That man does not look like he holds the weight of the world on his shoulders, does he? If guilt has a hold on Antonio Margarito, if the Mexican-born hitter lays his head down on pillow and at night mulls his rulebreaking ways, then he is miscast as a boxer, and should be in Hollywood.
Did Margarito intend to use loaded gloves against Shane Mosley in 2009? Did he use plaster pads in other fights, maybe against Miguel Cotto in 2008? We will likely never know. This is boxing's JFK assassination. But we may get more evidence into the case come Saturday night. If Cotto handles Margarito, if the Puerto Rican handles the launches of Margarito better than he did in the 2008 loss, then many will opine that Margarito was Margacheato on that occasion. Is that fair? Maybe not, as much time has passed since then, and there have been other developments since. Like Margarito's eye. He had surgery on it in November 2010, then again in January 2011, then again in May 2011. Busted orbital bone, detached retina, cataract. This would dissuade most of us from tempting fate, and stepping in a ring, where the eye could be irreparably damaged. But prizefighters of his like are not "most of us." They are made of different material. Bodies harder, reservoirs of will deeper. Ability to compartmentalize and neutralize self doubt much greater. at Madison Square Garden.
At an open workout at the Kingsway Gym in midtown today, Margarito spoke of being confident ahead of his Saturday rematch with Cotto. He said he wasn't thrown off by the licensing flap which has dominated the fightgame media the last few weeks, though he did have to reset 12 rounds of sparring because he had to fly to NYC last week to be examined by a NYSAC-chosen physician last Monday.
The boxer said if the KO comes, it comes. He said he isn't concerned that the building will likely be pro Cotto, and is aware that the judges might not shower him with love if it goes to a decision. "In the ring, it is only him and I and no one else," he said.
Margarito said he's jazzed to be fighting in the ring where the best and the brightest have fought. The jump in weight from the first fight to this one, he said, will benefit him. He said he didn't feel Cotto's punches at 147 and expects to feel them les at 154.
I asked him if he is mentally stronger than Cotto, has more of a warrior's heart.
"I do mentally and physically I'm stronger than him. I've already shown it once and I'm going to show it again," Margarito said.
TSS Universe, what do you say? Cotto or Margarito? is this THE fight of the year candidate? I say yes. What say you?