In the sport of boxing, a fighter can have several personalities. There’s the boxer who is flashy with little skill to show for it. You have fighters who are “show boats” and can back it up and then there’s the fighter who lets his/her God given talents speak for them in the ring. This warrior needs no introduction, has no emotion and rarely shows any vulnerability. Miguel Cotto is the epitome of such attributes. Miguel Cotto with a career record of (34-1, 27 KOs), came from a Puerto Rican boxing family. As an amateur, he represented Puerto Rico in the Pan American Games (1999), Summer Olympics (2000) and in 1998; he won a silver medal in the 1998 Junior World Championships competing in the lightweight division.
Miguel Cotto became a professional in 2001 as a Junior Welterweight. In three years, Cotto basically made quick work of most of his opponents. In that time span, Cotto’s won 18 bouts with an impressive 15 KO’s. Cotto quickly developed a reputation as one of the most feared power punchers in his weight class and on September 11, 2004, he would cement that reputation by winning the WBO Junior Welterweight championship. Cotto destroyed his opponent, and then champion Kelson Pinto in 6 rounds. Cotto would successfully defend his title six times, knocking out the first five of that group. In 2006, Cotto relinquished his belts with only one thing on his mind, a Welterweight title. On December 2, 2006, Miguel Cotto fought Carlos Quintana in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Cotto would win the bout by way of a technical knockout in the fifth round and capture the title he wanted. During his title run, Cotto had key victories against the likes of Alfonso Gomez, Zab Judah and Shane Mosley.
Already cementing his career as one of the best pound for pound fighters in his era, Miguel Cotto fought Antonio Margarito in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 26th 2008 for the Welterweight title. This epic fight would not fair well for Cotto. His title defense turned out to be an unsuccessful one, as he would lose his first fight as a professional. Cotto fought like a true warrior but couldn’t withstand Margarito’s pressure. Margarito’s aggression proved too much in the later rounds of the fight, which saw Cotto’s demise in the 11th round. Weeks after the fight, there were speculations that Margarito’s gloves were loaded even though Cotto’s camp never got officials to check his gloves before their bout. Ironically during Antonio Margarito’s title defense against Shane Mosley, boxing officials found plaster on Margarito’s gloves before the fight. Margarito eventually lost the fight and ultimately got a one year suspension for the substance in his gloves.
Not playing the blame game or making any excuses for losing to the tainted boxer Margarito, Cotto went back into the gym and worked extremely hard to get back to the top. On February 21, 2009, Miguel took his first step towards reaching his goal by knocking out Michael Jennings in the fifth round to capture the vacant WBO Welterweight title. Four months later, Cotto successfully defended his title in a split decision victory over Joshua Clottey.
If not for the stumbling block that came from Margarito, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to place Cotto atop the mountain of the Welterweight division. Cotto’s heart, will and not to mention his chin can not be denied, especially if he could take blows from a plastered glove for 11 rounds. As far as Antonio Margarito is concerned, he should be banned for life for resorting to such tactics.
Written by Keith Madyun