Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito Evaluation

I had a lot of fun last night watching the fight at the bar.

Good friends, rowdy atmosphere, and the guilty pleasure of watching a bunch of meat-head douchebags that looked straight out of the fuckin’ Jersey Shore squirm as their boy “Tony” Margarito died by a thousand cuts.

*Sigh* It’s the little things in life that matter most sometimes…

Regardless of my contempt for all things douchy and meat-headed, I figured I would take the time to share my feelings on some of the fights on the Manny Pacquiao Vs. Antonio Margarito PPV.

I missed the Brandon Rios fight, so I’m not at liberty to comment on that one, however I will say this about the young Mexican:

He’s a rugged and talented fighter that definitely earned my notice with his crushing victory over Anthony Peterson, however the public persona he’s created for himself via his appearances HBO’s 24/7 are definitely not gonna’ earn him any fans.

Seriously man, he came across as oafish and needlessly “street.”

We know you’re tough man, we’ve seen you fight.

Just do us all a favor and let your fists do the talking instead of your mouth next time.

Moving on, I was thoroughly disappointed in Gabriel Rigondeaux’s performance against Ricardo Cordoba.

Perhaps it’s just the hype that Cuban fighters have been getting ever since Yuriorkis Gamboa started fighting in the ‘states regularly, but I expected a lot more from Rigondeaux.

His amateur accolades, recent pair of utterly devastating one-punch body shot knockouts, combined with his built in Pernell Whitaker/Wilfred Benitez-esque anti-punch radar led me to believe that he’d make his HBO debut count for something.

As fate would have it though, Rigondeaux apparently switched off his radar (or broke it), and caught a whiff of something he didn’t like about Cordoba, and thusly decided to wear his dance shoes for most of the fight.

The real surprise for me, was that Rigondeaux looked pretty lousy during the feeling out portion of the fight.

Despite the dramatic knockouts in his young pro career, Rigondeaux is not known among boxing circles for his punching power.

From what I’ve seen, and read, he’s a pure counter puncher that hurts his opponents by exploiting their missteps, not by pounding them with full force shots.

I don’t know if it was the pressure from the crowd, or maybe Cordoba himself; but Rigondeaux’s gameplan from the start seemed to be that of:

Hang back, slip shots, and then charge in with overhand haymakers.

Though it sounds exciting on paper, it doesn’t exactly thrill the audience when not a single one of said haymakers actually lands during the fight.

There were a pair of knockdowns in the fight, one for each man, with Rigondeaux taking a flash down at the hands of a jab to the nose, and Cordoba taking a full 8 count from a nasty body shot.

Kudos to him for getting up from that, can’t imagine how difficult that must’ve been.

While I’m on the subject, kudos to Ricardo Cordoba in general.

Despite a sloppy start, Cordoba skillfully made adjustments to his game, tucking in his elbows tighter after the down, and pressuring with the jab throughout the remainder of the fight.

Though I don’t doubt that he lost the fight, as in my opinion Rigondeaux scored just enough, and was just slippery enough to outpoint him; Cordoba showed an unerring tenacity that will likely score him some big victories in the future.

The man has a serious resume of losses to stellar competition, which will no doubt serve to either make him a gatekeeper for the up and comers, or a thoroughly avoided fighter.

In either case, I was impressed, and hope to seem him get a win next time.

Moving on, the next fight on the undercard was the truly bizarre, and utterly ridiculous contest between Philadelphian prospect Mike Jones, and the consistently tough to handle Jesus Soto Karass.

In short, the entirety of this fight’s story stemmed from a goofy, and for lack of a better term; stupid, course of action that Mike Jones decided to take after scoring a damaging series of punches on Soto Karass.

Make no mistake, Soto Karass was rocked pretty good in that second round.

He got caught solid, and stumbled to the ropes, and probably would have gone down had Mike Jones the slightest idea how to hang back and aim his shots.

Instead, we the the audience sat in shock, our mouths agape in silent incredulity as the Herculean form of Mike Jones proceeded to tuck his chin to his collar bone, clench his eyes shut, and whirl his arms about in a looping, windmill motion over and over and over again while making a whining sound akin to a female tennis player in the pre-Williams sister’s era of the sport.

