By Chris Robinson
Last Saturday night was a sorrowing one for former champion Antonio Margarito.
Facing off with Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto for a second encounter, Margarito fell behind early and was never really able to get on track. Cotto boxed beautifully and landed enough crisp shots to cause severe swelling on Margarito’s surgically-repaired right eye, forcing a stoppage after ringside physicians advised referee Steve Smoger that the fighter was in no shape to continue.
Fighting Cotto at the famed Madison Square Garden was essentially giving up home field advantage and Margarito’s trainer Robert Garcia knew beforehand that it was an uphill battle.
“We knew, going into the fight, that everything was going to be against us,” Garcia said during our recent interview. “We felt that Tony was starting to pick it up in the middle rounds. I thought the ninth round was a great round for Tony and a few more rounds would have been great.”
You can sense that Garcia has come to terms with the nature of the stoppage but you can also see the question marks floating around in his head.
“What would have happened? We don’t know because they wouldn’t let us continue,” he added. “But I feel it was Tony’s best rounds were to come. There’s nothing we could do or nothing we could say. It’s just part of the sport, part of boxing.”
Now 33 years old, Margarito has gone just 1-3 in his last four ring outings and has taken varying levels of punishment in his losses, with a January 2009 TKO loss to Shane Mosley and a brutal points blemish to Pacquiao preceding the Cotto rematch.
Add onto everything a major surgery to repair a broken orbital bone that came after his loss to Pacquiao, and Margarito may be near the end of his line. Reasonable thinking may suggest as much but Garcia insists that his charge isn’t looking to call it a day just yet.
“He didn’t say he wants to retire or anything so I’m pretty sure he’s going to want to continue fighting. He didn’t have to go to the hospital, so [his eye] should be fine. I’m sure he will think about it and make a decision after that,” Garcia said.
And that’s what is commendable about Garcia. He stands by his fighters through thick and thin, as is the case with him and Margarito.
“You know what? His style is just a style that can give everybody trouble like he did three years ago,” Garcia said, finishing up. “He has gone through a lot of things in the last couple of years. From the Mosley fight to Pacquiao and now Cotto, so there’s some things he needs to do but I have his support 100%.”
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