Once Upon a Time, Miguel Cotto’s Mexican Nightmare Was Antonio Margarito

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Miguel Cotto’s current record sits at 40 wins, four losses, and zero draws. One of those four losses, however, represents a particular dark story for the Puerto Rican boxer, who will be fighting Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez on November 21.

When Cotto was 27 years old and still undefeated, he faced Antonio Margarito (aka The Express Train), a fighter who made up for lack of talent with his hard, rock-like punches. Despite outboxing the Mexican, a bloodied Cotto, unable to take more of Margarito’s punches, threw in the towel. The fight didn’t just represent the Puerto Rican’s first loss, but also a halt to his promising career. Fans even began speculating whether Cotto was overrated. Less than six months later however, the story would have a turn of the screw.

Shane Mosley, who Cotto had previously defeated, was scheduled to be Margarito’s opponent following his victory over the Puerto Rican. It was then that Mosley’s trainer Naazim Richardson noticed a strange powder coming out of Margarito’s wraps. New, non-powdered wraps were then put around Margarito’s hands, and the American would knock him out in the ninth round.

Following the fight, it was confirmed that the powder in Margarito’s wraps would harden and turn to plaster when in contact with water, which came in the form of hand sweat. The Mexican was suspended for a year and became one of boxing’s most infamous cheaters. But Cotto’s loss against Margarito stayed on his record, as it was difficult to prove Margarito had indeed used the powder for their fight.

Three years after their first fight, Margarito and Cotto were scheduled for a rematch. As part of the fight’s marketing efforts, the two boxers had to sit with HBO commentator Max Kellerman for a Face-Off. The bad blood between the fighters was more than visible. Cotto directly accused Margarito of using his powder-plaster wraps for their fight, and brought out an iPad which showed a picture of Margarito’s wrapped fist, bloodied and with the plaster apparently broken. You can watch the whole moment here:

Cotto outboxed Margarito in every round of their rematch, until the doctor stopped the fight in the ninth due to Margarito’s eye injury becoming dangerously unsafe. It was Margarito’s last fight. His post-wrap scandal record stands at one win and three losses.

With the rematch, Cotto got past that terrible episode. He teamed up with legendary trainer Freddie Roach, and became the first Puerto Rican to win a belt in four divisions after destroying Argentine Sergio Martinez.  A new Mexican nightmare, however, might appear on November 21, but instead of plaster wraps, this one will come in the form of a young, red-haired monster.