Perry frustrated with Margarito’s untimely Retirement

June 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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Big Bear Lake, CA (June 11, 2012) – When junior middleweight Abel “Truth Serum” Perry received word that he’d be facing Antonio Margarito May 26, the Colorado City native was confident that a victory over the former three-time welterweight champion would lead to the kind of opportunity he’s dreamed of since day one.

With many ups and downs during his 6 ½ year pro career, Perry, 18-5 (9 KO’s), won five straight bouts and believed that May 26 would be his sixth. This was until Margarito injured his Achilles 12 days before fight night and the bout was postponed until July.

“Everything was rescheduled for July 7 to my knowledge and I actually saw on the internet that the fight was going to take place on the 21st,” said Perry. “To be honest, I assumed he wasn’t training because he looked heavy in recent photos.”

He also viewed the delay as something that would only benefit him leading up to the fight of his life.

“I was actually grateful for the postponement because many of my fights came on short notice or without a proper training camp. For the Margarito bout, my manager Bobby Dobbs sent me to a training camp in Big Bear Lake, CA where I was working with Carson Jones and Gennady Golovkin. I was sparring world class guys and the extra time would only give me a bigger advantage. This was the perfect situation.”

To his unpleasant surprise, Margarito announced his retirement on June 8, canceling the fight altogether while leaving Perry without the career-changing opportunity.

“It left a sour taste in my mouth. I felt wronged because they changed the date multiple times and I committed so much time preparing for this fight, while I could’ve been looking for another fight. Everybody was writing me off and they expected Margarito to run right through me. If he’s retiring because he doesn’t have what it takes to fight top guys any longer and I’m supposedly a “safe opponent,” why not face me in a farewell fight?”

“This was a major letdown and Margarito handled this like anything but a professional,” stated Dobbs. “My fighter was in camp getting ready to pull off the upset, only for Margarito to cancel the bout after agreeing to reschedule it. I understand that he’s taken a ton of punishment during his career and didn’t want to fight again, but since this is the case, why even sign to face Abel?”

While Dobbs explores other suitable options, Perry will remain at Big Bear as a sparring partner for Jones and Golovkin.

Fans can interact with Abel by going to http://www.facebook.com/abelperry or HDboxing.net.

Margarito watches and waits as his brother-in law wins on a card full of blood, guts and controversy

May 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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By Norm Frauenheim (Ringside)


TUCSON – There was no comeback from Antonio Margarito. That will have to wait. But there was a split decision, a couple of split lips, controversy and a tentative comeback from a leading prospect whose fight with fragile hands continues.

Margarito could only watch Saturday night, first from a seat and then from a corner behind trainer Roberto Garcia at Casino Del Sol’s outdoor arena where the former welterweight champion is expected to fight on July 20 in his first bout since his dramatic loss to Miguel Cotto in December.

Margarito, who had been scheduled to fight Abel Perry Saturday night, was there for his brother-in-law, Hanzel Martinez (18-0, 15 KOs), who won a minor World Boxing Council bantamweight title when Felipe Rivas (13-10-1, 7 KOs) suddenly quit before the seventh.

Rivas, who agreed to the fight only two days before opening bell, scored a third-round knockdown and was leading on the scorecards when he abruptly checked out. Rivas said he decided he couldn’t continue because of the difference in weight.

“The pounds were just too much,’’ Rivas, a Mexican, said through an interpreter.

Rivas weighed in on Friday at 116.2 pounds. Martinez’ official weight was 118.

Rivas, whose compact punches left Martinez bleeding from the nose and lip, said he knew he was winning.

“But it wasn’t worth for me to continue in a fight like this,’’ said Rivas, who is from the border town of Nogales, about 60 miles south of Tucson.

Martinez’ corner believed that Rivas, penalized a point in the third for spitting his bloodied mouthpiece at Martinez, just ducked the inevitable. Martinez, who appeared to get stronger in the sixth, would have scored a knockout within the next two rounds, said Garcia and Sergio Diaz of ShowDown Promotions.

