A Big Night For Welterweight Champs

By Francis Walker
Updated: April 16, 2008

NEW YORK — WBA welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (32-0, 27 KOs) and newly crowned IBF champ Antonio Margarito (36-5, 26 KOs) are due to meet one another on July 26, in what could be the 2008 Fight of the Year.

Both men looked terrific during an HBO televised world welterweight title doubleheader from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey last Saturday.

In the main event, Cotto’s uncompetitive bout with Alfonso Gomez was stopped after the fifth round. Cotto stunned Gomez at the end of the first round with one body shot. Cotto scored three knockdowns throughout the mismatch.

The final knockdown at end of round five was off a stiff Cotto jab.

Margarito became a two-time welterweight champion by scoring a repeat knockout of Kermit Cintron for the IBF title.

A deal has already been in place for Cotto and Margarito to finally engage in what should one of the most explosive welterweight title fights in recent memory.

The prize of course is Floyd Mayweather, Jr. He is widely considered the best fighter in all of boxing. But with Mayweather, having fought only twice in the last 11 months, is only pursuing big money fights.

Cotto has emerged as the most exciting fighter in the welterweight division following victories against Zab Judah (TKO 11) and Shane Mosley (W 12) in 2007.

Before people can fantasize over an epic Mayweather vs. Cotto fight, Margarito will be Cotto’s next opponent. Honestly, it’s a risky fight for Cotto and there’s no guarantee that he will beat Margarito.

“I’ll be prepared for anyone… especially Margarito,” Cotto said afterwards.

Don’t underestimate Margarito. Margarito is taller than Cotto and his chin is rock solid. Margarito is a well schooled fighter that can box and punch hard. He puts his punches together in combinations and is a well-schooled fighter.

Margarito is also as good a body puncher as Cotto.

Margarito KOs Cintron in rematch

Margarito’s boxing skills couldn’t have been more evident as he remains the only man to ever defeat Cintron, a hard-hitting knockout puncher, not once but twice.

In their first bout three years ago, Margarito was the WBO welterweight champion. Cintron tasted the canvas four times. The bout was stopped when Cintron signaled to his corner that he had enough.

Cintron, who entered the inevitable rematch as the champion under the careful eye of Emmanuel Steward, was determined to avenge his KO loss to Margarito. Cintron wanted to put to rest all of the as to whether he could beat his arch-rival.

Cintron, willing to slug, landed some hellacious shots to Margarito’s cranium. Cintron boxed and attempted to bring the fight to his challenger. Margarito, however, constantly shook off Cintron’s punches and continued to heavily trade leather.

Margarito went blow for blow with Cintron and continued to press forward after the first round when Cintron suddenly became a one-punch fighter. Margarito, with pressure and combination punching, broke Cintron down with body shots, hooks, and uppercuts.

Margarito was warned for rabbit punching and throwing low blows, but wasn’t docked any points.

The bout ended when Margarito landed a right hook upside Cintron’s head, followed by a solid left hook to the body. Cintron struggled, but simply couldn’t return to is feet as Margarito taunted him to get up and continue fighting.

“I’m surprised it went as long as it did,” Margarito said. “I had this fight from the beginning.”