vitali Klitschko vs. Samuel Peter for a heavyweight title. The October 18 HBO PPV date for Pavlik-Hopkins, and the Showtime supercard on October 11 is causing the Shane Mosley-Ricardo Mayorga match being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions set for October 11 on HBO PPV to move. It will now be on September 27 on HBO, not HBO PPV. This should help out the buy rate for the Hopkins match which is also being promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and ensure a strong viewership for what was a borderline PPV card that would have been badly hurt running opposite a strong free show. Also, the venue of the match is changing. It was set for Golden Boy Promotions partner AEG's Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. It is moving a few miles away to the AEG run Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

The WBC has decided they should approach championships the way Vickie Guerrero does. In a June 28 match to determine an interim title holder at 130 pounds, Francisco Lorenzo defeated Humberto Soto via disqualification in round 4. The referee Joe Cortez' decision to disqualify Soto has been universally criticized as bad. However, the official record books show the victory and there is no appeal that will change that. However, the WBC is not accepting that decision. They are saying the match was not a disqualification, but because of incompetent refereeing the match should be considered a no contest. Therefore, they are putting in their official record books that the match was a no contest. The WBC is refusing to award Lorenzo the title and it is to remain held up, because a boxer cannot win a title on a no contest. Lorenzo has also been fined $2,000 "for his unsportsmanlike actions in the ring, which were successful in influencing the referee's decision." A rematch has been ordered between Lorenzo and Soto to take place after Lorenzo comes off medical suspension. Nevada has placed Lorenzo on the shelf until December 26 following the 2 knockdowns and numerous cuts he had suffered prior to the spurious disqualification. It is unclear at what point the WBC will be sending Great Khali after Cortez.

Nikolai Valuev and John Ruiz will face each other in Berlin for the somewhat vacant WBA Heavyweight Championship. The match will not be televised in the United States. The winner will be obligated to face Ruslan Chagaev, the WBA heavyweight "champion in recess" by June 26, 2009. Chagaev was scheduled to face Valuev on July 5, but had to pull out with a torn Achilles tendon.

David Haye was expected to make his heavyweight debut on October 18 at London, England's O2 Arena, which is also owned by AEG. However, the Golden Boy Promotions boxer has had to pull out of the match with a minor arm injury. He is expected to finally make his heavyweight debut at that same arena on HBO in November or December.

The California State Athletic Commission has changed the result of the James Toney vs. Hasim Rahman match from July 16. The match was originally ruled a technical knockout victory for Toney in round 3, when the blood from a cut was impairing Rahman's vision to the point he could not continue. However, replays showed that the cut was caused by an accidental clash of heads. Under the rules in California, a cut caused by an accidental clash of heads that results in a premature stoppage sends the match to the scorecards after 4 rounds. If the match has to be stopped before the end of round 4, the match will be ruled a no contest. Rahman appealed the outcome, and the CSAC changed the result to a no-decision. That was Toney-Rahman II. Toney-Rahman I ended in a controversial draw. Their promoters do not appear eager to make Toney-Rahman III.

Contrary to the statements by Bryan to Granny on Thursday's B & V show, Oscar Diaz, the boxer who was collapsed on the July 16 edition of ESPN Wednesday Night Fights has not died. He is still in critical condition in a coma. However, his doctors expect him to survive.

The recap of the live match from this HBO BAD event will come out tomorrow. People can check out a ton of E3 and video game coverage that did not make the website on my new website, Also, look for an upcoming big video game announcement regarding's Corresponding Editor, Derek Burgan, about next weekend.


Jereme Warneck

Boxing and Video Game Correspondent for

Hidden Valley Lake, CA

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