The in-laws, it turns out, fight the same way. Both Margarito and Martinez are notorious slow starters.

Diaz said he hopes to have Martinez back at Casino Del Sol on a card scheduled for July 20, when Margarito’s comeback has been re-scheduled for a second time. It was postponed the first time, from May 26 to July 7, because of a strain to an Achilles tendon suffered while training in Tijuana about a week after the fight with Perry was formally announced. It was re-scheduled again, this time to July 20, to accommodate TV Azteca, which has other bouts scheduled for July 7.

“Tony’s been running and is in good shape,’’ said Diaz, who said Perry is still Margarito’s opponent.

However, It’s not clear who will train Margarito, who was in Martinez’ dressing room and not immediately available for comment. Garcia was in Margarito’s corner for losses to Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. Some have urged Margarito to retire because of damage suffered to his right eye, which was surgically-repaired after the orbital bone was fractured by Pacquiao. Margarito said in March that he hopes for a shot at fellow Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September.

“He’s still working out in Tijuana,’’ Garcia said. “This is not just about me. He has lot of thinking to do.’’

In a main event put together after Margarito’s injury in early May, Mexican super-welterweight Jesus Soto Karass (25-7-3, 16 KOs) battled to a split decision over Said El Harrack (1-2-1, 4 KOs) of Henderson, Nev.

“It was tough fight,’’ said Soto Karass, who rocked El Harrack, a Moroccan, with uppercuts to the stomach. “That guy is a good fighter. My body assault won it for me.’’

Before Soto Karrass-El Harrack and the Martinez-Rivas controversy, Phoenix prospect Jose Benavidez Jr.’s tested his right wrist for the first time since undergoing surgery for a misplaced bone in January. Benavidez (15-0, 12 KOs) was cautious early, throwing only three right hands in the first round en route to a unanimous decision over Josh Sosa (10-3, 5 KOs). Benavidez relied on a powerful jab, head to body and body to head, throughout most of the next five rounds, until rocking Sosa with rights in the bout’s final moments.

There was no further pain in the right hand or wrist, Benavidez said. However, there was swelling and bruising on the middle knuckle of the left. Benavidez has had problems with both hands. The 20-year-old junior-welterweight will have a physician look at the left hand sometime within the next week, his dad-and-trainer, Jose Benavidez Sr. said.

Best of the undercard

Super-lightweight Abel Ramos (4-0, 3 KOs) of Arizona City displayed a prospect’s power with a second-round stoppage of Cassius Clay (0-4,), a Las Vegas fighter who has the legend’s original name and a photo of himself as an infant in the arms of the heavyweight champ better known as Muhammad Ali.

In the first, Ramos threw an overhand right that lifted Clay up and dropped him on to the canvas as though he had fallen off a one-meter diving board. At 1:54 of the second, Ramos threw another right. Clay spit out his mouthpiece in a gesture that needed no interpretation. He was finished.

The rest
· Lightweight Javier Garcia (8-2-1, 7 KOs), of trainer Robert Garcia’s gym in Oxnard, Calif., scored four knockdowns, forcing Juan Jaramillo (8-11-2, 3 KOs) of Salem, Ore., to quit after the fifth round.

· Lightweight Eric Flores (3-1-1, 1 KO) of Los Angeles scored a unanimous decision over Rudolfo Gamez (1-2) of Tucson.

· Lightweight Andrey Klimov (14-0, 7 KOs) stayed unbeaten with a unanimous decision over Alejandro Rodriguez (13-6, 6 KOs) of Mexico.

· Phoenix super-middleweight Andrew Hernandez (4-0-1 scored a unanimous decision over Katrell Strauss (2-2, 1 KO) of Denver.

Photo by Phil Soto / Top Rank

Margarito’s comeback postponed to July 7 because of a foot injury

May 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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By Norm Frauenheim


Antonio Margarito’s comeback against Abel Perry of Colorado Springs has been postponed from May 26 to July 7 at Casino Del Sol in Tucson because of a foot injury sustained Thursday while training in Tijuana, Gerry Truax of Showdown Promotions said.

