by David P. Greisman
Kevin Cunningham (Margarito): “I think I’m going to have to go with Margarito on this. I think that both guys have lost a step or two, but Margarito’s style being relentless and constant pressure, I think he’s going to eventually track Cotto down, and I don’t know if Cotto has what it takes to keep Margarito off of him. I don’t know if he’s going to be sharp enough to totally out-box him. I’m thinking Margarito to win by late-rounds stoppage.”
Henry Ramirez (undecided): “Kind of a tough fight to call, you know? I think if Cotto can box and box efficiently the whole 12 rounds, obviously I’d favor him, but if Margarito is able to apply pressure and impose himself and be real physical with him like he was over the course of the whole fight, I would lean toward Margarito. With that being said, I’m kind of on the fence, to be honest. I’m 50-50.”
Naazim Richardson (Cotto): “For most fights of this magnitude, especially in rematches where a guy’s been stopped, you see a guy get stopped and get stopped a little earlier. But in this fight there’s a difference, because Cotto doesn’t come into the fight feeling like a defeated man. He comes into the fight feeling like a cheated man.
“We saw the first fight where he was clearly out-boxing Margarito. We don’t know what the actual situation was back then, but he showed the skills to out-box Margarito. And with that added motivation of feeling cheated last time — and then Shane and I changed his [Margarito’s] life — he may out-box Margarito for 12 rounds to take a decision.”
John Scully (Cotto): “When the fight was first made, usually I go with my initial reaction, and I thought Margarito, just based on the first fight. But the more I think about it, they’re not the same people they were since the first fight. Margarito has taken so much abuse from Pacquiao and from Mosley. I just think Cotto has something too prove, and with the fight being in New York and with the fans overwhelmingly going to be in his favor, I go with Cotto to win, probably a decision.”
Ronnie Shields (Cotto): “I really think Margarito got hurt pretty good against Pacquiao. That eye still don’t look right to me. They did some kind of artificial stuff in it, and that don’t make it 100 percent, not that that has anything to do with him throwing punches. But I watched him in the Mosley fight and I watched him in the Pacquiao fight, and I just don’t think Margarito is 100 percent.
“He just don’t look 100 percent to me. Maybe to somebody else he does, but to me he don’t look 100 percent. I still think Margarito is still good enough to go 12 hard rounds, but I just see him getting hit too much by Cotto. Cotto is a really good boxer. He’s always been a boxer. Margarito can only fight one way. He’s going to come straight to you.
“With that being said, I just think that Cotto has some slickness left. He’s not fully 100 percent. When you look at both fighters, Margarito is 60 percent of what he used to be and I think Cotto is maybe 85 percent of what he used to be. And so based on that, I’m going to say Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision.”
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (Cotto): “I like Cotto to learn from his past mistakes. He is the type of guy that if he does the right things by way of boxing and stepping around Margarito without getting into a slugfest with him, and if his legs hold up, he’ll win easy. I think [by] decision.
“It’s going to be a great fight. Margarito is going to come in with that heat and try to do the best that he could. But I like Cotto, because if you look at the last fight, he won basically more rounds than Margarito did by just jabbing and stepping around him.
“It’s just when he starts to sit on the ropes and lay on the ropes … we know Margarito is a good body puncher and just broke him down. He hit him on the arms and in the muscles and just broke him down. You can’t stand in front of Margarito. You can’t go backwards. You gotta step around him with your hands up.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]