Miguel Cotto dominated and battered Antonio Margarito, over nine lopsided rounds, on Saturday night (December 3) at Madison Square Garden, earning a TKO decision after a ringside doctor ruled that the Mexican fighter could no longer continue.
The Puerto Rican fighter seemed like he was punishing the Tijuana-bred boxer for it too, repeatedly rocking him with jabs, straight rights, and stiff lefts, helping him avenge a 2008 loss against Margarito, which added the first blemish to his then-perfect record.
Margarito reportedly underwent surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone, following a loss to Manny Pacquiao last November … and contemplated retirement. He obviously returned, but wasn’t licensed until November 22, after the New York State Athletic Commission ordered an examination of his eye.
From the beginning of Saturday night’s fight, Cotto aimed for that eye until it was swollen shut by the seventh round.
With the eye closed, a ringside physician examined the eye before the ninth round and let the bout resume. But the round, in which Cotto continued to beat on the eye, the doctors ruled Margarito couldn’t see out of the eye and told referee Steve Smoger to stop the fight, despite the objections of Margarito and his corner men.
“The eye was completely shut,” Smoger said. “He couldn’t see out and I couldn’t see in. We have a rule in New York that if you can’t see out of an eye, we have to stop the fight.”
Margarito seemed to be hunting for one big blow to turn things around, which never came.
Cotto stared down Margarito from his corner after the bout was stopped … later explaining that he wanted to “taste my victory.”
“Just to look at him and taste my victory on him. He means nothing to me. I’m here with all my crowd and all my people. He means nothing to me,” Cotto said.
In their first meeting, the “Tijuana Tornado” stopped Cotto in the 11th round in Las Vegas. Cotto had maintined previously, and during the lead-up to Saturday’s fight, that Margarito also used illegal plaster-loaded hand wraps — which were confiscated before his January 2009 loss to Shane Mosley — during their first fight and claimed he had the photos to prove it. And, long resisted a rematch because he didn’t want money going to an opponent who didn’t fight fair.
When he finally took the rematch, he left nothing to chance … as seen by his performance, taking it to his rival from round #1. He event smiled and taunted
Despite the stoppage, and how battered his face looked, Margarito claims he had “no vision problems” and would’ve won if the fight continued.
“I needed two more rounds to win the fight,” he said. “I thought I threw harder punches, was doing fine.”
Cotto improved to 37-2, while Margarito fell to 38-8.
Fight promoter Bob Arum said, after the fight, that Cotto’s next fight might be against middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but also Floyd Mayweather Jr. also is a possibility.