Truax said Margarito hurt an Achilles tendon. Physicians told the three-time former welterweight champion to rest the tendon for three weeks, said Truax, who said he reserved Casino Del Sol for July 7 for Margarito’s first fight since a loss to Miguel Cotto in December in New York.

The May 26 card, a Top Rank and Showdown promotion, is still scheduled. A Top Rank spokesperson said a new main event for May 26 will be announced sometime next week.

Margarito, who was at a news conference Monday at Casino Del Sol, is hoping for a shot at fellow Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the World Boxing Council’s middleweight champion. He plans to fight Perry at 160 pounds.

Photo by Chris Farina / Top Rank

Margarito says he’d make a better fight with Chavez than Martinez would

April 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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By Norm Frauenheim

TUCSON – Antonio Margarito said Monday that a fight between him and fellow Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. would be more exciting than a speculated bout between Chavez and Argentina’s Sergio Martinez for the middleweight title.

“Between two Mexicans, I think it would be better,’’ Margarito said after his bout against Abel Perry on May 26 at Casino del Sol was formally announced during a news conference at the southern Arizona property.

Margarito wasn’t trying to eliminate Martinez as a potential fight for Chavez, the son of a Mexican legend.

“I’m not saying it shouldn’t be Maravilla,’’ Margarito said in a reference to Martinez’ nickname. “I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying that I’m here too.’’

The controversial Margarito emerged as a possibility for Chavez, since his management put together the May 26 bout, Margarito’s first since a loss in December to Miguel Cotto. Another factor fueling the speculation is that Top Rank represents both Margarito and Chavez, who faces Andy Lee on June 16 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Tex.

Margarito, a former welterweight champion, will fight Perry at middleweight, 160 pounds. Margarito predicts that he will feel stronger at the heavier weight. He said he was at 172 pounds Monday.

Margarito is training for the first time in Tijuana, his hometown. Javier Cortez is working as his trainer. Raul Robles is working as his conditioning coach. Trainer Robert Garcia, who was in his corner for loss to Manny Pacquiao and Cotto, is not expected to join him in Tijuana. However, Margarito co-manager Sergio Diaz said Garcia will in his corner at opening bell for Perry, a Colorado Springs fighter who has won his last five fights, four by stoppage.

Phoenix junior-welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. is also scheduled for the Casino Del Sol card. His opponent has yet to be determined.

Benavidez expects his right wrist to be fully recovered in time for his first fight since a victory in November on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s disputed decision over Juan Manuel Marquez. Benavidez underwent surgery on the wrist in late January.

He has returned to trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif., after working out for several weeks at Central Boxing in downtown Phoenix. He said he has resumed sparring.

“Went eight rounds twice over the last couple of days,’’ Benavidez said. “The wrist is getting better. In three or four, weeks it’ll be all the way back.’’

Margarito has a formal agreement to fight in Tucson on May 26

April 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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By Norm Frauenheim


Antonio Margarito’s management has an agreement for the former welterweight champion to fight on May 26 at Casino del Sol in Tucson, Gerry Truax of Showdown Promotions said Wednesday.

Talks with Casino del Sol have been underway since March 23 when 15 Rounds first reported the possibility of a Margarito fight in southern Arizona in his first bout since a bloody loss to Miguel Cotto last December. June 15 was an alternate date.

An opponent has yet to be determined, Truax said.

Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs) is trying to keep himself in line for a shot at Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who is expected to face middleweight champion Sergio Martinez if he beats Andy Lee on June 16 in El Paso, Tex.

The controversial Margarito is coming off successive loss to Cotto and Manny Pacquiao, who fractured the bone surrounding his right eye in 2010. Margarito underwent surgery on the eye before the loss to Cotto. Cotto targeted the eye in a dramatic rematch that ended after nine rounds on advice from the ringside physician, who said blood and swelling had begun to limit Margarito’s vision. Margarito insisted that he could have continued.

