Even if it often sounds as though they’re still fighting their bout from more than three years ago.
“There’s a lot of anger. There’s a lot of hatred between both of us,” Margarito said Wednesday through a translator. “Someone will be getting hurt in this fight. Both of us are going out to hurt each other.”
The two boxers spent more time talking about the past than the present in the buildup to their fight for Cotto’s WBA super welterweight title. Margarito beat Cotto in July 2008, but what happened six months later forever changed discussions about that bout.
Margarito was found to have illegal hand wraps before a loss to Shane Mosley and didn’t box again for more than a year. Cotto says he has photos proving that Margarito also used illegal hand wraps in their fight – which Margarito denies, just as he insists he didn’t know his former trainer had placed illegal pads atop his fists in January 2009.
“He has to accept that like a man,” Cotto said of wanting Margarito to admit wrongdoing. “That’s the only issue I have with him.”
Margarito said Cotto was just “talking the talk.”
“That’s what he wants to do,” Margarito said. “What I said and I’ll say again: I fight clean; I’ve always been clean.”
The Tijuana Tornado stopped Cotto in the 11th round in Las Vegas in their first meeting. Cotto said he long resisted a rematch because he didn’t want money going to an opponent who didn’t fight fair.
Cotto (36-2) said he noticed “something strange, something weird” in their first fight. His face swelled up in ways it shouldn’t have.
Cotto controlled the early rounds in that bout, but Margarito (38-7) withstood punch after punch with not a hint of backing down.
He plans more of the same in tonight’s pay-per-view event.
“Everyone knows how I fight,” Margarito said. “Pressure, pressure. That’s what I’m going to be doing.”