Cotto-Margarito II: Day for Night

By Robert Ecksel on December 3, 2011
Cotto-Margarito II: Day for Night
Some of us may have second thoughts about having roused the rabble (Chris Cozzone)

We forgave the Pawtuxet Indians and bloodthirsty Romans, so why not forgive Antonio Margarito?

“I wasn’t a dirty fighter, but hit them after the bell or when they was down or getting up.”—Fritzie Zivic

The countdown has begun in earnest. We’re checking off the hours. Soon we’ll be checking off the minutes. Everyone who had something to say, and many who had nothing to say, have more or less said it all.

The bad blood between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito is as real as can be. We’ve gotten so used to trash talk disguised as animosity that the real thing is almost refreshing, assuming one can use that word in this context.

Maybe because Thanksgiving has just passed and Christmas is fast approaching, forgiveness is in the air. After all, we forgave the Pawtuxet Indians and bloodthirsty Romans, so why not forgive Antonio Margarito?

“You’re supposed to do anything to win. You’re not an altar boy in there. Hit ‘em on the break, backhand, do all the rotten stuff to ‘em. What are they going to shoot you for it?”—Billy Conn

The show must go on. Those who want more proof that Margarito played fast and loose with the rules are grasping at straws. But if, God forbid, Cotto had died, as Billy Collins Jr. died, as the result of the beating he received in July 2008, would Margarito’s supporters have the nerve, or lack of decency, to come to his defense? But Cotto survived, at least physically. Whether or not he survived psychologically we’ll discover tonight.

Top Rank’s Bob Arum continues to vehemently deny that Margarito did anything illegal, despite being sanctioned, fined, suspended, suffering all variety of slaps on the wrist for committing a venal boxing sin. No doubt Arum wants the PPV viewers to ignore the facts and focus on the positive, the positive being that the fighters hate each other’s guts and will probably fight accordingly.

“See those earrings? If I was fighting him I’d get hold of them with my teeth and pull ‘em out. You have to do things like that in the ring.”—Jack Kid Berg

Those of us who are students of the game, not general sports fans looking for a quick fix, can’t help but wonder if two fighters actually hating each other is a good thing. Blood lust in fans is something to be wary of, not something to be encouraged. Boxing, no matter how violent, no matter how atavistic, is still a sport. Emotions are better left in the locker room than brought into the ring. Boxing is dangerous enough when the rules are observed and the fighters are collegial. Without that, anything can happen, and when anything can happen in boxing, watch out.

Those who focus on the bottom line, and those who know no better, believe that this is what the fight game is about. None of that “gentlemanly art of self-defense” or sissified “sweet science” stuff to mar the harsh reality of two men determined to destroy each other.

“If I hit an opponent and his eyeball fell out of his head, I would eat it before he got it back. You have to things like that in boxing.”—Bobby Czyz

For a fight that should have been made years ago, it’s amazing the buzz this bout has generated. Both fighters are past their prime. Both fighters had their head handed to them by Manny Pacquiao. Tonight’s bout may boil down to who has the most left. But the majority of those in attendance and watching at home have an emotional investment in who wins.

Naturally, Puerto Ricans are pulling for Cotto and Mexicans are in Margarito’s corner. But if we fine-tune rooting away from geography toward the essential character of the warriors, people are rooting for the bad guy, because they like bad guys, or their rooting for the good guy, in the hope that he’ll right a despicable wrong. This is a simplification of the boxing’s essence which perhaps the sport does not need.

“In a fight it’s the thumb in the eye, the knee in the balls. In pool you cheat on the score, in baseball you rap the base runner sliding in or use your spikes. In poker it’s a marked deck, loaded dice in craps. The important thing is not how you to do it. The important thing is to win.”—Rocky Graziano

Whichever fighter has his hand raised in the end will be heralded and showered with money. But when the dust settles, when sanity has returned and emotion has been chained in the backyard where no one can get hurt, some of us may have second thoughts about having roused the rabble.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

HBO Boxing: Cotto vs. Margarito - Under The Lights

Cotto vs Margarito Pre Show Segment 7

HBO Boxing: Cotto vs Margarito Highlights (HBO)

Cotto vs. Margarito II press conference

Miguel Cotto: Best Highlights [HD]

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  1. carl 05:30pm, 12/03/2011

    PPV paid.  Waiting…. GO COTTO!

  2. "Old Yank" Schneider 10:36am, 12/03/2011

    Robert—I was at the Garden for Cotto/Judah with my youngest son a few years ago—the day before the Puerto Rican Day Parade.  Electric!  Red, white and blue flags of Puerto Rico were flying in what seemed to an attempt to paint the Garden all things Cotto.  My son and I had a blast!  I suspect security will be very high for this bout due to how emotionally charged fans are.

  3. the thresher 09:56am, 12/03/2011

    Fight time: 9:00 p.m. EST
    Location: Madison Square Garden - New York, New York
    TV channel: HBO PPV ($54.99-64.99, United States), BoxNation (U.K.), TV Azteca (Mexico), Main Event PPV ($29.95-49.95, Australia)
    Streaming PPV: Top Rank will be offering the pay-per-view online. Click here for more information.
    Odds: Cotto is favored between -210 and -250, making him not a huge favorite, but a firm one. Margarito’s lines are between +165 and +195.
    PPV Undercard: Brandon Rios vs John Murray (12, Lightweights) ... Mike Jones vs Sebastian Lujan (12, Welterweights) ... Pawel Wolak vs Delvin Rodriguez II (10, Junior Middleweights)
    Off-TV Undercard: Top Rank will be streaming the off-TV undercard live, starting at 6 p.m

  4. "Old Yank" Schneider 07:54am, 12/03/2011

    the thresher—Margarito is what I call a live dog!  It appears that the masses believe Margarito had some unfair advantage in the first bout that he does not have here.  It is a rare thing for a man’s will to be so dramatically taken from him and he finds a way to get it back.  I like the dog bet here!

  5. the thresher 06:52am, 12/03/2011

    the oddsmakers like Miguel Cotto to get some measure of revenge for his 2008 beatdown at the questionable hands of Antonio Margarito.








    SBG Global



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