There's no real big eye-popping moment from this weekend to lead in with a highlight clip, so instead we start the latest recommendation from unofficial TQBR visual consultant Jim. (via)
The trend of the weekend was instead toward "decisions made," from the doctor's decision to stop the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch to the robbery mentioned in the headline and more. As usual, I recommend our prior coverage from the weekend, with works by Gautham Nagesh, Andrew Harrison and yours truly, especially since I've left out any discussion of the British show or Saturday's Showtime card (owing to not having anything else new to say about any of that).
- Cotto's performance and what's next. It must be said that Cotto boxed nearly as well as he ever has, but it also must be said that he did it against a fighter who appears past his best and never was much of a boxer to begin with. Cotto switched directions beautifully, tied up when he needed to, was faster, was more accurate, was tactical when he needed to be and aggressive when called for. He attributed all this to chemistry with his new trainer, and if so, the trainer switch I feared would be a disadvantage turned into the opposite. So excellent was the performance that plenty of folk to start talking about Cotto facing Floyd Mayweather at 154 pounds or rematching Manny Pacquiao. I don't think either of those fights would go real well for him. Margarito wants a trilogy fight in Mexico, but based on how contemptuous Cotto has been toward Margarito since the win -- he said he went over and stared at Margarito after the fight to "taste my victory" -- Margarito can forget that. Rather, I like Cotto against virtually anyone in the division where he's the #1 fighter: Saul Alvarez in particular sounds like a joy, even if I'd rather have Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., plus Cotto-Alvarez would crown a lineal Ring Magazine division champ. It does appear despite the occasionally uneasy relationship with Top Rank over Margarito and the loaded gloves situation that Cotto will stick with his promoter. At times TR has appeared to look at Cotto as something of a nuisance, but they've also built him into a star and gotten him some nice paychecks, so them sticking together makes sense; my one hope hope it doesn't limit Cotto's options to TR-promoted fighters only, what with Alvarez promoted by Golden Boy and many other junior middleweights elsewhere.
- The cheating question. Cotto uttered one of the quotes of the year when asked after the fight about the difference in Margarito's punches compared to the first time: "I'm still awake." Cotto, then, felt vindicated in claiming that Margarito getting busted with loaded wraps prior to the Shane Mosley fight wasn't the first time Margarito loaded them up, including against Cotto the first time. Anyone who wanted to jump to that conclusion -- especially considering how much less marked up Cotto was this time than last time --would be well within the realm of a reasonable assumption. But there are viable alternative theses, is all, among them that Margarito doesn't hit as hard at 154 as he did at welterweight for the first Cotto bout; that Margarito didn't hit Cotto as much this time as last time; and that Margarito might be shot. I really don't know what the case is. I remain deeply suspicious of everything about Margarito, but I'll leave it at "Dunno, does seem fishy, though."
- The stoppage. I was very comfortable with the doctor recommending stopping the fight; Margarito's right eye was totally shut, and the doctor said he couldn't see out of it. Margarito himself said he correctly answered questions about the number of fingers the doc was holding up, so who knows -- although I'm not inclined to think of Margarito as someone with all that pristine a record of truth-telling. I don't think it's a coincidence that the eye swelled up so badly, either. Yes, Cotto did target the eye with left hooks, and landed 86 of them to that spot, according to HBO's figures. But the eye began swelling shut pretty quickly, something totally anticipatable given all the troubles Margarito had with surgeries on it and so forth. I bet if Margarito ever fights again -- and I bet he'll have trouble doing so in the United States once more, especially after what happened with his eye this time -- that eye swells up again, too.