To be fair, Jone’s shots landed just about everywhere on Soto Karass’ body.

On his arms.

On his ears.

On top of his head.

Hell, I’m a few landed in, y’know, vital locations, but I could be wrong.

Pretty sure one of the judges got clocked pretty good too.

This went on for probably a minute and a half.

During that time, as he ducked and squirmed about, gradually getting his legs back under himself; I’d imagine Soto Karass must have thought to himself:

“Is this guy fuckin’ serious!?  Oh well, may as well get comfortable…”

Well, turns out Big Mike was dead serious, ’cause he put everything he had into that amateurish display of 3rd grade schoolyard non-pugilism.

And do you know what he got for it boys and girls?

He burnt every ounce of stamina he had in the first 6 minutes of a 10 round fight.

For the remainder of the fight, Jones would stumble around, a rubbery and fatigued mess.

Despite this, he landed hard shots throughout the fight, and managed to skirt away from danger whenever Soto Karass would start building momentum.

Well, most of the time anyway…

Personally, despite punch stats that had Jones way ahead of Soto-Karass, (this was a surprise to me) I actually had Soto Karass beating him via pressure, consistency, and sheer activity.

Put it this way:

My eyes told me Soto Karass won, but if the numbers are indeed legit, then I’d concede that Jones escaped with a narrow decision.

With that ugliness (or is that silliness?) behind us, finally; we get to the main event:

Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito.

This was an amazing experience to see live, surrounded by Pacquiao fans (and a handful of douchebags…).

While every punch the Filipino landed was met with raucous applause, in between it all I found myself clenching my fists and holding my breath every time Margarito got his engine going.

It was an immensely tense and dramatic event, and I’m glad I got to see it live.

That being said, how was the fight?

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, Pacquiao won virtually every round to win a unanimous decision, however it was by no means an easy victory.

On the contrary, this fight showed me a few sides to Pacquiao that I can honestly say I’ve never seen before.

In the first round, Margarito came out throwing nothing but jabs.

My guess is he was trying to set up a straight right hand, but he never really got around to it.

In either case, those jabs, however basic and lazy they may have been, actually landed with alarming regularity in that first round.

That surprised me.

What also surprised me, was that Pacquiao was flat-footed for most of the first half of the fight; something that in my eyes completely negates the advantages yielded by his unique fighting style.

The biggest surprise for me though, came in the 6th round when Margarito landed a tremendous body shot that actually had me thinking “knockout.”

Though my eyes and memories may be playing tricks on me, I swear I saw Manny almost take a knee before biting his lip and running away on rubber legs, and with noodles for arms for the remainder of the round.

Honestly, the look on Pacquiao’s face after he took that shot was one that will stick with me for awhile.

It was primal.

It was the face of a man faced with unfathomable pain, that looked upon the raidly encroaching beast before him and said:

“No.”

Though this moment was far and away Margarito’s finest moment in the fight, for at least 8 rounds he gave Pacquiao fits while eating his best shots.

Margarito never really “got going” as he typically does in the latter half of his fights, but he had his moments.

While his offense may have appeared ineffectual, and he may have won 1, maybe 2 round tops; every single time he landed anything, it sent a chill down your spine.

The disparity in size between the 2 fighters played a major role in this.

While Manny’s punching always looks good, no matter who he’s landing on, Margarito’s thudding shots, however ugly and infrequent, definitely seemed like the punches of a man 17 pounds larger.

In short, you got the sense that if Pacquiao tried to play cute and eat shots on purpose like he did during the Cotto fight, he probably would’ve gotten seriously hurt in this fight.

While I may be over-dramaticizing the events of the fight, the whole thing had an eerie, if not uneven sense of ebb and flow that reminded me a lot of the Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas fight.

Make no mistake though, Manny dominated the fight.

Don’t let anyone tell you he didn’t have to drag his ass through a mobile minefield to do it though.

One thing I’d like to point out, was how somber and worn out Manny seemed after the fight.

Come to think of it, there were several stretches in the fight, post 6th round body shot, where Manny actually seemed fatigued.

