All but around 1,500 tickets had been sold for the show at Madison Square Garden, where Cotto is extremely popular. Cotto is 8-0 with four knockouts overall in New York, and 6-0 at Madison Square Garden, where he has decisioned former world titleholders Clottey, Shane Mosley and Paulie Malignaggi, and knocked out Zab Judah.
Cotto-Margarito II is supported by a stacked undercard featuring RING No. 1-rated lightweight and WBA titleholder Brandon Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs), unbeaten RING No. 8-rated Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones (25-0, 19 KOs) and RING No. 10-rated New Jersey junior middleweight Pawel Wolak (19-1-1, 19 KOs).
Rios and Jones competed on the Pacquiao-Margarito card where Rios earned a fifth-round knockout over Omri Lowther, and Jones, an exciting majority decision over Jesus Soto-Karass.
Also to appear is Notre Dame graduate and ligthheavyweight prospect Mike Lee (7-0, 4 KOs) against an opponent to be determined.
Jones will be in against Argentina’s Sebastian Lujan (38-5-2, 24 KOs) for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s ratings, with the winner being in line to meet IBF No. 2-rated Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) for the organization’s belt that was recently vacated by Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs).
Jones has also been mentioned as a potential opponent for Pacquiao.
Another rematch on the Cotto-Margarito II Wolak taking his unbeaten streak of 8-0-1, including five knockouts against Dominican-born Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-3, 14 KOs).
In July, Wolak and Rodriguez battled to a majority draw in an exciting Fight of the Year candidate bout. Wolak fought the entire second half of the fight while peering through severely cut and swollen eyes, the right side of his face marred by a softball-sized hematoma.
Lathan could not be reached for comment, but Arum did not emerge with favorable feelings from a hearing on Wednesday in New York that he attended along with Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti.
During the meeting, the commission heard testimony from a commission eye specialist, a doctor from its medical advisory board and two doctors who supported Margarito’s application, including Margarito’s eye surgeon, Alan Crandall.
Crandall, who spoke via video testimony at Wednesday’s hearing, operated on Margarito in May at the John Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Considered to be among of the nation’s premiere eye surgeons, Crandall assured the commission on Wednesday that Margarito’s eye was healthy enough that he could safely compete as a boxer once again.
It was Crandall, in May, who performed surgery which removed a cataract and placed an artificial lens into Margarito’s eye. Crandall then advised Margarito not to box again until December.
Top Rank officials forwarded the results of Crandall’s procedure to the NYSAC and then contacted Madison Square Garden to make arrangements to schedule Cotto-Margarito on Dec. 3.
But on Halloween, Top Rank received notification from the commission that there might be a problem with Margarito’s eye, leading to Wednesday’s hearing.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com