By Harold “The Shadow” Knight
Boxinginsider.com welcomes former IBF Junior Lightweight title challenger Harold Knight to our editorial staff. Harold, a native of Plainfield, NJ, is a former USBA Junior Lightweight champion, has boxed many times on national network television and served as the second assistant trainer for Lennox Lewis’s entire professional career. This is Harold Knight’s first column.
Let me start off by saying Miguel Cotto is a true champion, a warrior,a throwback fighter who comes to fight with his heart, body and soul each and every time he laces the gloves up. That is very rare in today’s professional boxing. Mr. Cotto has my respect as well as every fighter who laces them gloves up and walks that long journey to the ring and walks up them steps to perform in front on hundreds or thousands of people, who also tests his skills against his opponent and stays to the game plan win or lose.
I know first-hand, being a former USBA Jr. Lightweight Champion from 1987-1988 and former # 1-ranked contender who fought and lost to the then IBF World Champion Rocky Lockridge, in one of the last 15 round Championships contested – by a close unanimous decision.
Miguel Cotto has nothing to be ashamed of, he fought courageously and valiantly up until his trainer and corner waved it off, which was a good move by the trainer, after being down twice in the eleventh round. Cotto never recovered from the tenth round shellacking from Margarito. Cotto is a very proud fighter and Champion who is the present flag-bearer for the island of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans the world over.
Cotto-Margarito in my opinion was a classic and is the frontrunner for fight or should I say “The Battle of the Year!” I believe Cotto might not recover from the war he just waged with Margarito, who is one of the biggest, strongest, iron-chinned, iron-willed, determined welterweights today.
Cotto landed three or four clean punches to Margaritos chin but could not make him blink or even a step back. Margarito was relentless in his pressure and body attack ala Cotto’s trademark. Mistake number one – no body attack from Cotto. Mistake number two – how do you out-box a guy who is taller and throws over 100 punches nearly every round. He should have stayed with what got you to the top – pressure/body shots/vaunted left hook to the body. Mistake number three – Cotto, I noticed reverted back to old habits, after throwing punches he would lift his chin and slightly drop his hands which is a no-no against a taller guy with long arms. Mistake number four – laying on the ropes and not trying to stay inside and back Margarito up. Cotto took too many right hands, uppercuts and used too much energy by moving side to side early in the fight. Margarito made Cotto fight every second of every minute of every round.
Cotto was cut early in the fourth round and by the seventh he was leaning on the his corner ropes for a breather. Cotto was giving just as much as he was taking but to no effect against Margarito. His will was broken. His legs were beginning to fade and he was backing up and laying on the ropes taking too many shots – that’s what ruins fighters. By the tenth round Margarito hurt Cotto at the end of the round. The fat lady was practicing. In the eleventh round Cotto gave his last stand but cut, bloodied and hurt bad again, the heart and pride of Cotto refused to give in after being down twice.
This fight reminded me of Taylor-Chavez, Taylor throwing more but Chavez more effective with damaging and lasting results. Time will tell. Cotto can still beat some top guys but he will never be the same. “The Battle was a classic, one for the ages, a fight I really enjoyed watching. But it comes with a price.
Contact Harold Knight at [email protected]