Opinion: Can Cotto Exorcise the Ghost of Margarito?
The first installment of HBO’s highly-acclaimed reality series 24/7 featuring Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto rolled out Saturday night, bringing back images of Cotto’s devastating loss last year to Mexican Antonio Margarito.
Boxing sites all over the internet are abuzz with the first installment of HBO’s 24/7 series which is a prelude to the upcoming WBO Welterweight Title fight between Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao and Puerto Rican champion Miguel Cotto on November 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Kudos to HBO for delivering yet another outstanding presentation which would surely drum up more interest for the upcoming pay-per-view fight especially from among the casual fight fans. Outstanding sound effects, superb editing, and Liev Schreiber’s distinct voice-over highlight and further intensify the drama surrounding both camps. The images showing the devastation brought about by typhoon ‘Ondoy’ (international name Ketsana) were really moving and hopefully more eyes were opened with regards to the poor plight of our unfortunate brothers in Luzon who were badly affected so that international aid may continue to pour in as our countrymen sorely need all the help that they can get in order to rise again. This is the third time in less than a year that Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao appears in the popular series, after Pacquiao-De La Hoya last year and Pacquiao-Hatton in May this year. Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto on the other hand appears in his very first HBO 24/7 series, only the second Latino fighter to do so after Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez’ turn last month in his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Team Pacquiao is always fun to watch especially with the always candid Freddie Roach. And Manny Pacquiao's opening sequence where he was made to do laps in the pool in lieu of the usual road work which became impossible when the streets were flooded as a result of the typhoon, was almost comical. Apparently the Pacman doesn't know how to swim, as a result he swallowed a lot of water. It was Miguel Cotto’s side of the story however which provided the drama as the show immediately focused on the only loss of his career at the hands of the dreaded Antonio Margarito in July last year wherein he took a knee twice in the eleventh round when he could no longer take the brutal punishment that he was getting from the persistent Mexican.
“The thing that passed through my mind was, stop the fight… for my benefit, for the benefit of my kids”, Cotto explained on why he took the voluntary surrender late into the very competitive bout. His wife and four kids could not hold back their tears as they watched him fight from ringside. “That was a very sad night for me”, said Miguel Cotto Sr. who was working in his son’s corner on that fateful night. “The tears coming out of Miguel’s eyes that night weren’t normal, they were tears of blood. You had to see it, bleeding out of his nose, bleeding out of his ears. You had to see how deep his wounds were, it’s impossible to explain. I couldn’t explain how someone with gloves could do that”, he said as images of his son’s battered face streamed across the screen. A possible explanation could have been the illegal plaster found in Margarito’s hand wraps prior to his fight with Sugar Shane Mosley six months later, a fight which he lost via knockout. Team Cotto believes that it’s likely that Margarito used the illegal substance when he fought Miguel Cotto and was the reason why Miguel absorbed such a brutal beating. Whether Margarito was using the illegal plaster or not when he fought Cotto may never be proven. What is certain though is that Miguel Cotto took a terrible punishment that night, both physically and mentally. And experts say that more than the actual physical beating, Cotto may have lost the mental toughness as a result of that brutal loss which will make it difficult for him to rise above adversity from here on. While Team Cotto claims that the Margarito incident is all in the past, boxing critics disagree and say that he’s not the same fighter before Margarito’s beating, as reported by Leo Reyes of Digital Journal. On November 14, the twenty-eight year old native of Caguas, Puerto Rico will square off against boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao to try and redeem his once lofty perch atop the boxing world and to prove once and for all that he has completely exorcised the ghost of Antonio Margarito. But Cotto is facing long odds as he is going against the current pound-for-pound king who is also determined to cement his legacy and his all-time greatness by going for his seventh world title in as many divisions, a feat which no boxer has ever done. Manny Pacquiao has not lost since 2005 and was beaten only once in twenty fights under coach Freddie Roach, who publicly declared that they intend to remind Cotto of his worst nightmare when the time comes. As reported in Pacfans-Corner.com, Roach vowed, “Manny needs to start aggressive, strong and fast so that he'll make Cotto remember the beating he got from Antonio Margarito.”