Can’t say I’ve ever seen the man slow down before, and I can’t say I liked it.

Seriously though, during the post-fight interview, the combination of Manny’s words and facial expression gave me the impression that he really just wanted to get out of there.

Usually he’s all smiles, and he’s so animated, but this time his mind really seemed to be in a different place.

My gut tells me he’s probably going to retire if he doesn’t get a date with Mayweather.

I suspect this fight was tougher than most seem to think, and he’s obviously got his congressional obligations to think about, so I guess it makes to leave while he’s on top.

Anyway, congrats to Manny for another history making victory, and all the best to Margarito, who I hope didn’t leave any years of his career, or life for that matter; in the ring at Cowboys Stadium.

Seriously man, Robert Garcia should check his words next time during the post-fight interviews.

There’s a time and a place for machismo, and the 11th round of a world title fight, with a battered, blinded and wholly ineffectual in your corner is not it.

That’s my opinion anyway.

Thanks for reading, see yah’ tomorrow!

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Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito Prediction

This is going to be what I like to call a “political” prediction.

That is to say, I’ll post my genuine, honest to God feelings as to what’s going to happen in the fight; but I’ll do so while mentioning some of the other potential outcomes.

In other words:

I’m hoping to make my prediction while covering my ass.

Anyway, here’s what I think:

Manny Pacquiao has demonstrated in his previous fights in the 140 lbs+ weight range, that his speed, tenacity, and chin have survived the climb in weight.

In Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao will be facing a naturally larger opponent, creating perhaps the largest size disparity he’ll have faced up to this point.

Despite the size issue, here are some of my thoughts Pacquiao as a fighter in general:

 

Manny Pacquiao, being awesome.

Manny’s greatest assets in my book, are his impeccable footwork; wherein he keeps his feet set and primed for leverage and power regardless of his positioning, his calculated exploitation of the obscure punching angles granted to him by his Southpaw stance, and his tendency to breach his opponent’s comfort zone for slightly longer stretches than most fighters are capable.

What I mean by that last statement, is that Pacquiao uses in-and-out tactics with his power punching; but with greater emphasis on the “in” than the “out.”

Most fighters dart in for a few shots, reset; and start from scratch.

Manny darts in for A SHIT TON of shots, changes angles, and comes in for some more; all while generally remaining (or at least feigning that he is) within his opponent’s perceivable punching range.

This results in many opponents chasing Manny in instances when he’s really not far enough away for such actions to be a viable option I.E. Ricky Hatton.

 

A little to the left Mr. Hatton. Jus' sayin'...

Lunging/charging fighter + Filipino with superior handspeed = Filipino with another KO notch on his belt.

In terms of punching angles, to my knowledge Manny’s best shots come straight down the pipe ala a Southpaw Kostya Tszyu, or swatting down from above with a right hook to the point of the chin.

In general, like any good middle range fighter, he aims to connect at the height of extension, though in his case he tends to aim for the chin with his hooks instead a broader target like the the temple or sinus.

 

Sorry to spam the Hatton pics, but you have no idea how happy I was to see his clinching ass flattened...

And you wonder why he’s been knockin’ fools out all these years?

Enough about Pacman, it’s time to show Antonio Margarito some respect:

 

Antonio Margarito, being awesome while pointing.

Antonio Margarito’s best assests are his granite chin, the tremendous volume of his punch output, and his capacity to continually build momentum throughout the fight.

The Tijuana Tornado has a chin, I don’t think anyone would argue that.

To date, Shane Mosley is the first and only fighter to knockout Antonio Margarito, in what was an incredibly one-sided affair.

Despite this, one has to take into consideration the fact that ‘ole Sugar Shane had to club the mighty Mexican across the jaw with overhand rights for nearly 8 rounds straight before his legs began to wobble.

 

9 rounds of THIS. Even Tony Zale would've gone down once or twice...

Make no mistake, water droplets can crack any rock given enough time, and in the case of Antonio Margarito, it took around 24 minutes of torrential downpour for it to finally happen.

The man was knocked out, yes; but in no way should that make anyone discount his ability to take punishment.

Moving on, Margarito is a very large Welterweight with average handspeed, but with a round-to-round punch output and well-varied repertoire of punches to make up for it.

