Margarito-Cotto In Century City L.A.

BY David A. Avila ON May 20, 2008
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LOS ANGELES-Mexico’s Antonio Margarito and Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto met inside the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City on Tuesday. If you don’t know Los Angeles, it’s a business district constructed 40 years ago that was used as the locale for one of the Planet of the Apes movies.

The motion picture featured the civilized apes versus the Neanderthal-like humans in all out war.

Margarito versus Cotto will be like that: All out war.

Whenever you pit a Mexican world champion against a Puerto Rican world champion you can bet that both countries will be frozen business-wise. Most will be glued to their television sets to see whose fighter beats who?

It’s all about bragging rights.

According to one source, Puerto Rico holds a big edge right now over Mexico something like 38 to 20. That’s not written in granite but it’s probably true. Last March Margarito bit into that lead with a crushing defeat of former IBF titleholder Kermit Cintron of Puerto Rico.

Now it’s Cotto’s turn or is that vice versa?

“These are two guys who have thrilled us over the years with their courage and tenacity,” said Bob Arum, whose Top Rank company promotes both fighters. “Mexico and Puerto Rico is the great, great rivalry in the sport of boxing.”

During the luncheon Top Rank showed a film given as a gift by Mexican television producers a day earlier in Mexico City. The film showed Wilfredo Gomez winning against Carlos Zarate when both were undefeated. And it also showed Gomez again against Mexico’s Salvador Sanchez when he received his first loss against the former featherweight great.

The audience was on edge and clapped when Sanchez was shown. It also admired the fury and power that Gomez displayed at a time when he was considered the best fighter pound for pound at the time.

Currently, Cotto (32-0, 26 KOs) is on the verge of becoming the best fighter pound for pound. Margarito is blocking his way.

Last year, Margarito (36-5, 26 KOs) was supposed to fight Cotto, but boxing fans clamored for him to fight Paul Williams instead because of an alleged beating he sustained during sparring years before. He also did not want to give up the WBO title he held at the time. It cost him at least $1 million to keep his title and then subsequently lose the title to Williams.

Margarito learned his lesson.

The IBF sanctioning organization is said to be ready to strip Margarito of his title if he fights Cotto. But, this time, the Mexican fighter known as the “Tijuana Tornado” learned his lesson and will fight Cotto. Damn the belt.

“I’ve wanted to fight Cotto for a long time,” said Margarito.

Meanwhile, Cotto sits cool as a cucumber knowing that if he beats the strong boy of the welterweight division, the door is open for mega fights.

“Margarito is a tough fighter,” says Cotto. “It should be a great fight.

The fight will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 26. Expect a sell out.

“This is the type of match up that boxing fans love,” said HBO’s Tony Walker. “It has the potential to be one of the best fights they’ll ever see.”


Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank

Boxing chatter:

The next Diego Corrales?

Covina, California’s John Molina (11-0), a sterling prospect, fights Jose Lugo (10-3) in a lightweight match at the Quiet Cannon on Friday May 23. The fight card is promoted by All Star Boxing and begins at 7 p.m.

If you want to see the next generation Diego Corrales, look at Molina who has the height, the speed and the power to generate knockouts quicker than Jack-be-quick.

Molina has one of the best trainers in Ben Lira, an expert who has helped guide a number of world champions such as Terry Norris and Lupe Aquino. It looks like he has another fighter headed in that direction.

During Molina’s last fight, Lira had his fighter concentrating on using the jab and nothing else.

“I know John can hit hard but I want him to face every situation. Because as he faces better competition, I don’t want him wondering what to do,” said Lira. “I want him to be able to get out of trouble with something other than his power. Cause at the top level, he’s going to need that experience.”

Also on the fight card will be Vardan Gasparyan versus Alex Bogarin in a welterweight bout. For tickets and information cal (323) 781-4871.

Pacman tickets available

Manny Pacquiao (46-3-2, 34 KOs) will attempt to capture a fourth world title in a fourth weight division when he meets WBC lightweight titleholder David Diaz (34-1-1, 17 KOs) of Chicago on June 28 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Las Vegas. Tickets are still available (702) 632-7580.

De La Hoya-Mayweather almost done

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said that negotiations between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. are nearly complete for their rematch on Sept. 20. The location of the mega fight is more than likely going to be Las Vegas, but that has not been finalized. “We’re putting together the final touches to make this fight,” said Schaefer. “Both fighters want it.”

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