Margarito manager Sergio Diaz said the skin surrounding the eye is vulnerable to further cuts because of the many blows he has absorbed. The eye will continue to be a target. Diaz said Margarito, 34, will probably have to take on a more defensive style if he wants to extend his career.

Margarito fighting to stay in line for Chavez if Jr. doesn’t fight Martinez

March 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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Staying in line means staying busy and that’s all Antonio Margarito can do in a dogged, controversial pursuit of another big payday.

Margarito told 15Rounds.com in Tucson last week that he wants to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September. But speculation, fueled by Bob Arum’s comments to RingTV.com. has Chavez fighting Sergio Martinez instead. Nobody has to tell Margarito that Chavez-Martinez is the bigger fight. Nobody has to tell him that big fights don’t get made for more reasons than anybody wants to recount, either. Without mentioning the oh-so-familiar suspects, let’s just say that bouts between fighters represented by rival promoters these days qualify as a minor miracle.

If Arum, Chavez’ promoter, can’t make a deal with Martinez promoter Lou DiBella, it would be easy for him to stay in-house. Arum promotes Margarito, too. As the first alternate, Margarito gives Arum a marketable option, especially among Mexican and Mexican-American fans.

Many might still dislike Jr. for suspicions that he was allowed to sidestep the game’s bruising dues because of his legendary dad, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. Many more dislike Margarito for the hand-wrap scandal that will be with him for as long as those scars surrounding his surgically-repaired right-eye. But the complaints are free advertising. Margarito’s reputation is notorious. The Chavez rep is pampered. Mix the two and you’ve got a formula for strong sales and big television ratings.

That’s why Margarito intends to fight a tune-up on May 26 or June 15 in southern Arizona at Casino Del Sol, where his brother-in-law, super-flyweight Hanzel Martinez, won a first-round stoppage on March 23 on a ShoBox-televised card. In a sure sign of interest among Mexican and Mexican-American fans, TV Azteca plans to televise Margarito’s next bout. But against whom?

One of the names mentioned on March 23 was Jesus Gonzales, popular in Phoenix, his hometown.

“Absolutely,’’ Gonzales said when asked if he would be interested. “That would be great opportunity.’’

But Gonzales’ chances at the bout aren’t great. He is coming off a loss in Montreal to Adonis Stevenson, who knocked him out in the first round. According to people who represent Margarito and Gonzales, Gonzales has been medically cleared to fight since the devastating loss. His promoter had asked him to undergo an MRI for head trauma.

Gonzales also plans to go down in weight — from super middle (168 pounds) to middle (160). Margarito said on March 23 that he is training and weighs about 165 pounds. He wants to fight for the 160-pound title held by Chavez, the World Boxing Council champion who has reportedly been at least 180 at opening bell for his last few fights.

Neither the weight nor Gonzales’ stunning loss in his last outing, however, appears to be the issue. Gonzales’ southpaw stance against the orthodox Margarito might be. The left-handed Gonzales has a better chance at hitting Margarito’s right eye, which was badly-bloodied in his December loss to Miguel Cotto in a rematch stopped after the 10th round.

Repeated blows have degraded the skin around the eye, which was badly damaged in 2010 by Manny Pacquiao, who fractured the orbital bone. It quickly tears and ruptures into the bloody mess that led to the ringside physician in New York to call a halt to the fight against Cotto, despite Margarito’s protestations. Cotto targeted an eye that will be target for as long as Margarito continues to fight.

Margarito might have to become more defensive, says his manager, Sergio Diaz. At best, a change in style is problematic for an iron-chinned fighter known best for moving forward. Against a natural left-hander aiming for a problematic right eye, chances at pulling off that one get complicated, if not dangerous.

Dangerous enough to lose that valuable place in line for one more trip to the pay window.

