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Predictions For Boxing’s “Night Of Rematches” Part 2

Left: Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Right: Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko.

Alright, yesterday I gave my prediction for the other major boxing contest being staged this evening, Margarito-Cotto II; so I feel it’s only fitting I take the time to do the same for Mares-Agbeko II as well.

Intended to serve as the finale of Showtime’s 4-man Bantamweight Tournament, Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko’s initial clash this past August was a hard fought and thrilling match-up that was unfortunately mired by some of the poorest officiating in recent memory.

Throughout the entirety of the fight, Mares, with his “shotgun” style of flurrying and body punching, landed and ungodly number of flagrant low blows on Agbeko.

Agbeko: "My boys!" ~ Direct quote.

It should be noted, that Mares was repeatedly warned, and eventually penalized for low blows in his previous bout, against Vic Darchinyan, a fight in which he was also “gifted” a knockdown.

Despite the number of these fouls accumulating quite comfortably into the double digits, referee Russell Mora saw fit to warn Mares for hitting low only a few times in the fight, never once threatening to take a point away, let alone actually doing it.

Worse yet, Mora repeatedly scolded Agbeko for pushing Mares’ head down, which is something he was in fact doing, but nowhere near as critical offense as what Mares was doing.

Mora also saw fit to award Mares 2 knockdowns of debatable legitimacy.

The first down easily could’ve gone either way, as Agbeko tripped and was hit with a punch on his way down, but the second was a flagrant low blow ruled as a knockdown via a bodyshot:

It’s impossible to say whether boxing’s long history of corruption reared it’s ugly head that night in Las Vegas, but despite all the controversy, the fight still managed to impress.

Mares took the lead early, throwing in volume and using his speed and pressure (and low blows) to smother Agbeko.

Despite the torrent of punches coming his way, Agbeko’s stellar head movement and defense allowed him avoid a great deal of Mares’ punches, however the sheer number of them being thrown led to Mares taking most of the rounds on sheer volume.

Even so, Agbeko’s accurate punching, in particular his piercing jab and overhand right, allowed him to capitalize on Mares somewhat porous defense, leading to him hurting Mares on at least one occasion while staying competitive throughout.

While the low-blows made it difficult to judge the fight fairly, or even look upon it as a legitimate contest, at the end of the night I felt Mares won on points, though the rounds Agbeko took were won far more decisively due to his cleaner and more effective punching.

Coming into the rematch this evening, I feel Mares likely has the advantage due the point earning nature of his high volume style, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Agbeko, the superior boxer; is able to pick him apart due to lessons learned from their previous fight.

Agbeko only has one other rematch on his record, a back to back series of fights with Yonnhy Perez, and despite losing the first match fairly decisively, in the return bout he came back and won by nearly as wide a margin as he lost previously.

I have no idea what Perez and Agbeko are doing in this photo, but it's fuckin' hilarious.

While I don’t discount Mares’ abilities as a fighter, his style heavily favors guts and volume, resulting in him taking a lot of punishment, but otherwise winning rounds on sheer busyness.

Agbeko on the other hand, strikes me as much more multi-dimensional fighter, one that can box, brawl, and assume a defensive posture with pretty much the same level of comfort.

Don’t get me wrong, putting aside the fouling and the false knockdown or 2, in my mind Mares still did enough to win the first fight, or at least earn a draw, however he did so while eating a lot of heavy punches and gassing out in the last several rounds.

Taking into consideration the fact that Agbeko was being socked in the sack all night, and yet still managed to give Mares a run for his money, I’d say Agbeko’s chances of victory in the rematch are pretty good.

Then again, Agbeko entered into the first fight somewhat overweight, which at Bantamweight and 31 years of age, is usually a sign he had trouble making weight.

It really sucks to have to bring facts like this into consideration, but any time you have a fighter failing to make weight at this level of the game, it’s hard not to think it’s going to effect his performance.

