In front of a sold-out crowd of over 21,000 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, Miguel Cotto avenged his 2008 loss to Antonio Margarito, winning in a TKO decision after the ninth round to retain his 154-pound title.
The referee stopped the fight just before the tenth round after Margarito suffered a gash over his right eye. It was the same eye that required surgery for a fractured orbital bone in a loss last year to Manny Pacquiao.
Following that injury, Margarito considered retirement. The New York State Athletic Commission didn't even license Margarito for the fight against Cotto (37-2-0) until November 22, following another examination of the eye.
After Saturday's bout, Margartio required 12 stitches to close the fresh wound.
Cotto went after the eye from the start, and by the third round it started to close. By the seventh round, Margarito was fighting with one eye.
He soldiered on, however, and after the referee decided to stop the fight, Maragrito's corner begged for one more round, insisting that he could go on.
If Margarito had continued to fight, he would have needed to land a miracle punch and knock Cotto out in order to win. When the fight was stopped, he was way behind on all the judges' scorecards.
In July of 2008, Margarito defeated Cotto, but later became infamous after he was found to have used illegal hand wraps in a fight against Shane Mosley. He disappeared from the boxing scene for more than a year.
Cotto has long contended that Margarito used illegal hand wraps when he beat him in their first meeting, and had little sympathy for his opponent this time around. Following the referee's decision to stop the fight, Cotto continued to stare down Margarito as he slumped in his corner.
"Just to look at him and taste my victory on him," Cotto said after the fight. "He means nothing to me."