NEW YORK — Boxing commentator Rich Marotta, a respected, former long-time host of the Los Angeles-based radio show, Neutral Corner, now calls fights for Top Rank Live on Fox Sports Net.
RingTV.com asked Marotta to break down Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View-televised WBA title bout between RING No. 1-rated junior middleweight and beltholder Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 knockouts) and ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs).
Margarito knocked out Cotto in the 11th round in July of 2008, dethroning him as WBA welterweight titleholder and handing him the first loss of his career.
Marotta assessed the fighters over seven categories — ring generalship, chin, power, stamina, trainer, facial durability and according to how the style of referee, Steve Smoger, factors into the fight.
Chin: Margarito has the best chin, almost, the best chin in all of boxing.
Power: I give a slight edge, not a tremendous edge, but a slight edge to Margarito in the power department. I think Cotto is the sharper puncher of the two, but Margarito has more of the thumping power, the thundering power.
Stamina: Stamina I would definitely say that Margarito has the better of the two. All that you have to do is to look back at his last fight with Manny Pacquiao.
How could he possibly be still standing at the end of 12 rounds and still throwing punches is beyond me.
Facial durability: I will say that neither guy’s face is going to hold up. I would say that they’re both going to be badly bruised by the end of the conclusion of the fight.
And I don’t think that it’s necesssarily a good idea for Cotto to have changed trainers again right before this fight. This gives him about three different trainers in the last three or four years.
I don’t think that that was a good idea for him to do that. I can’t judge the quality of Cotto’s trainer, however, because I know that he’s been a good amateur trainer, but I don’t know much about him as it relates to training pro fighters.
Referee: Steve Smoger is the referee. I think this is a fight where you don’t want a squeamish referee, and Smoger is the furthest thing from a sqeamish referee.
I think that especially when you’re going to have both guys puffing up, both guys getting bruised, and there should be blood.
You don’t want a referee that’s going to get freaked out by that stuff, so I think that Smoger’s the right guy. Does that favor either guy? No, I dont’ think so.
Verdict: The final result as far as I’m concerned is that I think that there is going to be an upset, and I think that Antonio Margarito is going to win the fight tomorrow night. And I think that he’s going to win by knockout or a technical knockout late in the fight, like he did the first time.
I’m pretty much a believer in the tradition that if one fighter beats another fighter and beats him up badly in the first fight, that the same result is going to come about in a rematch. I think that if you look statistically, a good 70 to 80 percent of the fighters who win the fight will win the second fight as well.
And I just think, and I understand that there was a controversy and Cotto thinks that Margarito might have had his fists loaded the first time that they fought, but I think that, again, styles to make boxing.
And I don’t think that the style of Margarito is good for the style of Cotto, because it’s one where he uses constant pressure. Cotto won’t get a chance to relax. He certainly didn’t in the first fight.
He had Margarito in his face the whole time, and I suspect that the same thing is going to happen tomorrow night. And I suspect that Margarito is going to knockout Cotto to win.
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org