Talks heat up for a Margarito fight in Arizona in May or June

March 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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By Norm Frauenheim


TUCSON, Ariz. – Talks are underway for Antonio Margarito to fight in Arizona in May or June, Margarito and his manager, Sergio Diaz, said Friday.

“We’re talking about May 26,’’ Margarito said through an interpreter after his brother-in-law, super-flyweight Hanzel Martinez, threw a powerful right hand for a first-round stoppage of Jose Miguel Tamayo at Casino Del Sol.

Margarito manager Sergio Diaz said June 15 also is under consideration, possibly at Casino Del Sol’s outdoor stadium. Friday night’s card was staged in one of the casino’s ballrooms.

“May or June is fine,’’ said Margarito, who last fought in December in a dramatic loss to Miguel Cotto in New York.

Margarito, whose surgically-repaired right eye was badly bloodied by Cotto, said he is pointing to a fight in September with World Boxing Council middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

Margarito said he currently training and his weight is at 165 pounds.

Margarito promises to fight on, but says he would retire if he lost to Chavez Jr.

February 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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By Norm Frauenheim


TUCSON — The long hair and large dark glasses were there. They identify Antonio Margarito wherever he goes these days. On Wednesday, he was in Tucson at a Casino Del Sol news conference for a March 23 ShoBox card promoted by his company, Showdown, and Top Rank.

That hair and those glasses almost have become a costume in Margarito’s role as one of boxing’s bad guys. I’m not sure it’s a part in the bloody theater that he ever wanted, or expected. But it’s there because of controversies as hard to heal as the battered skin around his right eye. He’s a target for well-aimed punches and pointed questions. Yet, he accepts it all with stubborn consistency and moves forward as he always has, in the ring and outside of it.

The bad-boy portrayal was belied for a few hours in Tucson by a patient, approachable personality who is as comfortable as ever in his own skin, despite the scars. He sat with fans, writers, security guards, waiters and anybody else seeking an autograph or an answer. The bad guy was just a regular guy, which I think has always been his real role since long-ago days when he entered the ring at an open-air mercado in Phoenix with an old-shower-curtain for a robe. He is as unassuming now as he was then. But that might not be enough in a dangerous business that often demands a star become his own boss by assuming control of what he sees and what surrounds him.

Believe what you want about the right eye damaged by Manny Pacquiao and bloodied by Miguel Cotto. Believe what you want about whether Margarito knew his gloves were loaded in the handwrap controversy that started before his loss to Shane Mosley. I’m not sure I do. The eye is hidden behind those glasses. Handwrap-gate is hidden in a cloud of allegation. But know this: Margarito has never changed his own story about any of it. Despite my skepticism, I admire him for that.

He arrived in Tucson with the same mindset he had when he left New York in November after his dramatic rematch to Cotto was stopped in the 10th by the ringside physician. Margarito continues to say that the doctor acted prematurely, because of the pre-fight controversy about whether New York would even license him. He doesn’t have any immediate plans to quit, despite mounting talk in Mexico and the U.S. that it’s time. Vision in the surgically-repaired right eye is good, he says, although weakened tissue around the eye is vulnerable to further cuts. He wants to fight fellow-Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., despite questions about whether the Mexico City-based World Boxing Council would sanction the bout. His future, he says, would be determined by the Chavez bout.

“People are opinionated and, sure, they are welcome to those opinions,’’ Margarito said in Spanish translated by Gerry Truax, Showdown’s Arizona promoter for a card featuring unbeaten super-featherweight Diego Magdaleno (21-0, 7 KOs) of Las Vegas in defense of his North American Boxing Federation title against Miguel Beltran Jr. (26-1, 17 KOs) of Mexico. “I still feel strong. I’d be a good fight for an up-and-coming contender such as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Chavez hasn’t fought anybody at my level. I think that’s a good fight for me.

“If he winds up beating me, then it’s time to retire.’’

