Sunday, July 27, 2008

Some fighters are just too strong for others to box

Antonio Margarito was simply too strong for Miguel Cotto to box or fight when they met on July 26, 2008. For the first four or five rounds, while he could sprint for most of the round, Cotto could pick his spots, flurry and get away from Margarito. But a fighter can only maintain that pace for so long. Eventually, he has to come up for air. The problem is, when he has a fighter like Margarito in front of him, he pays a price for trying to catch a breather.

Cotto was forced to let his hands go, or try to get distance between himself and Margarito. When he was fresh and letting his hands go, he was able to keep Margarito off him and occupied. However, not having the punch to deter Margarito, sapped his stamina. Being forced to either cut-loose, or try and get away takes a lot out of a fighter physically, and just as importantly, mentally too.

Once Cotto started to wind down, Margarito was met with less resistance as he plowed forward and worked Cotto's head and body. That was followed by Cotto accepting that he couldn't hold him off, therefor his next best thing was to try and get away from him so he couldn't be further worked over. The trouble with that was, with his stamina depleting, he couldn't get away fast enough. Obviously, a slow fighter can move faster going forward than a faster fighter can go back. Once Cotto couldn't fight Margarito off or escape his aggression, it was just a matter of time until he has nothing left to draw from mentally or physically. Adding to Cotto's problems were the fact that, Margarito is very unusual in that, in addition to being strong, he throws 100 punches per round. So his pressure is intensified by his work rate.

Miguel Cotto is a better boxer, faster of hand and foot, and capable of putting his punches together better than Antonio Margarito. He's also a bigger puncher. Yet he was stopped by him. And the reason for that is, Margarito is simply too strong for him physically, which translates into mentally as well as the fight progresses. Miguel Cotto fought the best he could versus Antonio Margarito. There's nothing anyone could've told him to do that would've made a difference in the outcome of the fight.

Bottom line: Some fighters are just too strong for others to box. If one need any proof of that, watch the replay of Antonio Margarito vs Miguel Cotto.

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At 8:14 PM, Blogger Eddie Goldman said...

Good points. It is interesting that strength, or at least boxing strength, is rarely discussed.

Margarito optimized his with an attack which largely dispensed with the jab and focused on landing power shots from all angles. He was setting the stage for his run in the later rounds by wrecking Cotto in the earlier rounds, even though Cotto won many of these.

Cotto is a very good boxer, but not enough of a slickster to outlast Margarito. And after Williams danced around him, Margarito has become more aggressive and more of a pressure fighter than even before.

It’s a welterweight world. So where’s Floyd now that most observers think that Margarito will flatten him? I don’t believe it would be that simple, but that, of course, depends upon Floyd’s physical and mental shape if or when he returns.

At 10:04 PM, Blogger Charles Farrell said...

A number of years ago, Frank wrote an incredible essay called "That Last One Percent." It was about Alexis Arguello's losses to Aaron Pryor and his decision to quit in their second fight. Frank suggested that there was no shame, after having exhausted every possible weapon at one's disposal, in giving up rather than risking one's health or even one's life.

I think Cotto used everything he had to beat Margarito and, in the end, came up empty. When he finally went down a second time (without being hit) and looked at the referee, he was signaling that he knew that he couldn't win the fight and that he might now be badly hurt. He didn't want that to happen and was silently requesting that the fight be stopped. I'm glad he made that decision, and I'm glad that his uncle knew what to do.

As Arguello said in his post-fight interview after the second Pryor bout, "I didn't want to die in the ring tonight."

It isn't a lack of courage that would cause a fighter to say that. The courage it takes to arrive at the place where you have to say it is very substantial.


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