By Jackie Kallen
Boxing fans are looking forward to this weekend’s battle at Madison Square Garden between Cotto and Margarito. I know I am going to be sitting on the edge of my chair. Rematches can sometimes be dull and boring, but I doubt that this one will be anything but exciting and action-packed.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Once the fuss over Margarito’s right eye subsided and he was cleared to fight in New York, the East Coast fans have been scooping up tickets. There should be a solid, full crowd on hand to witness what could be payback time for Cotto.
After their first fight and the whole “loaded wraps” fiasco, Cotto is itching to hand out a beating to his foe. There is no love lost between these two. Boxing fans are looking at this one as good vs. evil. Cotto is wearing the white hat while Margarito will climb through the ropes in a metaphoric black hat. If this was WWE wrestling, Margarito would be the heel.
I think we can reasonably expect Cotto to go after the injured right eye of Margarito early and often. It is a weak spot and Cotto knows it. It will be a target. Margarito won’t need to paint a red bulls-eye on the eye–Cotto will already see that in his mind.
Another factor is Margarito’s last time in the ring–a one-sided shellacking at the hands of Pacquiao a little over a year ago. There is a chance that he is still discouraged and shell-shocked. A dramatic loss like that can take a lot out of a fighter. It was his 7th loss and his confidence can’t be what it once was.
Being a Puerto Rican fighter at the Garden gives Cotto a definite edge. The crowd will be heavily weighted in his favor and judges are often effected by the ebb and flow of the fans.
Also, there is no chance that Margarito’s gloves will be tampered with this time, so he will not have an unfair advantage. On a level playing field, the oddsmakers are going with Cotto. Cotto has an impressive 76% KO ratio and he will no doubt try to be the second man (Shane Mosley was the first) to beat Margarito by knockout.
I know that most women allegedly go for the bad boys. But in this case, I am pulling for Cotto. I think a solid win for him just might drive Margarito to rethink his future in the sport.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen