Live Saturday night from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Showtime brings us a championship welterweight doubleheader featuring undefeated Puerto Rican sensation Miguel Cotto going up against his fellow undefeated homie Carlos Quintana for the WBA welterweight title vacated by Ricky Hatton. Quintana’s got the confidence, size, reach, thirst, and southpaw stance, but Cotto’s got the pedigree. It could be anyone’s fight. On the co-main we’ve got Antonio Margarito, the man no one wants to fight, getting it on and getting down and dirty with the hungry Ghanaian slugger Joshua Clottey. There’s a lot on the line for all four fighters in both bouts and there’ll be a lot of punches thrown and lot of punches eaten. Expect the unexpected Saturday night. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Cotto/Quintana and Margarito/Clottey.
Never been a big fan of Miguel Cotto. He stands in front of you and seems so easy to hit. Over time, though, he's earned my respect for his sheer toughness and ability to break an opponent down. The way he methodically beat up Paulie Malignaggi was almost disturbing to watch. That being said, and having seen Quintana only once, I like Quintana to upset Cotto. I think he possesses the toughness and boxing skills to frustrate Cotto, and I see him winning a very close decision. I think Margarito may have too much firepower for Clottey in a fun-to-watch fight that will end in the ninth round with Margarito winning by TKO.
Cotto has been flirting with disaster for a couple years now, and that may or may not be because he has been struggling to make 140 pounds. But, in Quintana, he's fighting a full-fledged welterweight with above-average boxing skills and a sturdy chin. Cotto has had his fair share of troubles with boxers (DeMarcus Corley, Paul Malignaggi), and Quintana is bigger and better than both. Cotto's punch won't bail him out this time. Upset! Quintana by split decision.
The House of Gatti is a fitting venue for this Saturday’s slugfests. In the opener, my heart will be with fellow Bronxite Joshua Clottey, but my money is on Antonio Margarito. Margarito has not lost at welterweight in more than a decade, and has never been stopped. Both champion and challenger share the aggressive style and toughness to make their match a thriller, but Margarito’s experience at the championship level will spell the difference. Margarito retains his WBO title with a hard-fought decision. The all-Puerto Rican battle for the vacant WBA welterweight title should be equally exciting. Miguel Cotto will carry his power with him as he moves up to welterweight, but he will also bring his suspect chin. Cotto was down and almost out against Ricardo Torres last time he fought at Boardwalk Hall, and was badly hurt by DeMarcus Corley, who is not known for his punching power. Cotto showed tremendous heart in coming back each time to knock out his opponent, but against a 147-pounder, his big heart may not be enough to compensate for his susceptible chin. Undefeated southpaw Carlos Quintana, though relatively unknown, has faced credible opposition, and significantly, has made his career at 147 pounds. Look for Quintana, 23-0 with 18 knockouts, to test Cotto’s chin and then finish the job. Quintana beats Cotto by knockout.
Cotto appears to have the better form, having mixed it a better class of fighters but is moving up a weight. Quintana's record, in contrast, doesn't have the same ripeness of competition. Cotto by decision or late stoppage.
Peter M. Carvill
I'm taking Margarito to win this fight by late TKO. Clottey is extremely tough but takes a lot of shots. Margarito will be too strong for Clottey … Cotto vs. Quintana is a tough fight to pick. I want to immediately pick Cotto but Quintana's win over Joel Julio was such a masterpiece that I wouldn't be surprised if he spoiled the evening for Cotto fans. My official pick is Cotto by a close decision. The only sure bet is that Saturday will be a pretty good night of boxing.
How about a parlay of the underdogs? If the fight were at 140 we'd like Cotto, but it's not. In viewing the two of them side by side earlier this week it was apparent that Quintana is the larger of the two unbeaten fighters, and hence more likely to be comfortable at the weight. In a big fight you usually want your guy to use his head, but in Clottey's case that would be a mistake. The only two blemishes on the Ghanaian's record -- a DQ loss and a technical draw -- were the result of head-butts, initiated by him. If he can keep the referee off his back he has a chance against Margarito, who still seems to be thinking more about Mayweather and De La Hoya and even Cotto than about Clottey, a dangerous sign.
Cotto has shown himself to be vulnerable at the lighter weight, so he is taking a big chance against Quintana who is a natural welterweight. But I believe the extra weight will make Cotto stronger and he should win a close, hard-fought decision against the always dangerous Quintana … Because of all the hoopla regarding his failed attempts to get Floyd Mayweather in the ring with him, Margarito wants to prove to the world that he would be a formidable foe for the reluctant warrior (Mayweather). Although Clottey is a rough customer, Margarito will be on a mission and will stop him around the eighth round.
Miguel Cotto needs to win big and set in motion the dynamics of a career that has the look of something interesting in the short term future and to do that he needs Saturday night to be one of those big nights when he makes a statement. How about a left hook all the way from Caguas, Puerto Rico, airmail, special delivery? I am picking Cotto to beat Quintana, but can he grab our attention again? Margarito will do what Margarito does, ply his trade and punish. He's looking more and more like the Mike McCallum of his generation. Right now he's got Clottey to dismantle with his signature stylings and I expect him to stay focused and do it. What we all want from Margarito is a post-fight short list of who he feels is AWOH – Absent With Out Honor – in the championship ranks.
Joshua Clottey’s flashy -- every eye’s on him in the gym. Can’t-miss written all over him: blazing hand speed, power from both sides, an arsenal deeper than Santa’s toy bag, and reflexes so quick he slips punches for sport. So far he’s made foils of every opponent. I expect the same against Antonio Margarito for four or five rounds, but Antonio’s intensity will reveal the chink in Clottey’s armor: the intangible, who wants it more. I expect Margarito to grind Clottey down, win a unanimous decision and prove all that glitters is not gold … Carlos Quintana, expected to be road kill for Colombian enfant terrible, Joel Julia, schooled the youngster with ease, sending him back to the minors for seasoning. Quintana never choked under the microscope – seized the opportunity. He’s no patsy; he’s a confident, undefeated slickster with cojones, and a stiff enough straight left to keep Cotto honest, but it won’t be enough. Cotto’s too sound. Even stung, he doesn’t un-glue -- uses his legs till he fires back to the head and body with the grouping of a marksman. He should do that with enough brio and precision to get a unanimous decision.
This may possibly be the toughest fight of Miguel Cotto’s career, but in the end, he will add a welterweight title to his list of achievements. Cotto by TKO … Joshua Clottey has been impressive in his last several bouts, but he will face his toughest competition yet in Antonio Margarito. Clottey will be Margarito’s seventh successful title defense. Margarito by TKO.
Both headliners in Atlantic City have shown vulnerability, so fans could be in for some surprises. Besides looking very good against Joel Julio I don't know enough about Quintana to merit comment on anything besides Cotto's obvious current edge in star power. Top Rank's matchmaking is usually as solid as it gets, so unless there's a miscue it doesn't seem likely they'd risk tripping up a potential cash cow. Margarito may be avoided by top fighters, but to me that still looks more financially based (the name of the real game) than from fear. Projecting with no first hand injury information, Margarito seems like a lock (see previous matchmaking factor). Margarito may fall to injury, but it doesn’t seem likely Clottey is the opponent to cause it. There’s no classic marquee match-up here on paper but this looks like a great weekend of boxing shows. Let’s always hope for the best, and thanks again to everyone who adds their own observations.