He’s a classic example of the “Bionic Mexican (TM)”:

"I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle..."

A momentum and pressure based fighter with an incredible chin that loves to go to the body, but will gladly throw at whatever you show him in the meantime.

That being said, Margarito is an especially large example of the Bionic Mexican, particularly at his weight.

No doubt aware of this, Margarito stalks his opponents and keeps his gloves in their face all night until they mentally break down.

While said strategy often results in him eating a lot more shots than most trainers would like to see their fighters deal with, it also has the added benefit of causing fighters to fight on the move, forcing opponents with foowork issues to throw the majority of their punches from weak stances, thusly diminishing the power of their shots I.E. Miguel Cotto.

This was hard for me to watch. *Sniff* Cotto was my boy...

In terms of best punches, I have to say that I’ve always felt Antonio Margarito had a particularly nasty uppercut with both hands.

Given the length of his arms, I’d imagine it comes from below many fighters periphery, as well as reaches farther than most would expect; thusly resulting in a elusive and powerful punch that is hard to see coming.

"Hello, Golden Johnson." (2 minutes and 28 seconds later) "Goodbye, Golden Johnson."

Not only that, it should also be mentioned that said punch is usually backed up by about 20 other punches from several different angles.

Add it all up, and you have a whirlwind of solid shots from all angles, with one particularly nasty one hiding out somewhere just below.

Now then, let’s get to the prediction, shall we?:

Manny Pacquiao, UD or TKO round 6-8.

As with all of Manny Pacquiao’s fights since he started his journey North of 135 lbs, the only way I see him losing if the other guy gets to do “his thing.”

In the case of Ricky Hatton, I felt that if Ricky could only win if he could get his annoying ass “clinch and hit” game going.

He didn’t, and the result was one of the grandest blow-outs I can recall seeing on live TV.

 

Yay! No more clinching!

In the case of Miguel Cotto, I felt that if the stout Puerto Rican could stymie Pacman with his jab, and then play him into his left hook to the body, he might have a chance at taking the fight.

While Cotto managed to do both of these things, for about 10 seconds; he was ultimately unable to cope with the footwork and angles of Pacquiao, and was thusly hurt too early in the fight to build any sort of momentum.

 

... Not exactly the best way to win a fight there Mr. Cotto.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s all about the comfort zone with Pacquiao.

In short, he denies his opponents of ever acquiring one for themselves over the course of the fight.

Fighters like Juan Manuel Marquez, that have the benefit of a sturdy chin and the capacity and to adjust mid-fight, as well as the willingness to stand and trade in order to weather the storm, are exactly the types of fighters that have what it takes to handle Pacquiao.

The boxing equivalent to yelling, "Get the fuck out my face, son!"

Bear in mind I said “handle,” not “beat.”

In Margarito I see a fighter that has all of the traits I just mentioned, except for the ability to adjust.

While I would never go so far as to say that Antonio Margarito is a one-dimensional fighter, (he’s not) I don’t see him as having the sufficient level of science in his fighting to take a step back and say:

“This isn’t working.  Let’s start over next round.”

As such, I have a feeling that this fight could end up being another case of Pacquiao doing his thing, while the other never gets a chance to show what he’s got… While eating an ungodly amount of punches.

While that is my gut feeling and my official prediction for the Pacquiao\Margarito fight, there are a few alternate scenarios I feel are worth mentioning:

First off, Margarito’s chin, coupled with his punch output; could in fact put Pacquiao in his place.

Unlike Ricky Hatton, whose rigid head and neck posture caused his damage to pile up prematurely, Margarito, much like his fellow contemporary Bionic Mexican brother Librado Andrade, is amazingly skilled at rolling with the punches.

Uh... Good job?

While Pacquiao’s hardest shots come straight down the middle, thusly negating this maneuver; said technique could allow the Tijuana Tornado to power through some of Pacman’s more superficial punches, thereby allowing Margarito to land some shots of his own, thusly turning quick potshots into full-blown exchanges.

Make no mistake, if Margarito can exchange with Pacquiao as he’s attempting to step in or out of range, the momentum factor could make for some interesting later rounds.

