Might as well get a jump on it, TSS Universe. It's going to be water cooler talk in a couple months anyway...Who thinks Margarito was cheating on this night, the night he beat Cotto to a pulp? (Hogan)Let me be clear and up front about this, so I don't act in any way, shape or form like those cads in Washington, whose existence relies on obfuscation...I am now putting on my lobbyist hat.
OK, ready to spout.
Miguel Cotto will meet Antonio Margarito, probably on July 16th, which is the working date for the much anticpated rematch between the Puerto Rican superstar and the Mexican baddie who was busted for trying to use loaded gloves against Shane Mosley when they fought in January 24, 2009.
You'll recall that when Cotto met Margarito, on July 26, 2008 at the MGM Grand, he absorbed his first loss. More than that, he absorbed a terrible helping of punishment. Cotto had good luck early in the fight, popping, moving, using superior skills to get the better of Margarito. But as the rounds passed, Margarito, in the fashion of the Terminator, refused to be dissuaded. He advanced on Cotto, and his launches began to tag the then-WBA welterweight champion by round six. He was relentless, and in round eleven, he finished his prey. He dropped him to a knee with 1:20 remaining, and then followed him into a corner, forcing the Cotto team to stop the fight with 55 seconds remaining. They saw their guy bleeding from the mouth, eye, nose, and wanted to save him from further damage.
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Half a year later, when the California commission found hardened hand wraps and plaster of paris components in Margarito's mitts as then trainer Javier Capetillo got his hands ready, that Margarito win over Cotto was cast into doubt. If Margarito was going to cheat against Mosley, what are the chances that he did cheat against Cotto? Real, real good, most fight pundits and fans admitted to themselves. Cotto after all looked like he'd been punished with a razor-tipped mallet on July 26, 2008. The beaten boxer has always been classy since then, refusing to outright accuse Margarito of being a serial cheater, and using foreign objects to aid him when the two scrapped. But many if not most in the fight game suspect that there is a real good likelihood that the gloves were loaded when Margarito pummeled Cotto.
We can presume that everyone will be fighting fair when the two fight a rematch this July, in a bout that will have the juiciest backstoryline attached to it of any this year, or maybe next. Wherever the fight takes place, we can be sure Cotto fans will be jammed into the joint, to the rafters, leaning in to the ring, aching for their guy to extract his deserved pound or two of flesh.
But this bout belongs in New York. (Here is where my lobbying kicks in, where I become Michael "The K Street Kid" Woods). Bob Arum can make that happen. Of course, the logical home for the event is Madison Square Garden in NYC. Lord, the vibe in there would be electric. Sad to say, because the building will undergo substantial renovation after the Knicks finish up another disappointing campaign, MSG will not able to host Cotto-Margarito II. Plan B would be to have the rematch in New Meadowlands Stadium, the East Rutherford, New Jersey stadium which houses the New York Jets and Giants.
"Definitely that fight belongs in New York," Cotto's trainer Emanuel Steward told me. "It's the biggest drawing base for Miguel. He's an East Coast fighter. He set a record at the Garden. Another fight against Margarito at the Garden would break the record."
But we'd all settle for the Meadowlands. What about it, Top Rank? Can you hook us New York-area folks up with this tussle?
"The stadium is possible," said Carl Moretti of Top Rank. "It's between that and Las Vegas. It'd be better knowing we'd get thirty thousand people there for the fight. We'd like to think we would."
Almost 21,000 people paid to enter Yankee Stadium to see Cotto fight Yuri Foreman last June; I'd bet the most majestic sum in my checking account now that an extra 9,000 would go to the stadium to see Cotto exact revenge on Margacheato. If I were Rudy Guiliani, I'd be so crass as to play the 9-11 card, but I like to think I'm better than that. No, there will be no outright begging. But what say, Mr Arum, you defer to the wisdom of Steward here. He's right. I'm right. Let's do Cotto-Margarito II at the Meadowlands, please.
Gosh, I'm glad this article is over. That hat was giving me hives...