Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Garden to host Cotto-Margarito II
By Dan Rafael
Junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, who are putting the finishing touches on a deal for a Dec. 3 rematch, will meet at New York's Madison Square Garden, Top Rank president Todd duBoef told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
DuBoef said he was in New York and finalized the agreement with Garden officials.
"Everything is being finalized for the fight and when it is, we'll be at Madison Square Garden," duBoef said of the famed arena, which is undergoing a significant renovation. "Madison Square Garden is one of the most important arenas in the country and I like doing events here. Miguel has a big fan base here and we want those fans to see him again."
When Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) and Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) met in 2008, they waged their memorable welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where Margarito's Mexican fans were out in force. He came on strong in the fight's second half to stop Cotto in the 11th round of a bloody battle, a win later tainted when Margarito was caught trying to enter the ring in his next fight, against Shane Mosley, wearing loaded hand wraps.
Many believe he got away with wearing illegal gloves in the fight with Cotto.
When they meet in the rematch, which will be on pay-per-view and for Cotto's 154-pound belt, they'll do it in front of Cotto's passionate Puerto Rican fans.
Cotto has always drawn big crowds in New York -- for the six fights he has headlined at Madison Square Garden and when he headlined at Yankee Stadium last June, when he stopped Yuri Foreman in the ninth round to win his title.
"When you look at the electricity of previous Miguel Cotto fights that have been at the Garden and the magnitude of this event, the Garden was the perfect place to do it," duBoef said. "Both guys were open to it. It's great to be back at a big venue in a big city to keep boxing at the forefront.
The MGM Grand was the other venue Top Rank had been looking at for Cotto-Margarito II.
Cotto is coming off a 12th-round knockout of former titlist Ricardo Mayorga on March 12.
Margarito took a beating in November in a fight for a vacant junior middleweight belt against pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao. Margarito has not fought since because he has been recovering from a broken orbital bone and cataract surgery in his right eye, injuries both suffered in the fight against Pacquiao.
Top Rank has not determined whether Showtime or HBO will handle the pay-per-view production and distribution of the fight.
Company chief Bob Arum has said the network he makes a deal with for Pacquiao's third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12 will have the rights to both bouts. A decision on that is expected before the end of July.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.