Antonio Margarito Begins Camp For Cotto on October 3

By Chris Robinson

I recently spoke with trainer Robert Garcia to get his thoughts on the forthcoming rematch between IBF bantamweight champion Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko as well as his take on how his fighter Nonito Donaire factors into the equation. Donaire holds the WBC and WBO bantamweight titles and is looked at by many as the perfect opponent for either Agbeko or Mares after they settle their feud in the ring.Before our conversation ended I was sure to ask Garcia if he had been in touch with another one of his charges, Antonio Margarito.The former welterweight champion Margarito hasn’t fought since last November’s loss to Manny Pacquiao yet he is slated for a December 3rd fight against Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in New York. While there still seem to be some issues to work out between the two camps in regards to the weight-limit that the bout is to be set at, it is the most ideal fight for Cotto to take at this point in his career.Garcia confirmed that Margarito reached out to him recently from his bases in Tijuana, Mexico and he is eager to get back to training at Garcia's gym in Oxnard, California.“I actually talked to him yesterday,” Garcia stated. “He wants to start training camp on October 3rd. That’s what he told me and that is about nine weeks before the fight. It’s perfect timing. I know right now he’s already in the gym. I talk to him, I call him, or I talk to his wife, and she always tells me that he is in the gym right now. He’s one of those fighters that is always in the gym, always running, and always staying in shape. So there is no rush and I know that eight weeks will be more than enough.”Margarito was the first fighter to hand Cotto defeat on July 26th of 2008 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas when he overcame a strong start from the Puerto Rican champion before turning the tables and dropping him twice late on his way to an 11th round TKO victory. Margarito was discovered to have tampered hand wraps in his dressing room prior to his following fight against Shane Mosley six months later, a development that raised suspicion that perhaps he had also been fighting illegally in his bouts prior and against Cotto.The typically subdued Cotto appears to have serious disdain towards Margarito, most likely believing that his first loss came at the hands of a man who was cheating. But three years later and Margarito remains a serious threat, regardless of what may have happened behind the scenes before their first encounter.On that July night it was the constant pressure of Margarito and his ability to sustain early punishment that ultimately won him the fight.Garcia is still banking on ‘Tony’ to apply much heat but is also looking to add a few wrinkles to his attack this time around.“That’s his style and that’s how he wins fights. Cotto was up in the first half of the fight, but then [it was] Margarito’s pressure. He actually told me that he loved the way [Margarito stable mate] Brandon [Rios] boxes and punches, so we are going to do a similar workout to try to get Margarito to block a lot more punches but keep coming, just like Brandon does,” Garcia continued.“Margarito has always done that in his career, but we are looking to change his guard and cover up his face a little bit more. We’re going to have a great training camp and it will be the same thing like it was three years ago with a late-round stoppage.”Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. An archive of his work can be found here, and he can be reached at Trimond@aol.comTags: Miguel Cotto , Antonio Margarito , Cotto vs Margarito , Cotto-Margarito