No matter what the WBC decides or whether Sergio Martinez emerges as a more viable challenge for the young Chavez, Top Rank and Sergio Diaz of Showdown first want Margarito to fight a tune-up.

“Get a win,’’ Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler said.

A tune-up might restore some confidence and, more important, test the problematic eye. In a post-fight examination after the junior-middleweight loss to Cotto, Diaz said physicians determined that the vision is good. But the skin around it is not. Diaz said doctors recommend that Margarito ice it down before opening bell. He also said Margarito might have to adjust his ring style. Instead of the forward-moving machine with the indestructible chin, Margarito might have to become more defensive. He has to protect the eye from punches that will cut and unleash the carnage that will force another stoppage.

But that begs a question: Can Margarito change that style? I’m not sure he can any more than he can change what he has said about all of the many controversies that, fair or not, have become part of his portrayal. He is proud of his career and how he foresees his place in history.

“I am indebted for life to my fans,’’ he said when asked how he wants to be remembered. “I’m loved wherever I go. People remind me that I’m a three-time world champion. That’s how I expect to be remembered. For that and that I always gave everything for my fans. I never left anything in doubt.’’

Questions are still there. Always will be. But about Margarito’s consistency, there’s no doubt. No doubt, either, about a regular guy’s loyalty for regular fans.

AZ NOTES
During the Tucson news conference, Magdaleno, who will fight for the only the second time outside of Nevada in 22 bouts, calls Beltran “a brawler with a raging-bull mentality’’ Magdaleno hopes for a shot at a major title some time in 2012.

Phoenix super-middleweight Jesus Gonzales heads to Montreal on Feb. 13 for a tough bout on Feb. 18 against Adonis Stevenson at the Bell Centre. In the corner opposite of Gonzales, there will be Stevenson trainer Emanuel Steward, who once called Gonzales the potential star of the 2004 Olympic team. At the time, Steward was projected to be the U.S. coach. Before the Athens Games, however, Gonzales went pro and Steward withdrew as the American coach.

HBO SPORTS® PRESENTS THE EXCLUSIVE REPLAY MIGUEL COTTO VS. ANTONIO MARGARITO II SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10 at 9:45 p.m. ET / 6:45 p.m. PT

December 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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NEW YORK (December 5, 2011) — It’s a special edition of HBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® when HBO Sports presents MIGUEL COTTO VS. ANTONIO MARGARITO II, the exclusive replay of their super welterweight title showdown, this SATURDAY, DEC. 10 at 9:45 p.m. ET/ 6:45 p.m. PT on HBO. The HBO Sports team, which was ringside for the live event, calls all the action. The replay will be available in HDTV.

The second chapter of the heated Cotto-Margarito rivalry took place on Dec. 3 at New York’s Madison Square Garden and was carried live on HBO Pay-Per-View.

In addition to the exclusive replay, HBO will have its cameras ringside Saturday night for the live doubleheader telecast from Washington, D.C., featuring Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson in a 12-round title matchup.

® WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is a registered service mark of Home Box Office.

Cotto and Margarito, and a treatment of semi-satisfaction

December 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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By Bart Barry

The narrative of Cotto-Margarito II will say Miguel Cotto, inspired by tens of thousands of his countrymen within Madison Square Garden, gained a richly satisfying vengeance on Mexican Antonio Margarito in 2011, confirming everything he believed about Margarito’s criminality in their 2008 match and restoring Puerto Rican pride across the land. Ah, sweet revenge.

That narrative will have plenty of technical accuracies but will be, in its general fabric, something quite different from what happened. It will extirpate the anxious moments fans, and Cotto, endured through the match and sue posterity to change its semi-satisfying conclusion for what great imagery is conjured by: Cotto, TKO-10.

That was the official mark Saturday. After Margarito’s surgically repaired right eye swelled shut in the middle part of the fight, a ringside physician could abide no more of its closure before round 10 and waved the match off, one Cotto was winning by wide margins on all three official scorecards. Cotto was relieved and content. Margarito was defiant. It was a result whose satisfaction will grow with the years, one imagines, because right now it’s less than Cotto’s fans hoped for.