I’ve heard that both fighters made weight quite comfortably this time around, so hopefully that’s the case, but if the fight goes down and Agbeko looks like shit, I know what I’m probably going to blame it on…

That being said, in case you couldn’t tell by know, I’ll be rooting for Agbeko!

My official prediction is that of Agbeko winning by a split decision, though I won’t at all be surprised if Mares ekes out of a unanimous decision due to his judge friendly style.

Besides, if his previous fights in this tournament are any indication, it would appear “someone” of considerable import wants him to win…

Agbeko, SD 12.

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Predictions For Boxing’s “Night Of Rematches” Part 1

Left: Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Right: Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko.

They’ve been a long time coming, but tomorrow night we’ll finally get to see the (hopefully) legitimate rematches for 2 of the most controversial boxing contests of recent history.

Said rematches are of the course the re-pairing of Jr. Middleweights Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, and Bantamweights Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko.

While Margarito-Cotto II is easily the more dramatic of the 2 conflicts, and will likely contain the most fireworks, rest assured, both contests are almost guaranteed to produce entertaining results for as long as they last.

That being said, given the controversial nature of the original bouts that gave way to tomorrow rematches, let’s take a minute to examine the nature of said controversies, starting today with Margarito-Cotto.

Pictured: Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito mix it up on the inside.

Back in 2008, Margarito-Cotto I (it’s traditional to place the winner’s name first, even if it’s harder on the tongue) represented a fantasy pairing between 2 fighters on the precipice of fame and glory, as well as at the top of the Welterweight division.

That the 2 of them hailed from Mexico and Puerto Rico respectively, 2 countries/territories that have been engaged in an ongoing boxing rivalry pretty much since the beginning of time; was merely icing on the cake.

The ensuing “Battle” (the promotional name of the fight) did not disappoint.

Both fighters, possessed of pressuring styles, laid into one another from the early goings, with Cotto’s scoring potent combinations throughout most of the early rounds.

Unfortunately however, Cotto failed to take into account Margarito’s Bionic Mexican chin, resulting in him overextending his offense and exposing him to his opponent’s swarming, nearly 100 punch per round assault.

Despite winning virtually every round beforehand, Cotto was stunned by an overhand right in the 6th, and following the tumultuous final seconds in the round, it was clear Cotto was hurt and essentially locked in survival mode.

From then on in the fight, Cotto was battered and bashed from corner to corner, struggling to stay on his feet, while only occasionally displaying even the slightest glimmer of spirit or offensive instincts.

In round 11, the fight was waved off as Cotto went down twice, both times apparently of his own volition.

Still get chills just lookin' at it...

That final image, of Cotto going down on one knee as Margarito charged in at him, is both a haunting and telling image that will likely stick with me forever.

Margarito had broken Cotto as no other fighter before him had done, quite literally by beating him into submission.

Just 6 short months after this potentially career-defining victory, Antonio Margarito would find himself knocked out for the first time in his career by Shane Mosley, and stripped of his boxing license due to the discovery of an illegal plaster-like material tucked in his handwrap.

Pictured: The actual evidence recovered from the dressing room that night.

To this day, his trainer, Javier Capetillo remains disallowed from serving as a second in professional boxing, while Margarito has since been re-licensed to fight in several states as of mid-2010, most likely due to the influence of Bob Arum.

Truly, it is hard to picture any other fighter, under any other promoter, that would be capable of regaining their license, let alone in the state of New York, following such a scandal.

Both Margarito and Capetillo have denied using the “loaded” wraps in any of their previous fights, though speculation on this matter has effectively cast a shadow over the entirety of his career.

Since fighting one another, both Cotto and Margarito have put a dangerous amount of miles on their respective odometers, with tough losses to Manny Pacquiao being perhaps the most noteworthy contribution to their mutual wear and tear.

