Thursday, December 1, 2011

Images from New York: Tensions rise at the final Cotto-Margarito presser

source: Chris Robinson |

Earlier today in New York, the final press conference for this weekend’s rematch between Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto took place.

The bad blood between the two fighters has been well-documented since their first fight, a July 2008 scuffle in Las Vegas won by Margarito via 11th round TKO, and the animosity seemed to pour over during today’s presser.

In his first fight after defeating Cotto, a January 2009 stoppage loss to Shane Mosley, Margarito was found to have elements of plaster of paris in his hand wraps in the dressing room prior to the bout. Speculation soon ran that the Tijuana fighter may have been performing with tampered wraps in prior fights, with Cotto stepping forward during the lead-up to their rematch to state his belief that Margarito certainly had to have cheated.

Margarito has brushed off Cotto’s remarks endlessly, instead pointing the finger towards the Puerto Rican’s inability to hold up in their first encounter, a fight that saw Cotto start strong before being dropped twice late before folding in that fateful eleventh round.

Speaking at the dais during today’s presser, Margarito took another swipe at his foe, pointing to his 2009 altercation with his Uncle and then-trainer Evangelista Cotto, a fight that saw Miguel have a cement block thrown at him while Evangelista suffered minor injuries.

The scrap lead to Evangelista’s firing and Margarito had no qualms bringing the issue to the surface.

“Here comes the criminal. Open the door for the criminal,” Margarito stated. “I’ve been called a criminal by the man next to me. I don’t know why he calls me a criminal. I am not a person that beats up on his own family.”

The typically more-eloquent Cotto would later address Margarito in Spanish, clarifying his remarks.

"If you don't know what a criminal means, you can look it up in the dictionary,” said Cotto. “It's someone who uses a weapon. We spoke about the wraps on [HBO’s] Face Off. I showed you a picture of them. You are like a child. You are an embarrassment to boxing.”

Definitely a bolder side of Cotto but a particular statement by Margarito also resonated loudly.

“He says he’s not going to have no mercy on my eye,” Margarito said. “He can hit my eye as many times as he wants. He hits like a little girl. A super flyweight hits harder. He wants to take it personal. I’ll take it very personal, too. Do whatever you want. He’s not going to beat me at all. Never.”

For images: (Click here)