On July 26, 2008, Antonio Margarito punched Miguel Cotto so often and so hard that the 32-0 defending WBA Welterweight champion fell to a knee in the eleventh round and gave up. Margarito, HBO announcer Jim Lampley said, had turned Cotto's face into "mask of blood."
Margarito's performance surprised many boxing fans and experts. Cotto, at the time, was one of the pound-for-pound best in the world. Before Floyd Mayweather Jr. started ducking Manny Pacquiao, if you remember, he spent years ducking Cotto.
But then six months later, before his next fight against Shane Mosely, Margarito got caught with illegal plaster padding in his gloves. The pads were removed and Mosely went on to dominate. Now everyone began to wonder, "Did Margarito wear those illegal hand wraps against Cotto?"
He denies it, denies that he had ever used the padding before, denies that he even knew they were slipped in for the Mosely fight. But the circumstantial evidence-- namely, Cotto's face-- inevitably tarnished Margarito's reputation.
Margarito was suspended from boxing for a year after the incident. Cotto supporters might argue that even that punishment wasn't hard enough. Most boxing analysts say that Cotto has never been quite the same since that Margarito loss, that a piece of his soul died as he knelt on the canvas that night, that once a man gets bead down that badly there will always be a crack in his confidence.
This conventional perspective tends to overshadow Cotto's actual accomplishments: In 38 professional fights, his only two losses have come at the hands of: 1) a man who got caught with loaded gloves (Margarito). And 2) one of the greatest fighters in history (Pacquiao).
When Cotto looks at Margarito, he may very well see a man who unjustly ruined his career. When Margarito looks at Cotto, he likely sees everything he has lost since climbing to the top of the boxing mountain that night three years ago.
This Saturday, Cotto and Margarito will fight again. It's hard to imagine more pride at stake in a single sporting event.
Cotto remains adamant that Margarito cheated in their first fight. In recent co-interview with Margarito, Cotto pulled out an iPad to show HBO's Max Kellerman a picture of Margarito's hand-wraps after the fight.
"There's nothing there," said Margarito, in Spanish. "What do you want to do? Back out of the fight? There's nothing. It's clean."
"I've taken my defeat like a man," responds Cotto, also in Spanish. Then he flicks his thumb and forefinger to zoom into opponent's left hand in the image. There appears to be a gash in the wrap. "Look isn't that torn? They're supposed to be simply gauze. Gauze doesn't rip."
The two men analyzed the image for a few moments.
"Why are you making these allegations?" asks Margarito.
"I'm just pointing out what's in the picture," replied Cotto.
"I defeated you. And I will do it again."
So where in St. Louis can we watch it?
Boxing fans in St. Louis know how hard it is to find a bar at which to watch a big fight. And for those unable or unwilling to order the fight into their living rooms, this search is a daunting stretch of disappointing phone calls to local sports bars.
We've been there and we understand the pain. So, after an exhaustive search involving enough phone calls to lose a voice, we've created a list of all the bars we could find that are showing the fight.
Here is the list:
Show Me's - 724 N. First St., Laclede's Landing - There is no cover, but a $10 minimum per person.
And that's the list.
The pay per view starts at 8 p.m., with the main event likely rolling up around 10:30 or 11:00.
If you know any other spots showing the fight, go ahead and spread the knowledge in the comments section. We'll update this post as necessary.