While Cotto has indeed showed signs of slowing, as well as increased tendency to cut and swell since the Margarito fight, oddly enough it’s the iron-chinned Margarito who may been the more shopworn of the 2 entering into their rematch.

During his bout with Pacquiao, Margarito ate nearly 500 punches over 12 absolutely brutal rounds, resulting in a broken orbital bone beneath his right eye.

Supposedly the bone has since healed and/or been repaired, however it’s also worth noting that Margarito underwent cataract surgery on his eye as well, making this the first time he’ll be fighting since having the artificial lens installed.

Note the glassiness of the right eye (left on the screen). If you ask me his entire goddamn facial structure got rearranged after what Pacquiao did to him.

Common sense dictates that Margarito’s performance will be effected by the damage to and surgery of his eye, however he has been medically cleared to fight, so I wouldn’t expect it to factor in too much.

Even so, an odd detail such as this is not worth overlooking, so until the bell rings tomorrow night, it’ll remain a major question mark as to the outcome of the fight.

Neither man is likely to ever be as good as they were back in 2008, however both men obviously bear genuine animosity towards one another given the bloody and controversial nature of their first encounter.

It’s more than likely that this bout was put together, not just because of the grudge match appeal of the affair, but also because both fighters are likely faded to the point of only being competitive to each other.

Win or lose, I’d expect to see both fighters emerge from this rematch as gatekeepers of the Jr. Middleweight division due to the relative youth and ability of most of the talent at that weight.

In that sense, it’s fair to assume that both men will be entering the ring tomorrow night, whether it be in the name of redemption or revenge, just a little bit more focused, and a little bit more intent on caving their opponent’s face in than they seemed in their most recent fights.

The key in this fight, at least from my perspective, is the weight.

Their original 2008 bout was staged at 147, however tomorrow night’s rematch will be fought at a catchweight of 153.

The Cotto camp fought tooth and nail to secure that -1 pound catchweight, and it’s pretty obvious as to why:

Margarito is naturally the bigger man.

Pictured: The weigh-in for the first fight. Hard to believe they're in the same weight class...

At 5’11”, Margarito was huge for a Welterweight, while the stout 5’7″ Cotto was borderline below-average.

Cotto has long seemed like a man without a weight class in my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s my boy and he always will be, but his height and body type have made him unsuited for virtually every weight class he’s visited.

At 140 he was weight drained and would get knocked down too often.

At 147 he seemed comfortable, but when placed next to the Margaritos, Paul Williams, and Kermit Cintrons of the division, he seemed massively outsized.

At 154 he’s functional, however given the difficulty he showed in dispatching Yuri Foreman and Ricardo Mayorga, it’s doubtful his punches have the same mustard they had on them at 147.

Margarito on the otherhand, given his lanky frame and height, was likely weight drained at 147, meaning he’ll likely be stronger and even less likely to fatigue at 154.

If I’ve fought a guy that’s able to take 500 punches a night, and throw over 1,000 in the process, “stronger” is not a word I want the man to describe himself with the second time I step into the ring with him.

As much as I hate to admit it, 3 years ago a plodding, one-dimensional, weight drained Bionic Mexican pounded my boy Miguel Cotto into submission.

Putting aside the possibility of loaded wraps, as well as the potential of the artificial lens newly installed in his right eye fucking with his performance, I’m willing to bet that same plodding, one-dimensional Bionic Mexican has it in him to do it again.

Both guys are pressure fighters, however Margarito’s superior chin, stamina, and punch output saw him get the better of Cotto their first time out.

As has recently been confirmed yet again by Pacquiao-Marquez III, once a guy gets your number, he very rarely loses it.

In that sense, while I ultimately will be rooting for Cotto, I honestly think that Margarito; once again, provided his eye doesn’t play into things, will eke out another hard fought win over the Puerto Rican, likely through a late round KO or UD.

Margarito KO 8.

Check Back Tomorrow For The Next Round Of Predictions!

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