Boxing weekend prediction: Miguel Cotto to beat Antonio Margarito

We highlight the fights to watch this weekend and bring you our prediction for Miguel Cotto v Antonio Margarito

By Mike Pope

Prediction: Cotto to beat Margarito by close split decision

Three years after their brutal 11-round war, Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto faces Mexican rival Antonio Margarito on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Their first fight will be remembered for its savagery and the question over Margarito’s use of illegal hand wraps. This is a genuine grudge match, both fighters have stated their desire to hurt one another in the build-up – and they should be believed. Cotto never fully recovered from the loss in 2008 and Margarito has been unable to rebuild his reputation since it emerged he tried to fight Shane Mosley with Plaster of Paris in his gloves in 2009. Cotto is the better boxer of the two and he will use his superior footwork and body movement to win the early rounds. However, Margarito will not back down, his pressure fighting, even now, is surpassed by few and he will win his share of the rounds. As the fight progresses expect both fighters to be cut and bloodied as they grind each other down. Yet this time round Cotto will not exert himself too much early on and the Puerto Rican star will finish the fight strongly as he edges a close decision victory.

Prediction: Sturm to beat Murray by unanimous decision

For the second fight in succession, Germany’s Felix Sturm takes on a British challenger – this time undefeated Martin Murray on Friday night in Mannheim, Germany. Strum has been fighting at world title level for eight years, while Murray only turned professional in 2007 and has gone the 12-round distance once. Despite this, Murray will cause Strum problems on the inside in the early rounds. However, the German knows exactly how to win rounds on the judges’ score-cards and will do just enough to seal a unanimous decision. The fight will be entertaining, especially early on – but Strum’s vast experience in the ring will show as he outsmarts Murray for a points decision victory.

Prediction: Rios to beat Murray by early knockout

After being knocked out by domestic rival Kevin Mitchell, John Murray faces the lightweight division’s – and possibly the sport’s – hardest puncher in Brandon Rios. On the undercard of Miguel Cotto’s rematch against Antonio Margarito, England’s Murray will be overwhelmed from the start by Rios’ pressure fighting and power. Rios, an unbeaten Mexican-American, is ranked by many in the sport as one of the best pound-for-pound and sadly for Murray, this fight is merely a stepping stone for him to bigger bouts. Expect Murray to be brave from the off but for Rios to control the pace and the centre of the ring. Rios will land hurtful blows immediately and will finish the fight early, sending Murray to the canvas multiple times.

Friday 2 December 2011:

Felix Strum v Martin Murray
Mannheim, Germany
12 rounds middleweight for Sturm’s WBA title

Anthony Dirrell v Renan St Juste
Santa Ynez, USA
12 rounds super middleweight

Chris Avalos v Jhonatan Romero
Santa Ynez, USA
10 rounds super bantamweight

Darley Perez v Fernando Trejo
Santa Ynez, USA
8 rounds lightweight

Daulis Prescott v Gabriel Tolmajyan
Santa Ynez, USA
8 rounds super featherweight

Saturday 3 December 2011:

Alexander Povetkin v Cedric Boswell
Helsinki, Finland
12 rounds heavyweight for Povetkin’s WBA title

Robert Helenius v Dereck Chisora
Helsinki, Finland
12 rounds heavyweight for vacant European title

Edis Tatli v Pasquale Di Silvio
Helsinki, Finland
10 rounds lightweight

Akifumi Shimoda v Jonel Alibio
Tokyo, Japan
10 rounds super bantamweight

Jhonny Gonzalez v Roinet Caballero
Mexico City, Mexico
12 rounds featherweight for Gonzalez’s WBC title

Alejandro Sanabria v Vinvin Rufino
Mexico City, Mexico
12 rounds lightweight

Mike Jones v Sebastian Andres Lujan
New York City, USA
12 rounds welterweight

Miguel Cotto v Antonio Margarito
New York City, USA
12 rounds light middleweight for Cotto’s WBA title

Brandon Rios v John Murray
New York City, USA
12 rounds lightweight for Rios’ WBA title

Pawel Wolak v Delvin Rodriguez
New York City, USA
10 rounds light middleweight

Abner Mares v Joseph Agbeko
Anaheim, USA
12 rounds bantamweight for Mares’ IBF title

Anselmo Moreno v Vic Darchinyan
Anaheim, USA
12 rounds bantamweight for Moreno’s WBA title

Carlos Molina v Manuel Levya
Anaheim, USA
10 rounds light welterweight

Eric Morel v Jose Silveira
Anaheim, USA
10 rounds junior featherweight

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