Another aspect of the fight to take into consideration, is the fact that neither fighter is known to clinch very often, if at all; and yet both display a vulnerability to the technique.

In the case of Margarito, the clinch was instrumental in Shane Mosley’s victory over him, as it allowed him to smother his punches, as well as land heavy shots on the way in without the danger of follow-up shots to contend with.

While I have yet to witness anyone able to successfully clinch with Pacquiao with any sort of regularity, my gut tells me he too would have issues contending with it.

He’s a middle-range fighter with impeccable and commanding footwork, meaning if you take those factors away from him, he’s left with a crippled offense and the fatigue brought on by the constant grappling.

While I honestly don’t see it happening, if Margarito really wants to win, (and lose the respect of his fans in the process) it would be interesting seeing him stoop to the level of using the methods of his previous conqueror to take on Pacman.

Truth be told, while clinching is supposedly a form of cheating according to the official rules of the sport, for this fight it would make a lot of sense for Margarito to try.

He’s got the height and wingspan to take full advantage of it, and the disparity in size would most certainly wear on Pacquiao, regardless of how deep his stamina reserves may be.

Anyway, after a long day of work this is just about everything I can think of to say on the subject of Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito.

I probably won’t be seeing this one live, so make sure to check it out for me!

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Sugar Shane Mosley: The Odd Road to Redemption

Shane Mosley never beat Vernon Forrest.

Undefeated at that point in his career, Mosley had just moved up 2 whole weight classes, from Lightweight to Welterweight to face, and defeat; Oscar De La Hoya in the first super-fight in his career.

He was standing at the screen door of mainstream success, only to get splashed in the face by the dirty dishwater of an upset loss.

Said thrower of said dishwater, was one Vernon Forrest.

Vernon Forrest: Man, Boxer, Thrower of dirty water...

An amateur Gold Medalist, Forrest entered into his first bout with Mosley an undefeated and well-rounded fighter that, while quite accomplished up to that point, was regarded as a very well-rounded, but otherwise unexceptional fighter.

In the 2 contests between these 2 men, Forrest humbled and hurt Mosley as virtually no fighter had up to that point in his career.

Not only that, a little bit of research (*cough!* Wikipedia! *cough!*) shows that he also defeated Mosley in the Olympic trials.

That’s not to say Vernon Forrest was any sort of super talented uber-fighter, (he wasn’t) the simple fact of the matter was, he had Sugar Shane’s number.

They say styles make fights.

Well, sometimes it’s not so much the styles of the 2 fighters, as it is a simple matter of 1 man being exactly the wrong fighter for the other guy.

Eder Jofre had Fighting Harada:

Willie Pep had Sandy Saddler:

And Shane Mosley had Vernon Forrest:

…And to a lesser extent Winky Wright, but he doesn’t count on account of him being a problem for, let’s see, just about EVERYONE.

Well, maybe not Paul Williams...

Sugar Shane never beat Vernon Forrest, and now, through the mysterious machinations of the vile beast that is boxing promotion, Shane Mosley is hours away from facing the last man to fight, and defeat Forrest, Sergio Mora.

Yeah... He held that belt for about 5 minutes...

Personally, I don’t get it.

I don’t get how Sergio Mora has managed to somehow remain at all relevant in the sport of boxing after his stint on Sylvester Stallone’s ill-fated reality program, The Contender.

He’s fought a total of 8 times since winning The Contender, way back in 2005.

*GASP!* You mean he BEAT Peter Mandredo!? TWICE!? Sarcasm, folks: It's for dinner.

Unless you’re Sugar Ray Leonard and can repeatedly retire, unretire, and otherwise pick and choose whatever world champion at whatever weight class you want to fight at any given moment, simply because you’re SUGAR FUCKING RAY LEONARD, then there’s no way you should expect to find success in boxing by fighting 8 times in 5 years.

The point is, I fail to see the beauty of Sergio Mora’s soul, and thusly can’t help but feel that he’s being fed to Mosley for yet another comeback attempt.

Of course, everyone already knows that part.

The part of this that makes me feel weird, is what happens when you read into this particular match-up a little deeper than I think we’re supposed to.

