NEW YORK — Antonio Margarito stepped onto the scale at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, a precursor to his pivotal encounter with Miguel Cotto tonight at the “Mecca of Boxing”. Black beanie atop his skull, dark shades covering his face from Cotto’s rabid faithful, Margarito gestured to the crowd with a throat-slash, fully playing up his role as the bad guy.
Michael Buffer announced “The Tijuana Tornado” at 152 ½ pounds, as Margarito flexed his muscles – the best the 31-year-old pressure fighter has ever looked physically.
Cotto next stepped on the scales, weighing in at a trim and fit 152 ¼ as his adoring fans showered him cheers.
Top Rank decided to bypass the customary stare-down due to the bad blood between the two fighters.
Afterwards, fans were encouraged to stick around and take part in the second edition of HBO’s Fight Day Now, an all-day show that airs on HBO the day of the fight where fans interact with the HBO Team.
One by one, fans got on the microphone as Max Kellerman, Jim Lampley and Emauel Steward fielded questions concerning the rematch between the bitter rivals.
That brings us to three burning questions heading into the fight:
Assuming Margarito did indeed fight with doctored handwraps in the first bout, that doesn’t account for his incredible ability to absorb Cotto’s shots without budging. Cotto outboxed Margarito throughout the first half of the bout, landing shots at will, but was never able to so much as slow the Mexican down, as he continued to march forward in his unrelenting attack.
What will Cotto be able to do to stop him? Does he have anything up his sleeve?
Both fighters have been through a lot of wars. Cotto took enormous punishment in wars with Zab Judah, Joshua Clottey, Ricardo Torres, Manny Pacquiao and of course against Margarito. Margarito took severe beatings from Pacquiao and Shane Mosley. The fighters seem to be faded, but has one lost more than the other? Have they both lose just enough that the fight will be even more entertaining, their reflexes a bit slower?
Cotto strongly believes that Margarito used illegal handwraps against him. Will he go out of his element and slug with Margarito in an attempt to exact revenge? Will he feel pressure to impress his legion of loyal fans and trade with Margarito in the center of the ring?
What if Margarito’s shots feel the same? Will that discourage Cotto?
It’s sure to be an exciting fight and if it can somehow live up to the hype, 2011 will go out with a bang.