SPORTS

Margarito: “Puerto Ricans Don't Like Cotto”

Boxers  Miguel Cotto, left,  of Puerto Rico, and  Antonio Margarito, right, of Mexico, flank promoter Bob Arum during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Cotto will defend his WBA Super World junior middleweight title against Margarito on Saturday, Dec. 3, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Boxers Miguel Cotto, left, of Puerto Rico, and Antonio Margarito, right, of Mexico, flank promoter Bob Arum during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Cotto will defend his WBA Super World junior middleweight title against Margarito on Saturday, Dec. 3, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

As expected, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto ended up getting into a war of words at their official press conference Wednesday afternoon, now one could only imagine what Saturday night is going to be like when they meet at the renovated and sold out Madison Square Garden.

“What's happening is that Cotto has been talking a lot. He's been talking too much. What I can simply say is that I have confidence in my preparation, everything is good and I will come out with my arms lifted in the air,” the former champion said.

Cotto once again used the term “criminal” to describe who Margarito is to him and went on to say that Mexican fans should be ashamed of Margarito for his previous actions, furthermore telling him, “you are a shame to the boxing world.”

Cotto Looking for Win, Not Revenge

Margarito took issue to being called a criminal by Cotto, whom he brutally beat and stopped in the 11th round in their first encounter in July 2008 to win the WBA welterweight title.

Look, I know a lot of Puerto Ricans don't like Cotto. He's soured on them. A lot have told me to beat him, to beat him up. For those that follow me and know that I will win, I want to send them a greeting. For those that don't, well don't miss the fight.

- Antonio Margarito

“I think he's saying I'm a criminal because I have wanted to harm my opponents. I say that I have never beaten up my own blood relatives like he did with his father's brother,” said Margarito, mentioning the brawl Cotto got into with his uncle and former trainer, Evangelista Cotto at a gym in Puerto Rico in 2009.

“He beat him up bad. That's a criminal. Not me,” Margarito added.

A Humbled Margarito Praises Pacquiao

The Tijuana Tornado continued his verbal attack on Cotto, claiming that many of his countrymen weren't too supportive of him at all.

“Look, I know a lot of Puerto Ricans don't like Cotto. He's soured on them. A lot have told me to beat him, to beat him up. For those that follow me and know that I will win, I want to send them a greeting. For those that don't, well don't miss the fight.”

He even brought Cotto's wife, Melissa, into the fray, saying that he didn't care what she said. Before their first fight, Margarito said he wanted Cotto's wife and kids to witness the beating he would give him but this time around change course and did not call them out.

After changing his training site from Big Bear, California to a new site in the much higher elevated Otomi Mountains in southeastern Mexico, Margarito admitted that training there at a higher altitude has allowed him to prepare himself better although he's always given his “100 percent”.

The only question that lingers above Margarito is the condition of his right eye which underwent surgery after his bout with Manny Pacquiao in November 2010. His corner wanted to stop the fight badly that night but he urged them not to because he wanted to finish.

But his bravado almost cost him his career. Doctors repaired a fractured orbital bone and he was cleared by the New York State Athletic Commission just last week to fight.

Margarito feared that he would never box again.

“The only doubt I had was after I fought Manny Pacquaio. I thought that perhaps I wouldn't return to the ring,” he said.

Miguel Cotto Hopes Win over Mayorga Will Lead to Pacquiao

His training sessions have been intense and he hasn't allowed his eye issue to affect the way he's gone about his business in getting ready for a title match. He's looking to keep the same strategy but just tune it up a bit by using “more pressure and more power shots”.

“There's nothing I can hide. I have been training, boxing and talking to Bob Arum about it. If I knew that my eye wasn't healthy, well I really wouldn't fight,” said Margarito while pointing out that he's had his friends and family members backing his return to the ring.

Margarito is not paying that much mind to Cotto's change in the corner, replacing Hall of Famer Emmauel Steward with Pedro Luis Diaz, just two months before their scheduled fight.

“I don't care about the changes he's made,” Margarito said while adding that “it's too late for him.”

On Saturday night against Cotto, Margarito will try to keep rebuilding his image and change the minds of those that insist he is a cheater and criminal for knowingly illegally wrapping his hands in plaster, an allegation made after the boxers first fought in 2008 and again after Margarito’s January 2009 fight against Shane Mosley

“I'm going to knock him out again.”

Adry Torres, who has covered MLB, NFL, NBA and NCAA basketball games and related events, is a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. He can be reached at elpiloto137@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @adrytorresnyc.

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