Vernon Forrest is dead.

He was murdered on July 15th 2009 during an armed robbery attempt at a gas station.

Despite some recent downtime in his career due to reconstructive surgery, his talents had remained fairly well-preserved up until his death, such that it was difficult to ever discount his abilities despite his lack of marquee, “name;” value.

Sergio Mora beat Vernon Forrest, only to have the Light Middleweight title snatched away from him in their immediate rematch.

Pictured: Sergio Mora post-WBC Belt snatch-ery.

Forrest died a champion.

Now Sugar Shane “wants” a crack at Sergio Mora (I’m sure he had nothing to do with the match-making process).

Hmm, now that I think of it, Ricardo Mayorga also beat Vernon Forrest, TWICE.

In fact he flattened his ass like a opossum on a busy country road.

Wasn’t it just 2 years ago that Sugar Shane knocked out El Matador after a hard fought battle?

Pictured: A frustrating, awkward battle with a wonderful finish.

Come to think of it, isn’t it interesting that Sergio Mora and Ricardo Mayorga were the only fighters to ever defeat Vernon Forrest?

I smell someone’s lame attempt at earning their redemption via proxy.

Sort of a “I beat the men that beat the guy that beat me” thing.

It’s childish, but it happens all the time in boxing.

Think of it as the equivalent to the dick measuring contest in the sport.

No, you don’t get a funny pic for that one…

What the hell do you think Manny Pacquiao was doing when he fought Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton just after Floyd Mayweather had done the same?

Sending a message, that’s what.

In the case of Sugar Shane though, he’s got nothing to prove.

He’s, quite literally, fighting ghosts.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I don’t get it, but then again I’ve never had the shit kicked out of me in something that I’ve spent my entire life working at, twice, and then had to live the rest of my life with the knowledge that someone out there was “the better man.”

Just sayin’ is all…

Anyway, in regards to the fight, I wouldn’t think Mosley would have too much trouble with Sergio Mora.

Though Mora is long and rangy like Forrest, and has fast hands, he’s nowhere near as physical as he Forrest was, nor is he very good at putting his punches together in bunches, so I could definitely see Mosley looking like a young man against him, much like Forrest himself did in his second bout with Mora.

Bwahaha! In the FACE!

Then again, this fight is taking place at 154 lbs., a weight that Mosley has never looked good at.

Given his relatively advanced age, combined with the extra weight, I could also see him ending up looking like an old man, as he did in his previous bout with Mayweather.

Not gonna' lie: This was hard to watch.

Then again, that fight was against Mayweather, who can, and does, consistently make just about everyone look bad.

Bottom line:

Mosley is the selling point to the fight, thusly making him the favorite to win.

Though he’s quick, Mora doesn’t have a punch, and doesn’t really know how to use his attributes to his advantage, so I see this as a case where Mosley, the more talented fighter, will most likely win a fairly boring points victory via pot-shots and clinching.

What can I say, thank God for the promising undercard, which features Daniel Ponce de Leon, Victor Ortiz and Saul Alvarez.

I wouldn’t expect a lot of boxing science being put on display by any of the above listed fighters, (especially Ponce de Leon…) nor would I expect any sort of significant changes in the rankings as a result of their fights, but hey, when your main event bout is just about as irrelevant at 154 as humanly possible, one shouldn’t expect the undercard to mean anything for the lower weights either.

Anyway, I’ll probably be watching this one in a week or 2 when it’s free on HBO.

To all those who see this one live, have fun.

Take it easy in the afterlife Vernon Forrest.

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Haha, turns out every major fight on the undercard ended up a big knockout for the above mentioned fighters, but the main event turned out to be a fuckin’ SPLIT-DRAW.

Talk about your worst outcome imaginable…

Oh well, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

Sergio Mora is no fun to watch.

That’s right.  I blame him.

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Miguel Cotto: I Worry Some Times…

I worry about Miguel Cotto.

Ever since the first time I saw him fight, back in ’05 against Muhammad Abdullaev, he was supposed to be my guy in boxing.

He was supposed to be the fighter whose career I would fervently follow and admire, win or lose.

