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.
Capetillo has since been replaced by Robert Garcia.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?
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?
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?
RingTV.com: Why do you believe that Cotto wanted the catchweight of 153 pounds?
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.
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 email@example.com