Cotto Facing His Biggest Challenge Yet

By Tom Donelson
Updated: July 20, 2008

Cotto vs. MargaritoIOWA CITY, Ia. — Miguel Cotto is set to face his biggest challenge yet as he faces off against Antonio Margarito Saturday night in Las Vegas.

What is at stake is the WBA welterweight title, the true welterweight title as well as some more potential big money fights down the line.

What makes this an intriguing fight are the styles that both men bring into the ring. Cotto is a big banger who throws every punch with mean intentions. Margartio is one of those fighters whose idea of defense is throw a bunch of punches toward the other guy.

So what we haveis an action fight and for Cotto, Margarito has two qualities that could make this a long evening. Margarito is two inches taller and has a great chin.

He took Cotto’s fellow Puerto Rican Kermit Cintron best before knocking him out, twice.Cintron, while not quite as good as Cotto, has a similar style to Cottothat Margarito already figured out.

For Margarito, he wants this fight to put his own mark on the division. Lose this fight and he would have lost to two of the best in the division. Win and he becomes the man to beat with a chance of redemption against Paul Williams.

In Cotto’s last fight with Shane Mosely, he showed improvement over his early fights when he showed flashes of defense. He also showed vulnerabilities as Mosely’s quickness allowed him to penetrate Cotto’s defenses and Cotto has been down before.

(Of course, he also got back up to win those fights.)

Margarito has had problems with boxers but he is built for fighters with Cotto’s styles. Cotto does not have Mosely’s hand speed or he may not even have Williams’ boxing skills plus Cotto will come into this match as the smaller fighter.

The one thing that Cotto does have is punching power, the one punch power that changes fight and that is the one intangible in this fight. Will his power be enough to discourage Margarito from his usual fight plan of attack, attack and attack?

If Cotto can hurt Margarito early and show the boxing skills that allowed him to squeek past Mosely, then Cotto will end up the victor.

For team Cotto, this is that defining fight that will show whether Cotto will just be another very good fighter or a great fighter. Win this bout, and he may just yet have greatness within reach.

Margarito is that big obstacle that stands in the way between Cotto and greatness.