LOS ANGELES-Revenge may not be spoken out loud but inside the hearts of Miguel Cotto and his supporters it’s simmering like a pot of boiling water and its prickly head pops up ever so slightly.
Hundreds appeared to see Puerto Rico’s Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) and his Mexican counterpart Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) appear for the Top Rank press conference at the Wilshire Grand Hotel on Thursday to announce their Dec. 3 rematch at Madison Square Garden. New York awaits with open hostility.
If the crowd’s jeers are any indication of what to expect in New York City, it’s going to be a massive festival of hatred for the Mexican from Tijuana.
“I’m not worried at all,” said Margarito. “I expect most of the fans to be cheering for Cotto. I’ve prepared well and that’s all I’m concerned with.”
Three years ago they fought in Las Vegas and in their first encounter Margarito wore down Cotto with withering pressure until he broke like an old rusty weathervane. It was expected by the Mexican supporters but Puerto Ricans could not understand.
Two years ago when Margarito’s team was caught with illegal hand wraps most of the die hard fans including Cotto himself harked back to the loss to the Mexican. All the pieces in their estimation seemed to point toward some kind of illegality. They still do not listen to reason or the fact that Nevada State Athletic Commission uses different tactics where they give all hand wraps, tape and knuckle pads to the fighter. Trainers or fighters are not allowed to bring in their own stuff.
Puerto Rican fight fans and supporters of Cotto do not believe it.
“Look at this photo,” says Cotto of a blood stained piece of gauze. “Tell me what you think?
Cotto will not condemn Margarito but has his questions.
For Margarito, he also does not want to address the issue.
“This fight is no more important for me other than that I get to fight for the world title,” says Margarito, whose jet black hair is very long and beard almost equal in length. “I’m going to fight the same as before. I’m going to prepare well.”
Bob Arum said that tickets for the Garden are already 65 percent sold.
“There is great enthusiasm in New York for this fight,” said Arum.
That’s for certain.
When Cotto was asked if he would consider fighting middleweight champion Sergio Martinez for big money, the WBA junior middleweight titleholder said, “is there big money to fight Sergio Martinez?”
Brandon Rios attended the press conference with his trainer Robert Garcia who also trains Margarito. During the interviews he was approached by lightweight contender John Molina who asked for Rios to sign a contract to fight him. It didn’t go well. Molina was allegedly escorted out of the press conference room.