Margarito next for Cotto?
Cotto's mask of vengeance
Margarito next: Another bad blood battle for calm, cool Cotto likely for July
Story and photos by Chris Cozzone
If there’s ever been a stare colder than the one given Ricardo Mayorga at the many pre-fight events this last week, it was the one given Antonio Margarito by Miguel Cotto at last night’s post-fight press conference.
After making Mayorga eat his words in a near-distance fight, last night at the MGM Grand, forcing the profanity-spewing Nicaraguan into, both, a 12th round and career retirement, Cotto is likely to go into a July rematch with the man who may or not have beaten him down with wraps of stone in 2008.
Cotto was given but a few moments to enjoy his victory and answer a question or two about the Mayorga fight, when his promoter, Bob Arum, interrupted a short-lived bask of glory to announce Margarito, who just “happened” to be in the press room.
“Let’s bring him up,” said Arum. Margarito approached the podium and offered his hand to Cotto, who turned away after a glare that, by comparison, made his stares at Mayorga appear almost affectionate.
“I came to enjoy the fight,” Margarito explained his “coincidental” appearance in Vegas. “But if the opportunity comes up to fight Cotto, that’s what I’m here for.”
“We have to negotiate details,” Arum said, at first, following up by announcing a likely July date in either New Jersey or Las Vegas.
As usual, Cotto was stone-faced, telling the press that he was open to the rematch.
“It’s not up to me,” he said. “That’s why I have a promoter. I follow what he decides.”
Mayorga’s promoter, Don King, bellowed with laughter when Arum called for Margarito to crash Cotto’s victory party.
“He just ‘happened’ to have Margarito here,” King chuckled loudly. “Understandably so . . . I don’t want to disrupt Bob’s plans, but let’s bring back boxing – I got someone who will take on everybody and anyone . . . .”
With Mayorga out of the picture, King made a half-hearted attempt to throw out a title unification between Cotto and his fighter, IBF 154-pound beltholder Cornelius “K9” Bundrage, who was seen in the press room before first bell handing out promotional flyers and calling out fellow champs in his division.
When Arum – and the rest of the media – made a collective who-cares shrug, or its equivalent, King backed off, explaining how Mayorga had dislocated his thumb and would not be joining the presser.
Cotto had barely touched on his victory over Mayorga before Margarito showed up, but summed it all up with his opening statement:
“The fight was amazing and the ending was beautiful.”
Cotto said he was in control for the fight’s duration, but gave Mayorga his props for his durability.
“It was a tough fight but we knew he was going to be durable,” said Cotto. “I knew he was going to take a lot of punches but I guess he felt he couldn’t continue.”
Cotto said he was never hurt, though enduring endless rabbit punches by the free-swinging Nicaraguan.
“He hit me with hard punches, but I was always on my feet,” said Cotto. “The whole fight was perfect.”
Trainer Emanuel Steward also expressed his satisfaction.
“Mayorga was much, much tougher and more conditioned than I imagined,” he said. “But Miguel operated behind the jab and never did get into the mind games. The last round, I told him to go forward – Mayorga was giving him problems when he was backing up.”
In a rematch with Margarito, Steward said, “It will be a tough fight but Miguel has to fight an intelligent fight and force Margarito to back up.”
Wolak, Vazquez, Zbikowski
Yuri Foreman, who quit on his stool after a six-round battering was a no-show at the presser, but his conqueror, contender Pawel Wolak, despite his swollen mug, was all grins.
“The plan was to get in on him and hit him everywhere – the head, the arms, the body,” said Wolak. “This is how I fight. I just attack. There’s really nothing pretty about me. I’m going to eventually get to you – it’s only a matter of time.”
. . . .
IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez, mistakenly introduced as “Miguel Valdez” had about two seconds at the podium before he was whisked away, Cotto making his entrance.
Vazquez had no opportunity to talk about his victory over Lenny Zappavigna, but said he hoped he would be given the opportunity to fight the likes of Humberto Soto, Brandon Rios and Juan Manuel Marquez.
. . . .
Baltimore Ravens safety Tommy Zbikowski, who KO’d Richard Bryant in less than a round, told the media, “With the football strike, looks like I’m going to be a full-time boxer.”
Comparing the two sports, “Tommy Z” said, “Football is fun to play, but there’s nothing like fight night.”
Zbikowski will fight again on March 26 in Atlantic City.