Boxing weekend review: Miguel Cotto beats Antonio Margarito
We look back at the best of the weekend's boxing action, including Miguel Cotto's defeat of Antonio Margarito
Boxer of the weekend
Miguel Cotto. In front of a sold out Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto beat fierce rival Antonio Margarito. The bout was particularly poignant for Cotto, who inflicted revenge for his defeat by Margarito in 2008, the first loss of his professional career. Their first fight was a brutal war, Margarito eventually ending it in the 11th round. This time Cotto utilised his superior boxing skills and natural talent to keep his opponent largely at bay. Cotto’s jab was excellent and his improved positioning and defensive technique meant Margarito was rarely able to apply pressure on the inside. When the fight was stopped by the referee in the 10th round, Margarito’s surgically reconstructed right eye socket was totally shut and his entire face was beaten raw. Cotto was the clear winner and he seemed content after beating the man who may or may not have used illegal hand wraps in their first bout. The win was Cotto’s second defence of his WBA light middleweight title and his 30th knockout victory, improving his record to 37 wins and two losses.
Fight of the weekend
Abner Mares v Joseph Agbeko. Mares controversially beat Agbeko in August via a mixed decision victory to win the IBF bantamweight title, in a fight that was marred by controversy. Mares repeatedly hit Agbeko with low blows in virtually every round but the referee did not disqualify the Mexican, yet alone dock him any points. A rematch was ordered and many predicted another tough and close battle – and that is what they got. Worried about being accused of low blows, Mares barely threw any body shots as he out-worked and out-fought his Cameroonian opponent on his way to a deserved unanimous decision. Agbeko as always worked hard and showcased his durability and considerable boxing skills as he pushed Mares every round. However, the Mexican responded excellently to his opponent’s challenege and out-worked him from beginning to end, using his superior footwork, lateral movement and boxing nous. All three of the judges’ score cards gave the fight to Mares by a 118-110 margin, which reflected his superiority – but not the close and entertaining nature of the bout.
Knockout of the weekend
Brandon Rios. The Mexican-American warrior may no longer be the WBA lightweight champion, having failed to make the weight for his fight against Britain’s John Murray, but Rios showed again that he will be a threat to anyone as he pummelled his latest opponent into submission via an 11th-round technical knockout. The win, Rios’ 10th knockout victory in his last 11 fights, was more to do with relentless pressure to the body and head than one huge blow – but it was equally devastating and impressive. Murray is an elite contender and is as tough as anyone in the lightweight division, but he had no answers for Rios’ vastly superior work-rate, punch output and single-mindedness. Rios has only one style, luckily for him it is immensely effective and he is able to carry it out with expert efficiency. However, against a truly elite counter-puncher or athletically superior opponent he could come unstuck. Yet since there are very few of these opponents in the boxing world, his move to the talented junior welterweight division should be greeted with fanfare. Rios will always be in entertaining and crowd pleasing bouts, regardless of his opponent. He gives his all and should be appreciated for being truly fearless inside the ring. Enjoy him whilst he lasts.
Decision of the weekend
Robert Helenius v Dereck Chisora. Continenal Europe has a pretty horrible reputation on the British Isles and in the USA for favouring the home fighter with poor referees and fixed judges. On Saturday night in Helsinki, the score-cards for the bout between Robert Helenius and Dereck Chisora did nothing to allay these fears. Helenius is promoted by the German promotional company Sauerland Event, and they have invested a lot into making him a big name in the heavyweight division and he went into the bout a heavy favourite. Yet, despite Chisora putting on one of the best performances of his professional career and winning the bout in the eyes of many, Helenius was given split decision victory on the judges’ score cards; 115-113, 115-113 and 113-115. Frank Warren called it “one of the worst decisions I’ve seen in a long time”, and Amir Khan’s trainer Freddie Roach said it was “just terrible”. The 6ft7 Finn had been touted as a future heavyweight champion of the world and it appears that his promotional company was unwilling to let him lose to an opponent like Chisora. Results like these make boxing, an already difficult sport to promote, even less popular. Fans at ringside, pundits and those watching from home knew the result was unfair and it helps no one when some fighters look to be getting special treatment.