By Matt Breen
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
NEW YORK – His right eye was swollen shut, yet Antonio Margarito didn’t believe he was finished just yet.
His corner pleaded the fight’s doctor, Anthony Curreri, for another round with Miguel Cotto.
But, that plea fell on deaf ears and the doctor ruled Saturday night’s fight at Madison Square Garden to stop after 10 rounds, giving Cotto the win on a technical knockout.
Cotto dominated the bout, as he controlled the pace and flow while pleasing the sold-out pro-Cotto Garden.
"I think the energy I had, the training camp and all the chemsitry I had with the whole team was the real reason I had the difference in this game," Cotto said.
With the win, Cotto improves to 37-2-0 with 30 knockouts and retains his WBA light middleweight title. Margarito drops to 38-7-0 and has now lost three of his last four matches.
Margarito had injured his right eye in his last fight against Manny Pacquaio. Cotto took advantage, targeting the eye throughout the early rounds. The eye began to bleed during the third round and appeared to be closed completely following the seventh round.
"The eye was worse when I fought Pacquiao," said Margarito. "I thought I could've continued. I asked the doctor for at least one more round."
Cotto came quick with a flurry of left hooks, connecting with Margarito’s body before moving to the head. In the sixth round, with 1 minute, 21 seconds left, Cotto connected on back-to-back left hooks to his opponent’s face, causing the crowd to erupt.
"He has his own life, I have my own life. He can keep with his, I'm going to keep with mine," said Cotto about his relationship with Margarito.
Their last fight in July of 2008 became marred by the suspicion that Margarito may have won the match by -using illegal hand wraps. He was caught using the wraps the following year before a loss to Shane Mosley.
Cotto declined to say that Margarito’s punches were weaker this time around due to an absence of hand warps.
“My face now is a lot different from the last time,” said Cotto.
According to the official stat sheet, Cotto connected on 43 percent of his punches compared to Margarito’s 22 percent.
Contact staff writer Matt Breen at email@example.com or @matt_breen on Twitter.