The bout was Cotto’s first under the tutelage of Pedro Diaz, best known for his time with the Cuban national team. Much was made of the firing of Emanuel Steward, but Cotto looked tremendous in out-boxing Margarito. An interested party was quite satisfied with the event.
“I thought Cotto’s game plan for this fight improved,” said Kery Davis, V.P. of Programming for HBO Sports. “I was a little concerned when he kept backing up during the first four, five rounds. It resembled the first bout for a while. I’m very happy for him. This fight was very important to him.”
It was also the last bout of Cotto’s contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, who has handled his career since his pro debut. The absence of a new deal has led to talk of Cotto being matched with Floyd Mayweather, should the super fight with Manny Pacquiao once again fail to materialize.
“For them, it was revenge. For me, it was just a good fight to make,” said Arum. “Margarito’s eye was closed. It was appropriate to stop the fight. Cotto was terrific. His training made a strong adjustment.”
Arum said that he expected to promote Cotto’s next fight, even without a contract, much like his relationship with Marvin Hagler. He could be matched with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., though the weight would be unclear.
As for Margarito, there are many options at 154, though it’s clear at this point that the eye is a problem and will continue to swell up, especially considering Margarito’s reckless fighting style. If he continues to fight on – and smart money says he will – bouts against James Kirkland, Canelo Alvarez and Vanes Martiroysan are appetizing.
But this night was all about Cotto – a sell-out crowd of 21,239 at Madison Square Garden and a (somewhat) controversy-free ending in the main event of an HBO PPV.
Notes and Nuggets
Photos by Chris Farina – Top Rank
Mike Coppinger is a regular boxing contributor to USA TODAY and THE RING. He is a member of THE RING Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Sports Boxing Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger