Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Antonio Margarito is eager to secure a third go at Miguel Cotto as, with the two bouts finely balanced at one apiece and, considering the manner in which the rematch ended earlier this month, the Mexican believes a trilogy is required; something he wants to discuss further with Top Rank Boxing founder Bob Arum, who also promotes Cotto. Should there be a lack of big fights available to Margarito, then he would consider hanging up his gloves…
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Does Margarito need Cotto to remain relevant at elite-level? Credit: Stacey Verbeek - Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
“I don’t feel that Cotto beat me,” said Margarito (38-8-0, 27ko) to Fight News recently, continuing his vehement opposition to the referee’s intervention on December 3 at Madison Square Garden.
Experienced officiator Steve Smoger retired Margarito before a punch was thrown in the tenth round’s genesis, deeming the swelling under Antonio’s problematic right eye too severe for him to continue, however, Smoger later mused in his post-match reflections that, despite Cotto’s near shut-out dominance to that point, it was Margarito who was perhaps showing the greater conditioning and was arguably coming into the fight during the championship rounds.
Indeed, such a stance is backed by Margarito, who stated: “It was a copy of the first fight. I knew that I was losing the fight but my conditioning was great and I felt that I hurt him in that round [nine] more than any other [and] I was throwing punches well. I said that if they gave me one more round, I was going to go for the knock out. It was the [ringside] doctor that beat me. The doctor was from New York, they knew, they knew…”
Margarito’s eye had been a subject of fierce debate. His right eye had taken a pulverisation when the fast fists of Manny Pacquiao systematically targeted it and caused a fracture of the orbital bone and a detached retina. The 33-year-old did not re-enter the ring for 13 months as a result of injuries sustained during that fight and was only given the all-clear to box by the New York State Athletic Commission just days prior to the Cotto (37-2-0, 30ko) rematch.
“My doctor checked me in the dressing room; he said my eye was fine. Cotto didn’t really hit me with a solid punch for my eye to swell up that way. It was more from grazes. The one that really hit me and made it swell up from a single punch was Manny Pacquiao. I do think its sensitive from the operations but I think that I am okay.”
Margarito’s dissatisfaction with the result of the rematch has sparked a desire inside him to pursue a second rematch, something Team Cotto are reportedly willing to consider as they too would like a more conclusive finish: “I was told that they would like to do a third fight because I think that not even they were happy with the ending. They are seeing if there is a possibility to do a return match in May or June.”
Should Cotto instead be matched with middleweight supremo Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, like promoter Arum has publicly iterated, then Margarito’s options become limited: “If its not with Cotto, I am not going to say I would retire, I have to sit down with Top Rank and see what they have planned. If its something good, then I would consider it bit if its not, then I would have to say good bye to boxing.
“Retirement has passed through my mind because of the issues with my eye and if I am giving my opponent an advantage but we are going to talk to my promoter and see if he has something good for me.”
Margarito, though, has not secured a win over a name opponent since his 2008 teekayo of Cotto; their first duel. Since then, he has gone 1-3-0, 0ko due to a loss to Shane Mosley, a decision win over Mexican journeyman Roberto Garcia and straight losses to Pacquiao and Cotto. With his poor recent run, there are few opponents who would provide Margarito with the purses he has been accustomed to receiving, although one name does stand out – that of lineal middleweight champ Sergio Martinez.
With Martinez’s own chase of bigger fights with pound-for-pound prizefighters like Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr or a shot at current WBC honcho Chavez Jr, a chance to avenge his first defeat to Margarito may not be high on the agenda…
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Related article: Cotto avenges his first loss by teekayoing teak tough Margarito
Related article: Referee Smoger praises Margarito and Cotto’s warrior instinct, stoppage was due to doctors orders
Related article: Fight Photos: Cotto v Margarito II – the shots, the victory, the emotionless celebration
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