Lem Satterfield

Exclusive Q&A: Margarito defends reputation, says Cotto’s lost a step

RingTV.com caught up with ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito for his thoughts heading into the rematch with WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto, which will take place on HBO Pay Per View from New York’s Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3.

The 30-year-old Cotto (36-2, 30 KOs) suffered a vicious beating the first time he faced Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) in July of 2008, ending with an 11th-round knockout. Going into that fight, Cotto had been the undefeated WBA welterweight beltholder.

Since then, an illegal plaster was discovered and removed from Margarito’s hand wrappings before his fight with Shane Mosley, who, in the ninth round, stopped the Mexican fighter — the first knockout loss of his career — in January of 2009.

Margarito claims no knowledge of the content of the wraps, an infraction uncovered by Mosley’s trainer Naazim Richardson, instead blaming his own former trainer, Javier Capetillo.

Capetillo has since been replaced by Robert Garcia.

The unveiling of the illegal wrappings has led to speculation that Margarito’s hands were dirty when he faced Cotto, who suffered a broken nose, was knocked down once, took a knee once and had blood dripping down his face from a deep gash over his left eye after their first fight.

Ironically, Margarito suffered similar facial damage during a unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) in November of last year — a contest for the WBC junior middleweight belt, which Pacquiao has since vacated.

After facing Pacquiao, Margarito required 75 minutes of surgery to repair a massive cut and swelling beneath his right eye socket, the result of a fractured orbital bone.

In this Q&A, Margarito said he never has been a dirty fighter and that he believes Cotto has suffered a damaged psyche since losing to him, among other things.

 

RingTV.com: Is there a desire within you or a motivation to win impressively this time to erase any existing doubt that your gloves were not wrapped when you faced Cotto the first time?

Antonio Margarito: I really don’t feel that I have to prove anything to Miguel Cotto or to the people out there in general. You know I can’t take that kind of pressure into the camp, and I can’t take that with me into the fight.

I’m just going to continue to train hard and to do my thing to win the fight and to  show everybody that I’ve always fought clean, and that I’ve always been a clean fighter.
 

RingTV.com: Is your goal to win by a knockout?

AM: I’m not going to say whether it’s going to be by knockout or by decision, but I’m going to throw a lot of punches and bring a lot of pressure. Hopefully, the knockout will come.

RingTV.com: Do you feel that Cotto has lost anything since fighting you and being in split-decision and knockout wins over Joshua Clottey and Ricardo Mayorga and the stoppage loss to Pacquiao?

AM: I did notice that after my fight with him, that his skills did decrease a bit. The way that he is fighting now, he’s not the same fighter anymore.


RingTV.com: Have you lost anything since the Cotto fight and from the damage you absorbed in the Pacquiao fight?

AM: I feel good about myself. I feel really good. I mean, I feel that my fighting style has change a little bit. But not to the negative. I really do feel good.

 

RingTV.com: Why do you believe that Cotto wanted the catchweight of 153 pounds?

AM: Miguel Cotto is the 154-pound champion, so I don’t understand why he wanted to fight at 153 pounds for the catchweight. Why did he initially insist on making this fight at 150?

The only thing that I can think of is that he saw that as gaining an advantage. He wanted me to go down because he knew that I would have to suffer to make 150 pounds, but I truly believe that he wanted that as an advantage.

But if he wanted to fight at 150 pounds, then he should actually think about going back down into the welterweight division.


RingTV.com: Are you a better fighter at 154 than you were at 147?

AM: Definitely, definitely. Definitely I feel a lot better as a 154 pounder. That’s why I am glad that I actually left the welterweight division.

Energy-wise, I have a lot more energy than what I didn’t have when I was losing weight  to get to 147. I had to sacrifice a lot. 

I had do sacrifice meals and I had to work extra, extra harder just to make the 147 pound weight class. I’m not saying that at 154, that I’m not going to suffer or expend a lot of energy.

But there is going to be a substantial difference in the fighter that you will see. I am going to be a lot better as a 154 pounder. You’ll see that on Dec. 3.

 

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

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