By Mark Vester
Before a packed crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Antonio Margarito (37-5, 27 KOs) used his pressure and body shots to stop Miguel Cotto (32-1, 26 KOs) in the eleventh-round to capture the WBA welterweight title.
Margarito promised to come out fast, but it was Cotto who started quicker with a lot of punches thrown, plenty of movement and combinations. They went to war in the second, Margarito began to pressure him hard, letting his hands go, but Cotto fired back with some vicious left hooks and combinations to fight his way out when trapped against the ropes.
Cotto slowed it down in the fourth, using his boxing skills to counter Margarito's pressure punches. He continued the same pace in the fifth, using his boxing skills and his movement to make Margarito look silly with many of the tough Mexican's power punches missing.
Margarito changed the strategy in the sixth, targeting Cotto's body with hard power hooks. In the seventh, several uppercuts against the ropes rocked Cotto bad. The Puerto Rican champion used all of his will power to make it out with Margarito trying to finish.
Cotto came back with his boxing and movement to get back on track in rounds eight and nine, Margarito kept coming and throwing, but Cotto was landing the better shots while countering off the ropes.
In the tenth, Cotto boxed well, but got rocked again in the final seconds and held on to the bell. In the eleventh, Margarito began to batter Cotto to the head and body. Cotto, now a bloody mess and very tired, would take a knee for the first knockdown. Once he got up, Margarito began to batter him some more to send him down for a second time. Cotto barely got up, very hurt and battered and trainer Evangelista Cotto threw in the towel to save his nephew from further damage.
At the end of the fight, two judges had Margarito up 96-94 and 96-94, the third had it a draw at 95-95. Margarito took a lot of punches during ten-rounds of the fight, but was never hurt to the head or the body.
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