- Cotto vs. Margarito 2 undercard. The undercard was close to as good as advertised, although you might not have known it from listening to the HBO commentary. Brandon Rios went to war with John Murray to get a stoppage win and Delvin Rodriguez went to war for a second time with Pawel Wolak to get a decision win, but HBO's team was preoccupied with talking about the main event during all that. I get it: There was some controversy over the handwraps in the locker rooms and that was a big storyline coming into the fight. But to practically ignore the action in those two fights? I didn't like it. As for the outcomes, it was nice to see Rodriguez finally get a win over a good opponent after a long stretch of coming up short on the scorecards. And Wolak made the right call to rematch Rodriguez, despite the style match-up getting the better of him over the course of the first fight. I don't think anything differently about Wolak than I did before: He's a good junior middleweight spark plug who will make good fights against everybody and have the potential to beat some second-tier guys. His marketability -- especially with his Polish fan backing -- should not take the slightest hit after this. Rodriguez deserves a fight against a top junior middleweight himself, someone in the top 10. Rios: He clearly can't make the lightweight limit anymore, and really showed serious mettle overcoming a week where he barely ate, so there'll be no YURIORKIS GAMBOA! fight, which works for me. Too bad Marcos Maidana is looking at the welterweight division for a fight with Devon Alexander -- the Rios-Maidana dream fight is down the drain, for now. But Top Rank's Bob Arum discussed a potential Mike Alvarado clash for Rios, and that's a fight I'd gladly watch. Murray has some rehab to do after a couple beatings in a row but still retains some level of attraction as someone worth seeing because of his aggressive style. And Mike Jones, he mostly dominated Sebastian Lujan and now figures to fight Randall Bailey for a welter strap. Jones' fight wasn't as boring as I'd read, I didn't think. I like Jones' talent, and his is sporadically exciting, at least.
- Dereck Chisora gets robbed. I don't throw that word around lightly, "robbery." That's what happened Saturday in Finland when Robert Helenius got a split decision victory over Dereck Chisora. Chisora put on the performance of a lifetime in an inspired and intelligent showing. He outworked Helenius throughout and landed all the biggest punches except maybe in three of them (the sum total of rounds I gave Robert), and while the range of "close" rounds could number as many as five if you were being generous, Helenius got the benefit of the doubt in too many of them and even then it wasn't enough to deserve a victory. Helenius promoter has promised Chisora a rematch, which is nice of them, but then, it would've been nice for the right guy to have gotten the decision.
- Felix Sturm-Martin Murray. Here's another decision that has come under scrutiny, what with Sturm getting a draw on his home soil that people don't think he deserved, something that happens a lot with Sturm. Sturm fights are the hardest fights in boxing to score. He usually lands the most head-snapping blows of the fight, but he doesn't land nearly as many blows overall as his opponents. Me, I scored it a draw. But while the formula for beating Sturm is pretty clear -- punch under, around and between his gloves and stay busy -- it's another thing to actually get the decision. Somebody's going to have to knock out Sturm to get a win over him in Germany. And what's with these British middleweights, anyway? Murray, Matthew Macklin and Darren Barker have all exceeded expectations in their recent fights, despite going 0-2-1 in them and arguably deserving to go 2-1-0.
- ShoBox. What's this!? A close decision that went to the guy who wasn't supposed to win?!!! Yes, it actually happened all right, with junior featherweight Jhonatan Romero getting a split decision win over Chris Avalos. I didn't score the fight, although it looked something like a draw to me. That Romero got the win while fighting going backward most of the time was even more surprising. It goes to show that it is possible for an underdog to win, and for a boxer who isn't merely the one walking forward to get a victory. An impressive showing from Romero, who introduces another funny spelling for "John" to the boxing scene showed once more that Avalos hates boxers who move around a lot. Avalos is going to need to either A. Get a whole lot better at boxing, something that doesn't seem likely, especially with his father as trainer or B. Stick to Friday Night Fights bouts against opponents who will engage him without all that fancy business. As for headlining super middleweight Anthony Dirrell, he got a TKO victory thanks to a fluke shoulder injury that Renan St Juste suffered. Dirrell has the same condition as his brother: clearly talented, he is only enjoyable to watch in spurts.
- The rest. From the supermarket to fantasy basketball mock draft chat rooms, I've been hearing a lot of discussion about Cotto-Margarito II in circles I wouldn't normally expect, and the fight did get some attention from the ESPNs of the world. That bodes well for its pay-per-view sales. I wouldn't be surprised to see it land in the 700-800,000 range... The whole "let's bring in Nazim Richardson" ploy by Cotto's team -- Richardson discovered the loaded Margarito wraps before the Mosley fight -- was just that: a ploy... Alexander Povetkin and Jhonny Gonzalez got knockout wins over the weekend, and some others were in action, too.
Are you saying that someone other than me wants to see a rematch between Cotto and Pacquiao? That's kinda neat, not that it's going to happen. Among other things, I'm willing to bet that Pacquiao doesn't much care for that fight. I'm not saying I think Pacquiao would lose, but I'm not sure he'd win. Pac doesn't seem to be in the mood for tough fights these days.
