Too Much Intensity Between Cotto, Margarito For A Faceoff…WOODS

Cotto Margarito final PC 111130 001a(1)There was no customary faceoff for the photographers where the combatants could stare into each others’ eyes and souls and take a measure of the man who will be trying to separate them from their sense shortly.

No, promoter Bob Arum wouldn’t risk Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto getting into a real-deal scuffle, not one of those push me-pull you things to get onto SportsCenter. He told TSS after that the bad blood between these two cats is off the Hagler-Hearns variety, and that there was “no need” for a faceoff.  Of course, the cynic in me wonders if we’d have seen the faceoff if the Garden wasn’t on the cusp of a sellout, 300 seats away, late Wednesday morning. My guess is yes..because Arum is an ace promoter, and just in case there were a couple fight fans or casual boxing fans who didn’t know that Saturday’s clash is as personal as it gets, he’d be inclined to remind them, and give them a taste of the intensity the Garden crowd will see on fight night.

Margarito played his villain role to the hilt, simultaneously exulting in it and professing dismay and surprise that Cotto has labeled him a criminal. That will happen when you’re busted with plaster-cast hand wraps before a high profile bout, as Margarito was before he met Shane Mosley in January 2009.

“Here comes the criminal!” he said in Spanish when he got his turn at the noon press conference in the MSG Theatre. “Open the doors to the criminal!  I’ve been called a criminal by the man next to me [Cotto].  I don’t know why?  I don’t beat up my family.  He can hit my eye as much as he wants.  He hits like a little girl.  Super flyweights hit harder.  He will never beat me.”

Many watchers were a bit disgusted Margarito took that personal slap at Cotto, who got in an ugly public dustup with his Uncle Evangelista two years ago.

Many were also surprised that Cotto, who is 99% of the time even tempered before, during and after bouts, got heated when he responded.

“If you don’t know what a criminal means, you can look it up in the dictionary. It’s someone who uses a weapon. You [Margarito] are like a child.  You are an embarrassment to boxing. I am going to slap you like a little girl.”

Now, I must interject that the slapping of little girls by anyone is against my personal moral code…but I think this word choice illustrates how much Margarito has gotten under Cotto’s skin. We won’t know until Saturday if that is a good or bad thing. A truly PO’d Cotto, out for blood, dialed in and hooking with mad ferocity, could spell bad news for the Mexican.

SPEEDBAG The Garden will host Marvis Frazier, to talk about dad Joe, and Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, Gerry Cooney, Vito Antuofermo, and Carlos Ortiz to talk about fighting in MSG at 6:30 PM Saturday, in the Theatre.

—Arum received a Knicks jersey from MSG’s VP Joel Fischer with the number 80 on the back. He turns 80 on Dec. 8.

—The Garden will hold 17,945 come fight night. The gate will be over $3 million.

—I am curious to see what the Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz brings to the table for Cotto. Is the Puerto Rican open to learning new tricks at this late stage, at age 31, or is he what he is? I wanted to chat with him but he left before I could.

—I shot of Delvin Rodriguez Sr and Delvin Jr., age 9. I asked the son what it’s like watching dad fight, and his answer is powerful. This video will make you understand or remind you that families are impacted when their loved ones fight, and that the fighters are often doing it for the offspring.

—I chatted with HBO’s amiable and loquacious judge Harold Lederman. A lot of us are rooting for Harold in his battle against prostate cancer. He was kind enough to give me an update on his condition. He is in the third week of a nine week run of radiation treatments. The treatments run Monday-Friday. After the run, he will be tested to see if cancer cells remain. Harold will receive the word sometime in January. My rooting interest in Harold got that much more keen when I asked him how he felt mentally during this rough time. “I have cancer, I’m scared,” he admitted. I appreciate Harold being honest about that, and will keep my fingers crossed that January brings good news to him and his family.

Comment on this article


-brownsugar :

I argued with some members of the TSS that Cotto didn't need Stewart,... but this is where Stewart shines,.. preparing his fighter mentally for the prefight jousting. An amatuer coach has no idea,..Stewart carries a weighty presence at the weigh-ins just by din of his collossal experience... doesn't have to say a word.... Hope Lederman can pull thru,.. love hearing his squeaky voice chiming in from the sidelines whether he's right or wrong,.. just adds to the overall enthusiasm of the Event.

-Radam G :

Cuban trainer Dr. Pedro Diaz is the latest boksing con man to land a top-tier gun. I doubt that he brings anything to the table for Cotto. Cuban amateur boxing tricks offers nothing to a professional. Cotto's head is not on right. Maybe the only thing that the Cuban Sports doctor can offer to Cotto is the Carribean Spanish dialect closeness of Puerta Rica and Cuba. Cotto is extremely use to being told what to do in his dialect. He just couldn't click to GBG Manny S's sound. And don't try to feed me any other jive. Holla!

-Alex C :

Mr. Woods, I think there's an error in the article. I've just watched the presser and Cotto never says that he's going to slap Margarito like a little girl. The translation would be something like: "this little girl is going to give you a lesson". I'm sure it was the interpreter, though. Many times I've noticed that between what he translates and what has actually been said there's enough distance to make me wonder how on earth he's managed to keep his job so long.

-Radam G :

@Alex C, you can always expect terrible translations coming from anything that involves HBO. The [H]umbuggery
ullsh*t [O]peration -- HBO -- plays the monolingual fans, fanfaronades and nuthuggers for dummies, because, well, many of them are. Trust me! I've been complaining for ages. But it is all about the melodrama pitch jive and making that moola. And, of course, getting butts in those seats and eyeballs behind those PPV screens and tubes. Holla!

-brownsugar :

Sadly I won't be able to catch it live.. due to some "stuff" I'm doing, (I'll be looking forward to reading the post fight comments on TSS) I feel that Cotto is by far the most talented boxer, and has the potential to make it a onesided fight.. But after the first fight Cotto, even when he heard about Margarito attempting to use bricks in his gloves against Mosely, Cotto Still never expressed any desire for a rematch. Arum in his infinite generosity always said he would repay Cotto for the sacrifice he made to make the Pac fight happen,.. and this is the fight the BobFather has blessed him with. Mentally it's too hard for me to predict whats going on with Cotto from a distance,.. and thru random press releases,.. but I know this... it's easier to maintain what you have,... than regain what you lost. Sure,.. Cotto was beaten up twice maybe thrice... but he's pretty much retained his boxing skill and looked great in his last 2 outings, Margarito on the other hand barely resembled his old self in his last few outings. Maybe Margarito is a little like Jason Vorhees,.. he just keeps coming and coming,.. But I'm looking for Cotto to outrun him this time and toss him back to the bottom of Crystal Lake.

-FighterforJC :

So is Cotto there to actually avenge the pounding he took from Marg, or is he there to secure a win? Marg is damaged goods and might not be able to keep up with a running Cotto, but will Cotto be really satisfied with just walking away with the "W" without proving himself a real man against the guy he's showed so much animosity towards? How about Cotto getting inside and punishing Marg with body shots? Supposedly it was the handwraps that gave Marg the critical edge. Shouldn't that give Cotto the confidence he needs to stand in front of Margarito since Marg won't be having the same "advantage" this time out?

-mortcola :

F4JC says world champion Miguel Cotto isn't a real man.