He wasn’t supposed to be the fighter I was always worrying about.

Miguel Cotto is, in many ways; the quintessential Puerto Rican fighter.

While his style consists of a combination of pressure-based infighting and skillful counter-punching, (backed by an impressive jab) everything he does has a “swagger” to it, a sense of theatricality and flash.

Unfortunately, it is this “swagger” that has always made me worry about Miguel Cotto.

Boxing is a sport that is, above all; won through skillful observation and analysis.

Occasionally, a fighter will come around that can overcome their opponents with pure athleticism and raw physicality I.E. Roy Jones Jr., but in most cases it is a fighter’s mind, timing and reflexes that win the day.

It is a sport wherein predictability and tendencies are a fighter’s worst enemy.

Miguel Cotto has quirks, and they aren’t the good kind.

Most of these quirks are fairly minor, and aren’t really an issue, such as his tendency to cross his legs or readjust his footing prior to stepping in.

The most visible of these quirks however, is one that seems to surface in-between exchanges, particularly when Cotto parries, or is caught by a right hand.

For whatever reason, Cotto has a tendency to tuck his chin against his left shoulder, drop his left arm to his waist, and cup his right glove against his temple.

Don't even try to tell me that's a shell defense...

My theory as to it’s existence, is that Cotto has a habit of “hanging on to” his perceptions and visualizations of the fight.

That is to say, the image in his head of what he should have done tends to linger and cause him to physically carry out the appropriate action just a moment later.

I swear I’m not a psyche student.  Scout’s honor.

In my eyes, it’s an immensely visible, and more importantly; exploitable tendency that I’ve always feared would lead to Cotto getting steamrolled by aggressive fighters with accurate punches and/or high workrates.

Oh wait, that happened already.

Twice.

Now don’t get me wrong, I started out this post being pro-Cotto, and I intend to end it that way too, but it goes without saying that Miguel Cotto is a fighter that, at this stage in his career; is all too vulnerable.

Just to remind everyone, he’s only lost twice.

The first time, against the bionic Mexican, Antonio Margarito; he may have been facing a man with loaded gloves.

The second time, against Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao; he was facing one of the best (active) fighters alive.

Neither loss should stand as a condemnation of Cotto’s standing as a fighter, however both losses were very hard to watch.

Not because he was pummeled so horribly, (he was) but because of the way he handled it.

Early in Miguel Cotto’s career, as a Junior Welterweight, he made his mark in the sport by being a “comeback kid” of sorts.

He was a dynamic and explosive fighter that had a reputation of being floored in his fights, only to get up and mount punishing offensives that would send his opponents packing.

After Cotto moved up in weight to Welterweight, a weight he claimed was healthier for him, his somewhat questionable chin seemed become less of an issue.

Personally, I feel that Cotto will never find an ideal weight class in boxing, (he’s too short for Junior Middleweight, and not all that big for a Welter) his chin will always be an iffy subject,  it just wasn’t until years later that we saw it tested again.

In his fight against the talented, but RETARDED, Zab Judah; Cotto took a monster left uppercut to the jaw during the first round that had him reeling.

He never went down, and he went on to win the fight by KO, (though Judah’s ADHD may have had more to do with that than anything else) but the point was, he was seriously hurt in that fight, and it showed.

Hell, he only punched Zab in the balls like, 30 times that night, sounds like the behavior of a hurt and/or pissed off fighter to me.

The next time we saw him seriously hurt, he was being swept away by the human tidal wave known as Antonio Margarito.

Pictured: The Bionic Mexican, Antonio Margarito

I remember the Cotto/Margarito fight vividly.

I was watching it with my parents, and my dad was rooting for Margarito, while I was backing the Puerto Rican.

My dad and I both knew Cotto was probably going to lose, but unlike my dad; I had a personal stake in the fight.

I wanted Cotto to win.

That’s what made it so hard when my guy looked the slickest he ever had in the first 5-6 rounds, only to slowly, and decisively; get clubbed to death against the corner post.

I remember my heart sinking the moment I saw Cotto take a knee without taking a punch.

It was like my generation’s “No Mas” moment.

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but it was important to me.

