Boxing: Miguel Cotto stops Antonio Margarito with ninth round TKO
Miguel Cotto has avenged his loss to Antonio Margarito with a dominating performance, winning by technical knockout in the ninth round of their World Boxing Assn. junior-middleweight fight on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Puerto Rican champion battered the challenger from Tijuana, eventually forcing his right eye shut. A ringside doctor stopped the bout before the start of the 10th round.
Cotto (37-2, 30 knockouts) sustained his first loss when Margarito (38-8) pounded him late in their 2008 fight to win by a knockout in the 11th round. That result was held up to great skepticism by Cotto months later after California boxing officials confiscated plaster-coated knuckle pads inside Margarito's hand wraps before he was knocked out by Shane Mosley at Staples Center.
Here's a round-by-round recap of the fight (scoring is unofficial):
Round 1: Cotto kept his back to Margarito throughout introductions. He lands a quick right. And another off a missed jab. Nice combination by Cotto. Cotto continues to jab. Margarito on the defensive. Margarito misses his jabs. A right by Cotto. A jab by Cotto. A good right by Cotto. Margarito answers with a right. Combination landed by Cotto. Margarito counters with a right after Cotto threw a barrage of punches. Cotto wins the round, 10-9.
Round 2: Cotto lands a left to the body. Margarito smiles. Cotto blocking Margarito's rights. Straight left by Cotto. A right hand by Cotto. A hard right. Cotto answers with a combination. He slips away. Cotto left to face. Hard left by Cotto. A good exchange, though. Another Cotto combination. He's faster. Hard right to body by Margarito backs up Cotto a bit late. Cotto wins round, 10-9. Cotto leads, 20-18.
Round 3: A great round. Cotto lands a hard right. Margarito is cut over his right eyebrow. Margarito throws a combination. A big exchange elicits roars. A big left by Cotto was the best punch. Another hard Cotto left; Margarito smiles and nods to suggest it doesn't hurt. A left-right combo by Margarito. Margarito lands an overhand right. Cotto wins round, 10-9. Cotto leads, 30-27.
Round 4: Cotto lands a big left. Margarito applying more pressure while acting like Cotto's best shots aren't bothering him. Margarito lands a right and left uppercut. Cotto throws a flurry to escape. Big right by Margarito, and he's talking smack to Cotto. Big left uppercut and right by Cotto. "Whoo!" Margarito yells, smiling. Straight right by Cottom, who wins the round, 10-9. Cotto leads, 40-36.
Round 5: A right by Cotto to start. Margarito nearly slips on missed left. Cotto lands a jab flush to Margarito's face. Margarito still chiding him. Cotto covers and slips against Margarito's efforts. Cotto wins round, 10-9. Cotto leads, 50-45.
Round 6: A left by Cotto sneaks in. Cotto backs off ropes and lands a left, then right. He again connects. Margarito gets in a right and works to unload. Cotto hits him in gut with left. Now a hard left by Cotto. Margarito can't land uppercuts in tight. Hard left by Cotto, and he squeezes Margarito's head with left arm. Margarito jabs to come forward late, Cotto backs away. Cotto wins round, 10-9. Cotto leads, 60-54.
Round 7: Margarito holding Cotto with right while punching with left. Margarito slugging inside, backs Cotto to the ropes. Margarito lands a jab and right uppercut. A left by Cotto swells Margarito's damaged right eye. It's closing shut. Another left to the swollen area by Cotto. Margarito covering. All eyes on the eye. Cotto lands a hard left in tight. Margarito pressuring inside, though. Cotto goes to the body and hits Margarito with a right to face after bell. Cotto wins round, 10-9. Cotto leads, 70-63.
Round 8: Margarito's eye was inspected between rounds. Cotto jabbing to the eye. Another good jab by Cotto stops Margarito in tracks. Time for some tape on Cotto's glove. Cotto lands a jab. Margarito gets in a right. Cotto holds his head down. Great three-punch combo to face by Cotto. Margarito's inside work not effective. They're exchanging, though. Nice right by Cotto, and a better left hook. Margarito backed up. Cotto wins round, 10-9. Cotto leads, 80-72.
Round 9: A doctor scoped Margarito's right eye, delaying the start of the round. Cotto drills Margarito with a hard left uppercut. Good combination by Cotto again with the fighters in tight. Margarito gets in some battering, but Cotto drills him in return. Crowd on its feet. Hard left by Cotto snaps Margarito's head back. Cotto wins round, 10-9 Cotto leads, 90-81.
Cotto wins on ninth round technical knockout when a ringside doctor stops the fight because of Antonio Margarito's closed and injured right eye. The Margarito camp begged for the fight to continue to no avail.
Photo: Miguel Cotto throws a left hook as Antonio Margarito covers up during their bout on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Al Bello / Associated Press