Mike Coppinger

Cotto finally puts 2008 in the past

altThe 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

  • Bob Arum stated that he would like to match Brandon Rios, moving up to 140 pounds, with Mike Alvarado. Would be a fantastic HBO or Showtime main event between two all-action brawlers.

  • British middleweight Matthew Macklin informed this writer that a fight with RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez is close for March 17 at Madison Square Garden. Macklin, who is of Irish descent, expects a large contingent of fans from Ireland and from NYC – the bout to take place St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

  • Jean Pascal, in New York to take in the fight, said he wants to fight Tavoris Cloud but that it simply isn’t possible due to Don King’s demand of options. If King doesn’t budge, no fight, Pascal said.

  • The proposed bout between David Haye and Vitali Klitschko is likely to land on HBO, should it come to fruition, RingTV.com has learned.

  • Golden Boy is targeting March 10 for the return of Bernard Hopkins, according to sources close to the Hopkins camp. One opponent that has been tossed around is RING No. 7 light heavyweight Beibut Shumenov.


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






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