New Windsor, NY: I attended a pre-Christmas party here in upstate New York on Saturday night. Driving up I remembered that I had not asked if they were going to be showing the Maragarito - Cotto fight. I figured that just about everyone I knew, especially Boricuas were going to be watching the fight. Even if you were not an avid boxing fan if you learned of the last Cotto - Margarito fight three years ago and the controversy that ensued you would definitely want to watch this fight.
In that last encounter between these two gladiators, representing Mexico and Puerto Rico which have a rivalry that would make the Boston Red Sox - NY Yankees rivalry look like child's play Margarito did the unthinkable. He had lined his gloves with plaster of Paris and as a result caused a serious beating on Cotto's face that would impact Cotto's eye and possible future in boxing. Margarito was suspended for a year, but that did not do anything to help Cotto's physical eye injury, or possible emotional health.
Now three years later, the second encounter of these two fighters is something that just about every Puerto Rican on the island and many here in the mainland have been waiting to see. How would Margarito do without the help of a heavy punching hand? In many pre-fight interviews Margarito kept referring to the last fight as one that his punching power was what caused the damage to Cotto's face. He never made mentioned of the plaster in his glove, or his suspension. He would also refer to Cotto's punches as those like a little girl's that never hurt him.
I really wanted to see this fight, but I had accepted this special dinner invitation over a month ago when my mind was not on the fight. So here I was in a party miles away from all my friends and family that I knew were watching the fight. The music was great since these were old school salseros and the food was to die for and all I was thinking about was Cotto - Margarito.
Around 8 PM a few of us guys in the party were talking a little about nothing and we were all ready for the first one to break the news and say it: "will they be showing the fight here tonight?" The minute it was mentioned, it was like a volcano erupting, all of them blurted out what we were all thinking, but had not verbalized. "I was thinking about this fight all night, but if I would have mentioned it to my lady, she would have started up on me on how I can't just think about spending some time with her and her friends without thinking of being with my friends for a fight," stated one of the guest named George.
Rocco, another guest was already contemplating on how we can leave this mountaintop grove and find a bar, or a place close enough for us to escape. At that point we noticed that the host of the party had cable, so the plan was how to suggest stopping the party with the great salsa, Christmas music and dancing to recommend that we would like to watch the fight?
My mind started racing and while we were all sitting having a Thanksgiving style dinner around a packed dinning room table I gathered up the courage to asked if anyone had any thoughts on who was going to win the fight? Some people including the host family asked what fight? That was all that was needed. A strong conversation ensued and after all the facts were out about this controversial fight many of the women in the party also joined our growing ranks and stated that they too would like to watch the fight. We sweeten the offer by offering to make a collection to pay for the Pay Per View event. That was it, we won and the host family agreed to purchase the fight for us to watch with one stipulation, no sound, we would be hearing salsa instead of the sound of the fight. We asked if we could at least hear the formal introduction of the fighters and the traditional announcement "Let's Get ready To Rumble."
When the fight started everyone found a seat in a semi-circle around the huge living room to watch it. Throughout 10 rounds we saw Cotto do what many expected him to do, PAYBACK. It was a different experience watching Cotto dance around the ring punching and jabbing onto Margarito's right eye to various salsa beats of the party.
When the fight was stopped in the 10th round everyone cheered for Cotto, as there were no Margarito fans in this party the TV was turned off and everyone went back to dancing with another reason to celebrate.