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Merciless Cotto stops Margarito

2011-12-04 12:30
Miguel Cotto (AP)
New York - Miguel Cotto produced one of the finest performances of the year to beat Antonio Margarito here on Saturday night.

The fight at a packed Madison Square Garden was stopped at the start of the tenth round when Margarito was unable to see out of his completely shut right eye.

Cotto retained his WBA super-welterweight title in the grudge rematch, outboxing the Mexican from the opening minute.

Margarito had no answer to the champion’s hit-and-move strategy and probably did not win more than two rounds, at the most.

Cotto was brilliant in just about everything he did, showing outstanding footwork, throwing lightning fast combinations and keeping the pressure on Margarito.

The challenger’s right eye, which needed surgery after his loss to Manny Pacquiao, was cut in the third round, when a doctor took a look at it.

After the seventh round, the medics and referee Steve Smoger, were clearly concerned. Cotto, mercilessly targeting the eye, countered everything the desperate challenger could muster.

He never let up and the ring doctors again examined Margarito's injury again after the eight round.

There was a long delay while they discussed the situation at the start of the tenth before they advised Smoger, who was handling his 168th world title fight, to stop the bout.

Ring doctor Anthony Curreri said, "It came to the point where there was no vision at all from the eye. It would have been dangerous for him to go out there without any visual field. He did go quite a bit with the eye impaired."

It was the same eye that the Mexican needed surgery for to fix a fractured orbital bone after a lopsided loss to Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao in November 2010, reports Sapa-AFP.

Pacquiao took it easy on Margarito in their fight when it became apparent that Margarito's eye was badly damaged but Cotto showed him no mercy.

Cotto, 32, whose record now stands at 37-2; 30, was probably leading by eight or nine points when it ended.

Margarito, whose record dropped to 38-8, including 26 knockouts, failed to capitalise on his reach advantage.

The 33-year-old former WBO and IBF welterweight champion, known as the Tijuana Tornado, stopped Cotto in the 11th round in Las Vegas in their first meeting.

Reuters reports that the Mexican's corner begged the officials to let the fight continue but the physicians called a halt to proceedings, despite howls of protests from the crowd.

"His eye was gradually closing. I felt it was safer to stop the fight," doctor Barry Jordan said.

"His lid was completely closed for three rounds. He had no vision in that eye. I think it would have been dangerous for him to go back in."

The two fighters are sworn enemies and even when the bout ended they continued taunting each other with Cotto triumphantly marching over to his vanquished opponent's corner.

"He means nothing to me," Cotto said. "I just wanted to look at him and taste my victory."

Margarito, one of the most controversial figures in the sport after he was banned for a year for using illegal hand wraps, insisted he could have gone on and the officials were wrong to stop the fight.

"They were out to protect him because I was going forward," the aggressive Margarito said. "I hurt him. He hits like a girl. I never felt the punches." 

Read more on:    boxing

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