I never liked Margarito. I hope he never fights again. I've never been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I'm not about to start. If anyone deserves to boo Margarito, no matter what condition he's in, it's Cotto's fans, so I don't feel; bad for him in his defeat. I felt a little bad after the Pac fight because I felt like his corner let him down. The doctor protected Margarito this time, despite his stupid corner.
Who does Cotto have to fight/beat for people to stop questioning the degree to which he's faded? That's the fight I want. If Alvarez does it, great. If Martinez is the man to beat, that's cool, too. I don't think Chavez will be seen as a tough enough challenge, but if he wants that fight first, I have no problem with that, either.
Cotto Magarito 2 was very important for me to watch. I guess I'm of the mindset that people should have their second chance, James Kirkland is my favorite fighter other than bam bam right now. With that said, I don't think Pacquiao was a fair second chance. So a fight with Cotto was neccessary for me to either let the cheater tag go, or would solidify it.
Since being caught cheating, he hasn't won any meaningful fights. I do believe early in the fight, that he landed on Cotto just as much as he did in the first fight, the difference is they didn't hurt Cotto enough to slow him down to land more blows. So the thought that he didn't hurt cotto because he didn't land as much theory goes out the window for me. If you saw Cotto's face you can see that punches were landed on him, just didn't hurt him enough to land more.
I became a "hardcore" boxing fan right around 2008. Other than Oscar de La Hoya, i didnt follow anyones career. Miguel Cotto was the first one. I started going on line to watch all his fights, something id never done. With his perfect record, it felt like a super fight between him and floyd mayweather was looming. Then Margarito derailed all of that. There's no telling what Cotto could have done historically. so basically, fuck margarito.
On another note.
Brandon Rios had barely eaten for a whole week and still knocked out a top ten rated Lightweight. That is awesome.
MSG was electric--- the hatred for Margs was palpable. I have been Margs biggest critic (largely on this board), but even I felt sorry for him as he walked back defeated and nearly blinded to his lockerroom to the catcalls and venom, though still defiant. As I was telling Alex, I think HBO did a marvelous job selling the drama pre fight-- but once the fight was over, the "did Margs load?" question should have fallen by the wayside and the emphasis placed on the fight which just happened (Cotto's performance especially). Instead, we got Max trying to make the circumstantial case-- well, Max, if you really thought Margs loaded, maybe you should have had some principles and not called the fight to begin with.
Happy for Delvin and that he's going to be in line for another big money fight after all the hard luck he's run into. He seemed to make the better adjustments for the second fight (it was more of the same from Pawel, maybe with a tad less pressure than normal). Maybe he can even get a belt against K-9 type. I wouldnt want to see him against a Kirkland though. Bam Bam/Murray was the bout between two bulls that I expected (and made me look good-- I'd been talking up Murray since 2009!). Mike Jones got the job done against another bull in Lujan. THe crowd booed. It wasnt spectacular and I'm not sold on Jones being great but not boo worthy either. He paced himself nicely except for late in the 11th I think-- so the Soto Karass I lesson seemed to have been learned.
@WILLFRANK Yeah, maybe they played up the loaded gloves angle too much. But then, it was central to the promotion of the fight, a key storyline in what made people want to watch.
Delvin-K9 sounds like a lot of fun to me.
The swelling seemed to start following a Cotto left that looked like the thumb caught the eye. Was discussed on the coverage I watched. Don't think you can at all relate Margarito in this fight to any other, with tje long layoffs and severe beating he took against Pac. Surely Sturms karma for being robbed by Oscar must run out soon. Havn't really seen Chisora fight but he seems quite a charecter. So many good fights at middleweight and none being made because all the champs want to call out jr or welters. It only needs one to start the momentum and get the money flowing and we could see good fights.
@ThePJ I didn't see this thumb, and I haven't heard anyone on the Margs team mention it -- can you direct me to a round and minute? Not if it's any effort, mind you. Just if you know it off the top of yer head.
Sturm karma: Heh. It's really had a long run, right?
"Helenius promoter has promised Chisora a rematch, which is nice of them, but then, it would've been nice for the right guy to have gotten the decision."
I'm glad you said this. I've watched it three times now, each time trying to be a little more favourable to Helenius, and I score it to Chisora everytime. After his poor showing against Tyson Fury he really got his head right and did it in the gym. I feel bad for him.
Did you see Bunce's Boxing Hour on Box Nation? Helenius' promoter rang in and admitted Chisora won. If you guys do awards, this has to be a shoe-in for Robbery of the Year.
@IanW I think Williams-Lara was more of a robbery, but this one's way up high on the list after that. Good on Helenius' promoter being honest.
The Margarito cotto fight was fought with ten ounces gloves, not the eight ounce gloves they used in the first fight. IMO, neither guy ever hurt the other badly. Margarito's eye, fortunately or unfortunately depending on whether you like or hate him, essentially put him out of the fight by the fifth round. So not only did he not hit Cotto early and often enough to make his mark (for me the determinationation of whether or not he would be competitive), he could not cut off the ring and pin cotto to the ropes to administer the kind of volume beating he has always needed to be effective.
Props to Cotto. He fought a much smarter fight this time, moving sideways instead of backwards, to hit and move away from the always game but slow Margarito.
Expect Cotto to stay at TR and get 'big name' fights. And we will have to see if with careful matchmaking he can stretch out his already distinguished career.
@Fe'Roz The size of the gloves: Great point. Great.
Cotto might be a bit revived, but yeah, I think matchmaking will be crucial here.
conspiracy theory alert: someone, an unnamed person who would never ever suggest a wild conspiracy theory whose surname rhymes with jim, has suggested that the stoppage in cotto/margs was illegitimate because of how the commission wants to be viewed. not because of, you know, margs' bad eye, that he was wayyyyyyy behind and not obviously making a comeback
@robb_muckle I for one am scandalised. Imagine a doctor stopping a fight because a fighter is taking such punishment to a pre-existing injury that the officiating commission might get sued. The fix is in.
While I was ecstatic with the result - so much so that I had the post-coital tingles - I'm tempering my assessment of Cotto's performance. In my eyes the most forceful message taken from the fight is that Margarito is finished. Cotto, as well as he performed, did so against a plodding neanderthal no longer able to swing his club. Despite the marquee names in the fight, and the promise of entertainment, this was a bit like the later Vazquez-Marquez fights, where the names and action can have us misapprehend what each guy actually has left.
I think Cotto should retire. It's the perfect victory to depart after, and I think that, despite being ranked #1 in the division, the top guys beat him. There's no better stage, no better performance to exit after than the one on Saturday. Cotto needs to buck a sad trend *cough* Roy Jones *cough* and take his leave.
How bout a Margarito-Paul Williams @ 154 fight? Both guys are considered faded, but like to punch in bunches and both don't seem to like avoiding punches. I wouldn't mind seeing it personally, unless there is something I'm missing from the picture.I'd much rather see Cotto with one of the other top 154's, rather than Mayweather or Pacquiao...just can't imagine either of those fights going real well for him. How about Maravilla? Cotto looked sharp and may be able to give him some problems at 154, and Sergio would salivate for the chance to finally get a big name, and probably a PPV main event.
@jblatt1 Six months ago, I would have sneered at a Cotto-Martinez fight, expecting a Maravilla whitewash. Now I'm not so sure.
Cotto showed more dimension to his boxing skill last Saturday night, even if it came against a frozen statue named Antonio Margarito. Plus Martinez was less than impressive against Barker.
I'm starting to wonder if Maravilla is a supremely more talented and headstrong version of Kermit Cintron: A great athlete, but not a great boxer. Barker hit Martinez too easily, and I think a multi-faceted boxer-puncher with traditional, classic style like Cotto could give Martinez fits.
Maravilla made his name with the nuclear knockout of Paul Williams in their second fight. But Williams also fights with an awkward style, like Martinez. So he was open and available to hit.
I'd like to see how Martinez can cope with a multi-skilled fighter who uses a classic style, like Cotto. I'm not as sure Maravilla would have his arm lifted after the bout today as I was in July.
I thought Cotto looked might impressive and that Margarito didn't look all that bad. DPG pointed out that Margarito rarely threw more than two shots together until the eye got really bad though, so there's that. Pretty good advertisment for Pedro Diaz, at a minimum.
I'm with you in thinking that Canelo might be the best match for Cotto. Unlike JCC Jr., he's roughly in the same size bracket and they'd put on a beautiful show of aggressive boxing. The TR/GBP stuff will probably end up stopping it, but Cotto should remember that he's the one in the box seat at this stage of his career. He's such a draw that he can basically be his own boss if he wants to, even if he stays with TR.
@ALEXMAC Margarito didn't look awful, per se, but I think he's a faded fighter.
Assuming Chavez-Canelo doesn't happen, I hope Cotto insists on TR making a fight with Alvarez, realizing, as you said, his leverage.