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Cotto-Margarito: A Classic

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We previewed the welterweight championship bout between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito Friday night. The fight turned out to be one of the best in a long time. Veteran referee Kenny Bayless called it the best fight he’s ever been in the ring for.

Cotto, the favorite, dominated the early rounds with crisp counterpunching. But Cotto, a pretty hard puncher, couldn’t faze Margarito, who attacked relentlessly from the opening bell until the end of the fight.

Margarito, who had a four-inch height advantage over Cotto, is big for a welterweight, and he finally wore Cotto down. He got to him for the first time in the 7th; after that it was a matter of time. In the 11th Margarito finished off the previously-undefeated Cotto with a TKO.

Both fighters kept up an extraordinary pace for 11 rounds, with virtually no clutching, grabbing or holding and, in what seems like a rarity nowadays, no head-butting. So it was as clean a fight as one could hope for. All in all, a classic. As ESPN’s Dan Rafael said, now we know why everyone, including Floyd Mayweather, has been ducking Margarito.

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