In what was to be a must see matchup between a couple of world class fighters representing their respective countries back in 2008 turned into not only a classic bout but a blood-boiling grudge match. Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29KOs), the pride of Puerto Rico took on the pressure based Mexican star Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27KOs) back in the summer of 2008. Cotto controlled most of the fight early with thudding combinations and quicker hands. Margarito ate the shots and applied an enormous amount of pressure that appeared to crumble Cotto's will in the 11th round when he scored a TKO.
What followed was a shock to the system of boxing. Margarito was caught using illegal hand wraps prior to his bout with Shane Mosley about 6 months after the Cotto fight. After getting demolished by Mosley, Margarito was suspended and his boxing license was taken away from him. Many people believe Margarito used these same hand wraps to defeat Cotto. Margarito has continued to deny the allegations.
Since then both men continue to forge their legacy through different paths. However these mentioned paths will cross once again on December 3rd. I had a chance to speak to both of them this week and here's what they had to say about Cotto vs. Margarito 2:
Antonio Margarito Interview
CraveOnline: How has this training camp been?
Antonio Margarito: Excellent.
CraveOnline: The eye injury suffered in the bout with Pacquaio made it tough for you to get licensed to fight in NYC. Has the topic of the licensing process been distracting to your preparation at all?
Antonio Margarito: No. Wasn't no problems at all. A few distractions. I had to fly in the middle of the night from Mexico City. I compensate those hours by training more than scheduled. According to them everything is fine. My eye is okay and now you know I got my license.
CraveOnline: Do you think by defeating Cotto for a second time will help you put to rest the hand wrap allegations that occurred during the first fight?
Antonio Margarito: Oh of course. I'm focused and I'm not distracted regarding the hand wraps you know. Cotto's been saying that. I'm concentrating and training hard to beat Cotto. I'm going to beat Cotto for a second time.
CraveOnline: What do you expect to be different this time around when you face Cotto?
Antonio Margarito: I don't think it will be much different. You know fighters like Cotto, like me – we don't change strategies. We are going to be the same. I'm going to be a little bit stronger and I'm going to put a lot more pressure this time.
CraveOnline: What did you think about Cotto's last performance against Ricardo Mayorga?
Antonio Margarito: He's not the same Cotto as before. This time with Mayorga he took his time. He didn't put on a lot of pressure. He waited for the opportunity to score a knockout and that's what he did. But nothing different. As a matter of fact he's slower than before.
CraveOnline: How have you and Garcia prepared to protect that right eye against Cotto?
Antonio Margarito: I feel confident in Robert Garcia, in my training. We got the strategy and I'm going to prove on what we trained and you guys will see it on Saturday.
CraveOnline: What will happen on December 3rd?
Antonio Margarito: Expect to see a different Tony. I'm going to show the whole world that I am not a criminal as Cotto says and mentions with those offensive words. I'm going to be the clean fighter I've been through my boxing career. I'm going to be a totally different fighter with more speed and a little more stamina. I'm going to show I've been clean and that's what I'm going to prove on Saturday.
Miguel Cotto Interview
CraveOnline: How long have you been waiting for this rematch?
Miguel Cotto: I've been thinking about this fight since I'm talking about since last summer because that was where the fight had some plans to happen.
CraveOnline: What do you think will be different this time facing Margarito?
Miguel Cotto: We have a good trainer who brings good and new things to our preparation. Everybody's going to see what Miguel Cotto has for this man on Saturday.
CraveOnline: Your Face-off on HBO with him was incredibly intense. What did you think of Margarito's reaction when you showed him evidence of his hands being wrapped?
Miguel Cotto: He didn't ask any questions. In this moment and I don't think in his life he's ever going to ask.
CraveOnline: You've recently changed trainers once again. When you were with Manny Steward for the brief time did he help you improve your style in any ways?
Miguel Cotto: Every trainer that comes to my team brings new things. They bring good things. This time Pedro is not an exception to that.
CraveOnline: Everyone saw the beating that Margarito took against Pacquaio. How much of the game plan is focused on targeting that right eye that was destroyed by Pacquaio?
Miguel Cotto: We're just going to use the things we worked on and prepared for this fight. If he brings a disadvantage with his eye I'm going to use it but I'm not focused on his eye.
CraveOnline: What will happen on December 3rd?
Miguel Cotto: You're going to see the same kind of fight you saw in 2008 but you're going to see a Miguel Cotto with new things to beat Margarito and finally a different ending. Miguel Cotto is going to be the winner.
Miguel Cotto will be taking on Antonio Margarito live on HBO PPV this Saturday from the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York City. No boxing fan can miss this one.