I wasn’t mad at Cotto for giving up, I was just blown away by the fact that actually got up and tried to fight.

It was stupid.

Pictured: An Idiot. It's Ricky Hatton, look him up.

When Arturo Gatti, or Jake LaMotta, or Tony Zale did their thing, nobody could stop them because they couldn’t stop themselves.

In their prime, you could beat any one of those guys over the head with a shovel, and somehow their mind, their body, no matter how fragmented and crippled; would find a way to stand in front of you and just keep swinging.

Hell, they used to say that Gatti was no good unless he was bleeding, God rest his soul.

Good thing he was usually swollen and/or bleeding on his way down the ramp.

Pictured: Arturo Gatti BEFORE the fight.

Seeing Miguel Cotto stand up and expect to turn the tide, after 4-5 rounds of awkwardly circling and half-heartedly jabbing at Antonio Margarito, was just plain sick.

When Miguel Cotto gets hurt, he makes mistakes.

When fighters make mistakes, they get hurt even worse.

Dissecting Miguel Cotto’s behavior while in “survival mode,” is painfully simple, even for a armchair quarterback like me.

Keep in mind, we’ve only really seen Cotto in this way on two occasions, though in this case, two times is twice too many.

Everything about his fighting reverts back to his quirks.

In short, his boxer’s mind sort of fizzles out, and all he’s left with are the comforts of his muscle memories.

Only problem is, most of his muscle memories are wrong.

He crosses his legs, he crouches too low, he retreats straight back, and he does that weird thing where he drops his hands, all while staying on his feet, but doing very little to keep himself in the fight.

Well, short of this anyway.

There are situations when the trainer should step in and stop the fight, and both of Miguel Cotto’s losses were those sort of situations.

Against the genetic freak, Manny Pacquiao, Cotto was in serious trouble for most of the fight.

In the early rounds, he did alright, landing the first real decisive blow of the fight, (a jab) and maintaining a degree of composure for the most part.

I was non-partisan for the Cotto/Pacquiao fight.

I remember watching the fight in a bar with some friends and saying to myself in the third round:

“Aw fuck, his feet are all over the place.  Pac-Man’s runnin’ circles around him.”

And it was true, Cotto was caught on far too many occasions, clumsily trying to reset his feet as he tends to do, while Pacquiao would dart in from the clever angles that have always made him dangerous.

This, is not one of those angles.

Let it be said also, that Cotto’s forehead centric guard is tailor made to make him eat straight left hands to the jaw.

Not a good thing when that’s your opponent’s money punch.

After Cotto went down, he was out of the fight.

Perhaps if he had better powers of recovery, or hadn’t been fighting as aggressive and accurate a puncher as Pacquaio, he may have been able to regain his senses and get back in the fight.

This was not the case however, and, while Cotto managed to keep Pac-Man at bay with the occasional stiff jab off the ropes every now and again, his legs spent the whole night fighting a losing battle against Pacquiao’s constant pressure.

It was truly unfortunate, for me anyway, to have had to watch Cotto stumble around, making all the same mistakes as he had in the latter rounds of the Margarito fight, for almost the whole of 12 rounds.

On a side note, I got a similar feeling of disgust watching Yuri Foreman hobble around on one leg for 3 rounds during Cotto’s most recent fight.

Mercante: "C'mon kid, suck it up." Kind of hard to do when YOU HAVE ONE LEG. Dumbass...

The Cotto/Pacquiao fight should have been stopped in the 9th round, or perhaps even sooner; end of story.

Maybe Cotto’s “survival mode” is just too good for his own safety.

Maybe he does just enough to keep the ref happy, and his opponent at bay in the hopes of hearing the final bell.

Maybe it’s his own damn fault he doesn’t just get knocked the fuck out and call it an early night.

I don’t know what to think of Miguel Cotto when he’s hurt, and all of the familiar quirks and bad habits boil to the surface.

I would never go so far as to say that Cotto’s days are numbered, and that his career is on the downward spiral, however that doesn’t keep me from worrying.

I’ll never stop watching all of Miguel Cotto’s fights, and he’ll never stop being my guy in boxing.

I am a Miguel Cotto fan, and by golly, I worry some times…

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