Margarito angling toward another shot at welterweight title
Tijuana's Antonio Margarito is just one fight away from a shot at a welterweight title. Can the Mexican star put a disappointing loss to Paul Williams behind him?
Originally Published: November 6, 2007By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesIt's been a while since we've seen Antonio Margarito, left, at his destructive best.Four months ago, Antonio Margarito and Paul Williams waged an action-packed fight, and Margarito lost a close decision, just his second defeat in 11 years. Suddenly, the welterweight belt that he had defended seven times was now wrapped around Williams' waist. Margarito, however, is wasting little time getting back to work as he begins the climb back to main-event, big-money status. Instead of a long road, it might just take one victory to get there. Margarito (34-5, 24 KOs) will face battle-tested Golden Johnson (25-8-3, 18 KOs) in a 12-round bout on the "Fast and Furious" undercard Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at New York's Madison Square Garden. When Margarito's bout is over -- and he's the clear favorite to defeat Johnson -- he figures to return to ringside, where he'll be one of the most interested people in the famed arena watching the much-anticipated main event between welterweight beltholder Miguel Cotto and former champion Shane Mosley. If Margarito, of Tijuana, Mexico, defeats Texas' Johnson, he'll be sitting pretty to fight the main-event winner. "If Antonio comes through in this fight, he's certainly right in line to fight the winner of the Cotto-Mosley fight," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. Said Margarito, "I'm very motivated knowing what's out there for me if I win this fight. I know there's a title fight waiting for me out there I'm going to watch the fight with interest. I hope it's a good fight and, whoever wins, I just hope they give me the opportunity. It doesn't matter to me which one of those two guys win, as long as I get the opportunity to fight them next."
When probed a little more on his preference, he gave the nod to Cotto, the Puerto Rican star. "That's always been the greater rivalry, fights between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans," Margarito said. "And I think in Mexico and Puerto Rico and everywhere else it would be something that people would expect to be a great fight." Cotto-Margarito is also an easier fight to make. They're both promoted by Top Rank. Mosley is promoted by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. If Mosley wins, Margarito could also loom in his immediate future, but Mosley's preference is to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. next year. Arum said he doesn't think Mayweather will ever fight Cotto or Mosley, which puts Margarito in a nice position. "Would Floyd Mayweather, the dancing star, fight Miguel Cotto or Shane Mosley? I think the answer there would generally be in the negative," Arum said. "Mayweather's only fighting guys he can beat. Mayweather never would fight Margarito, you know that. He won't fight Mosley -- you know that. He won't fight Cotto. So forget Mayweather. Floyd Mayweather has a choice. He's made an awful lot of money and he can take the $100 bills and keep throwing them away to the public in night clubs. That's his choice." Margarito, 29, just wants a shot at Saturday's winner. "I don't really think about [who will win]. I just hope that the winner gives me the opportunity to fight," Margarito said. "I know that Johnson's going to be a tough fight. I know I have to get through that first, get the win, and then get the opportunity."
AP Photo/Joe CavarettaAntonio Margarito, right, looked spectacular in blasting out Kermit Cintron in April 2005.
|"Fast and Furious"|
|TV lineup for Saturday's HBO PPV card (9 p.m. ET) from New York's Madison Square Garden: • Welterweights: Miguel Cotto (30-0, 25 KOs) vs. Shane Mosley (44-4, 37 KOs), 12 rounds, for Cotto's title • Welterweights: Antonio Margarito (34-5, 24 KOs) vs. Golden Johnson (25-8-3, 18 KOs), 12 rounds • Lightweights: Joel Casamayor (34-3-1, 21 KOs) vs. Jose Armando Santa Cruz (25-2, 14 KOs), 12 rounds, for Casamayor's title • Junior welterweights: Victor Ortiz (19-1-1, 14 KOs) vs. Carlos Maussa (19-4, 17 KOs), 10 rounds -- Dan Rafael|
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