This fight is ironical on so many levels.
Cheating Antonio Margarito knocks out Miguel Cotto. Even several fights after, Cotto never fully recovers from the brutal beating he was handed down. In this less than perfect state, he comes back to redeem his honor. On the surface of things, the advantage is clearly with Antonio since, in dismantling Miguel, he ruined him physically and psychologically. The irony is that it does not guarantee him victory.The disqualification may have robbed him of the “ace in the sleeve” confidence, and with no plaster, it is quite possible, much of his feared power is gone. To sum it up, it is a battle between an honest guy who has been robbed of his ability, and a thief whose exaggerated power had been reduced to a significantly lower level.
Both, unfortunately, are no longer elite.
It is especially unfortunate for Cotto, since before this fight, this Puerto Rican warrior has been on top of his game, finding a way to defeat everyone he faced, despite his vulnerability. He had been knocked down before, and always found a way to come back, truly earning his undefeated record by fighting formidable foes, not pushovers with overinflated records.
But one fight – and his mind, the whirring apparatus behind the high-performing frame, went into BSOD mode (blue screen of death), his healthy clusters only partially recovered.
The mental breakdown he suffered is apparent in all of his following fights. with Joshua Clottey, he struggled mightily, and if not for lack of Clottey’s tenacity would have been knocked out. Manny Pacquiao did a number on him, as Cotto could not overcome his hesitations to pull the trigger. his victories were lackluster and textbook, fear of exposure ever-apparent.
Perhaps, even more telling are his new tattoos, which now don the whole side of his body. This is a gesture of a man who feels that a drastic psychological change is required to shift into the winning gear, and so he marks the beginning of this change by the flying the flag of tribal ferocity, aka “his tats.”
Margarito, the ultimate archenemy of good, the mocker of everything positive and holy, has now been forsaken by the devil, who, as in all stories of good and evil, betrays his protégé at the peak of his power, plunging him into the abyss.
First, the brutal knockout by Mosley, then a beating by Pacquiao. his very limited boxing abilities are dwindling even further with age; he is losing whatever quickness and stamina he was endowed with in his youth.
Personally, I could never put the two and two together for Margarito: how could a plodder like him knock out the likes of Cotto and Kermit Cintron, who matched him three for one in punch output? I guess we weren’t privy to a part of that magic Margarito formula.
The irony of this is that while it may seem Mr. Tijuana is the one with the psychological advantage, it is simply not the case. Without the plaster, he lost emphatically to Mosley and Pacquiao, so he is well aware that without his magic wand he is just another mediocre come-forward fighter.
He may also entertain thoughts of how he would fare against Cotto, who dominated him very thoroughly throughout the bout. besides, consider how pissed Cotto is at him for derailing his career, and how hard he is training.
No doubt about it, Cotto will be coming to ravage his soul, to squeeze every drop of it out of him, in exacting revenge over the great injustice he had suffered at the Mexican’s hands.
There is something so Hollywood about this showdown, and its preceding history. The biggest drama is not in Margarito’s betrayal of the sport, and not in Cotto’s downward slide from the ranks of the best. it is not even about the good guy vs. the bad; although certainly the two figures couldn’t be represent more polar opposites of each other.
It is about a rise of, to put it very dramatically, an angel and a demon, locked inside of the same damp cellar of obscurity. Inch by inch, they are clawing their way back to the top, fighting for their own causes, hungry for redemption.
Will it be a little too late?
Are they so past the prime that no chance for them exists to make it to the very top?
That is quite possible. but you and I, my friend – we want it to be different, right?