By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Six years ago this week, Miguel Cotto was focused only on Antonio Margarito.
The Puerto Rican icon was preparing for their grudge rematch, a deeply personal shot at redemption, at Madison Square Garden. The hand-wrap scandal that ruined Margarito’s reputation following his technical-knockout loss to Shane Mosley in January 2009 convinced Cotto that Margarito loaded his gloves before their first fight.
Margarito beat Cotto by 11th-round technical knockout in the bout before Margarito met Mosley.
Cotto exacted his revenge against Margarito in convincing, satisfying fashion. Margarito wasn’t allowed to continue after the ninth round due to severe swelling around his highly scrutinized right eye.
Their rematch almost was canceled due to the New York State Athletic Commission’s concerns about Margarito’s damaged right eye, but Cotto ultimately got his shot to avenge the first defeat of what’s now a 16-year pro career.
The 37-year-old Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) has fond memories of the amazing atmosphere at a sold-out Garden that night. The four-division champion also admitted before a press conference Thursday for his final fight Saturday night that he took great satisfaction from stopping Margarito in their rematch December 3, 2011.
Six years later, however, Cotto hasn’t paid Margarito much mind as he prepares for one last fight at The Garden.
“Margarito, he was out of my life a lot of years ago,” Cotto said. “And he’s going to be like that. I don’t think, I don’t talk, I don’t do anything about Margarito, you know? He can go and do whatever he wants. I don’t care.”
In his last fight, Mexico’s Margarito (41-8, 27 KOs, 1 NC) won a technical decision over Oklahoma City’s Carson Jones (40-12-3, 30 KOs, 1 NC) on September 2 in Chihuahua, Mexico. His career was never the same, though, after Cotto further damaged Margarito’s right eye in their rematch.
Margarito, 39, didn’t fight for more than four years after Cotto stopped him. He has fought just three times overall since suffering that lopsided loss.
Cotto, meanwhile, will retire after boxing Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. HBO will televise Cotto-Ali, a 12-rounder for Cotto’s WBO super welterweight title, as the main event of a doubleheader set to begin at 10 p.m. ET.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.