Alright, first thing that needs to be said about this second episode of Cotto Margarito is that it was not nearly as entertaining as the first episode. The drama and emotion were simply absent. Okay, I took that too far. They weren’t absent but they just didn’t have the impact of the first episode that’s for sure. The biggest drama came from the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) demanding that Antonio Margarito had to fly out to New York City from Mexico so that an NYSAC appointed doctor could examine his right eye. While I suppose I’m not really speaking for everyone who watched this but the whole thing just didn’t have the emotional pull for me because I already knew the outcome. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, several months ago this fight was announced and scheduled with the venue being Madison Square Garden. Two weeks ago the NYSAC announced that they weren’t going to give Margarito a boxing license until he had been examined by one of their approved doctors. This all took place last Monday and an announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon that the eye was fine and fight would be held in its originally scheduled (and already almost sold out) location. Being cleared to fight was more of an advantage for Cotto, however, because at Madison Square Garden he will be cheered for by an almost entirely Puerto Rican audience.
All that drama aside, HBO still did an excellent job of giving us more story leading up to the fight taking place next Saturday, December 3rd. Trainers have a tremendous effect on their fighters for obvious reasons and we learned a great deal about Miguel Cotto’s trainer. His name is Pedro Diaz and he has only been Cotto’s trainer for the last 7 weeks. Before Diaz, Miguel was using Emmanuel Stewart who is the current trainer of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, but earned his popularity by being the trainer of one of greatest welterweight/middleweights of all time, Tommy Hearns. Anyway, Cotto has ditched Stewart and moved on. There was no real mention of why, but in my limited knowledge of the sport of boxing I get the impression that Emmanuel Stewart isn’t as great as people seem to think. The style Klitschko uses is nothing like what Emmanuel Stewart teaches and I personally feel he just got lucky in having a good relationship with Tommy Hearns, but what do I know. Anyway, Diaz has a very unique story. Anyone who knows boxing can tell you that Cuba is above and beyond the most dominant country when it comes to the amateurs and therefore the Olympics. In the past 10 years, however, more Cubans have defected to become professional boxers here in the United States than any other decade before. Diaz’s story is very similar to all these boxers except that he is a trainer. There is only so far you can go in the amateurs, no matter what sport you are in, and everyone knows that. Diaz wanted to become a professional trainer so he defected from Cuba and came America and in doing so left behind a wife and two children. He says he has no regret in doing, and that he knows he will see his family again. I can’t even begin to understand how insanely difficult that has to be to anyone especially since there is no way he can even communicate with his family.
While the emotional level in this episode wasn’t quite what it was in episode one, it was hard not to sympathize with Miguel Cotto’s wife. She said in her interview that she had been through much suffering in the course of her life, but nothing even came close to what she felt the night of the first fight. HBO does a fantastic job of editing 24/7 and it is an obvious boost that these fights all take place on HBO PPV, so it is no problem for them to cut scenes from their first fight in with the interviews and other moments during the show. While Cotto’s wife was speaking we could see the actual footage of her sitting ringside crying her eyes out while Miguel’s face was a bloody mess. She was extremely distraught and understandably so. She states that she has a deep hatred of Antonio Margarito for playing with her husbands health by using the plaster, and Miguel himself feels the exact same way. I love the way they ended this episode with quotes from both who spoke only a few sentences but said not only what they predict will happen on Saturday, but also what they claim happened in the first fight. Margarito said “Fuck Cotto. If he think I use the plaster then it would feel like I used plaster…I told him he could wrap my hands himself if he wanted, I will still beat him.” Cotto’s quote had a lot more impact in my opinion though, by stating “I’m going to play with his right eye the way he played with plaster.” I’m looking forward to the final 24/7 that will premier right after the official weigh in the day before the fight, and in that write up I will give my prediction of the fight outcome, just in case anyone cares about my opinion…and mostly because I’ve always wanted to.