Before anyone rebuts that assertion, straining his voice to declare full satisfaction, he should ask himself: On Friday afternoon, if someone told me Margarito would be smiling and whooping at Cotto in Saturday’s final round, before giving an obstinate postfight interview and leaving the ring under his own power, would I have told that person “Completely satisfied in every way, thank you”?

How this fight is remembered, though, does tell us something about the way a known result affects subsequent reviews. For three years, knowing Cotto ultimately succumbed to Margarito in the 11th round of their first meeting, we have watched the precise combinations Cotto landed in that fight’s opening 15 minutes and told ourselves they were not effective as they appeared. Margarito walked through them; look, he’s nodding and smiling the whole way! And knowing the probability Margarito had hardening pads over his middle knuckles, we have also imagined Margarito’s every awkward right cross as ruinous to Cotto’s head and heart.

When we revisit Saturday’s rematch, we’ll play a similar trick on ourselves, admiring Cotto’s precise combinations, and forgetting the tension we felt as Cotto opened his eyes and bleeding mouth, wide, in the sixth round and hurriedly retreated the length of the canvas, post to post.

If the absence of a plaster-like substance on Margarito’s knuckles made a difference, its difference was not large as Cotto’s change in tactics. Though he never did manage to show Margarito a well-leveraged left hook to the body, not once in their 20 rounds together really, Cotto did do one thing much better in the rematch: He got on Margarito’s chest.

Margarito is a wild-swinging confusion of long limbs when he is comfortable and significantly less than that when he is not. Cotto’s trainer, Pedro Diaz, caught this while studying tapes of Margarito’s match with Shane Mosley and told Cotto to put his forehead under Margarito’s chin and push him backwards to the ropes – off of which Margarito fights worse than a novice. Cotto was able to lean on Margarito and endure the Mexican’s cuffing right hands, because without a running start Margarito doesn’t hit very hard at all.

Or maybe the knuckle pads were the difference. Ask someone who was at ringside.

At the risk of offending egalitarian sensibilities, sensibilities that tell an American his perspective is usually better than anyone else’s, it’s worth mentioning that a guy at ringside always has a better bead on a fight than a guy at home. There are elements to home viewing that are superior, yes – sometimes you’re even able to hear between-rounds corner instructions over network sales pitches – but you do not have the same feel for a fight that you would at ringside.

The punches sound different, with television microphones somehow flattening their acoustics and making them all equal. The crowd is an altered entity. From ringside, you are able to see the arena and all its moving parts in a panorama that, while noisy, lends you a deeper perspective on the event’s mood. The benefits of being in a press box are often overstated, but the benefits of being within 75 feet of gloved combat cannot be.

Does this mean every ringside scorecard is correct? No. There’s a herding element to ringside scoring – the way consensus-seekers fan out among press-row tables, telling you others’ scores before asking your own – that compromises what is later published. But when a ringside writer tells you his general sense of a result or crowd, give him the benefit of every doubt, no matter what you saw through television’s narrowing eye.

The ringside consensus seems to be that Saturday night was a joy for Puerto Rican fans who turned out to see Cotto gain vengeance. Is it possible a deep sense of relief is being misinterpreted as euphoria? It is. If Miguel Cotto didn’t think Antonio Margarito’s punches were nearly so hard this time as they were in their first fight, he did a hell of an impersonation of a guy who did.

But then, there is something about a larger man with a maniacal grin on his face and cornrows chasing after you that will always be unsettling – Margarito racingracngracing after Cotto, whooping, his feet a messwards back, his overright hand throwing, his heading bob a target, his up leftercut sailing.

There is something equally undoing, though, in Cotto’s cold precision, left hands followed by rights, all landing flush till victory.

So goes the seasoning of memories that shape a narrative hardening into fact.

Bart Barry can be reached at bart.barrys.email (at) gmail.com

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