WBA super welterweight champ Miguel Cotto scored a tenth round TKO over Antonio Margarito in a long-awaited grudge match before a sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In 2008, Margarito busted up Cotto's face with what were in all likelihood loaded gloves. This time it was Cotto who delivered the beating, utilizing movement and fast hands to land clean shots to Margarito's face and chin in each and every round. Cotto never hurt or discouraged Margarito, who pursued Cotto throughout the fight with a manic grin on his face, but he was able to gradually close Margarito's previously damaged right eye. The eye was cut in round three and swollen shut by round seven. The fight was almost stopped prior to round nine and then was stopped - amid much confusion - prior to round ten due to concern that Margarito could not see out of his right eye.
Margarito, who has embraced the bad guy role, wanted to continue and should have been allowed to continue. Cotto was satisfied with the win but the fact that Margarito was still on his feet at the end made it still feel somewhat incomplete.
Scoring: Through nine complete rounds, Cotto was ahead 89-82 on all three official scorecards.
Punch Stats: Total Punches: Cotto - 210 of 493 (43%); Margarito - 157 of 700 (22%). Total Jabs: Cotto - 62 of 200 (31%); Margarito - 26 of 306 (8%). Total Power Punches: Cotto - 148 of 293 (51%); Margarito - 131 of 394 (33%).
Cotto earned $5 million for the fight, while Margarito was paid $2.75 million.
Margarito should have been banned for life after being caught with loaded gloves prior to his fight with Shane Mosley. However, he sells tickets so he will continue to get licensed for as long as he wants to fight ... but he's done as an elite fighter.
Cotto is not what he used to be but he's still the man to beat at 154 pounds. Potential opponents at supper middleweight include Saul Alvarez, James Kirkland and Cornelius Bundrage, with Sergio Martinez (160), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (160) or even Floyd Mayweather Jr. (147) as less likely but bigger money options as well.
On the Undercard: WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios lost his title on the scales when he failed to make weight but still prevailed in the ring with an 11th round TKO of John Murray. Murray was tough and made it entertaining but got busted up by Rios' sustained attack. He was on the verge of being knocked out when referee Earl Brown jumped in to stop the fight.
Punch Stats: Total Punches: Rios - 371 of 1002 (37%); Murray - 298 of 921 (32%). Total Jabs: Rios - 74 of 334 (22%); Murray - 26 of 214 (12%). Total Power Punches: 297 of 668 (44%); Murray - 272 of 707 (38%).
In a rematch of a 2011 “Fight of the Year” candidate, welterweight Delvin Rodriguez scored a decisive ten round unanimous decision over Pawel Wolak. Their previous match resulted in a draw, but this time Rodriguez found the defensively-challenged Wolak even easier to hit and did so repeatedly in round after round. The good news for Wolak is that his face was not grotesquely swollen as it was in their first meeting. Scores were 100-90, 98-91 and 98-92, all for Rodriguez.
Punch Stats: Total Punches: Rodriguez - 257 of 734 (35%); Wolak - 167 of 742 (23%).