Referee Smoger praises Margarito and Cotto’s warrior instinct, stoppage was due to doctors orders

5 Dec

Robert Delgado – Los Angeles

The reason referee Steve Smoger was hesitant to stop Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito‘s scintillating rematch at Madison Square Garden in New York City was due to the challenger, Margarito, was fighting with a stubborn pressure, was desperate to box a further round and because he wanted to make sure all the ring physicians were in agreement. However, the consensus – on fight night on December 3 – was that Antonio’s eye was closed.

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Smoger hidden by Puerto Rican and Mexican warriors. Credit: Stacey Verbeek - Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas

“I had never seen Miguel Cotto box so skillfully,” said Smoger to Boxing Talk, before marveling at Margarito’s conditioning. Furthermore, the third man in the ring last weekend also spoke of how he was aware that “Cotto had something cooking.”

Renowned East Coast referee – and also a regular on the judging circuit – Smoger expressed his delight at being in the ring with what he described as warriors: “[Margarito] did not take one step back the entire evening.  And every time he was hit, he smiled and said, “Woooooo!” [These warriors] gave it everything they had!”

Margarito’s right eye has been the subject of much conversation since it was fractured by the unrelenting and blazingly-quick fists of Manny Pacquiao last year. The orbital bone was smashed, he had to have a cataract removed, an artificial lens inserted and was only granted medical clearance to fight in the state of New York last month.

In a similar fashion to the Pacquiao fight, Margarito’s eye was cut, then swelled and eventually closed and thus jeopardised his vision. In total, Cotto (37-2-0, 30ko) landed 86 punches to the area and it became a cause of concern for the doctors at ringside.

Smoger explained: “After the ninth round, we go to Margarito’s corner. The doctor called me over. And they get [Anthony Currieri] who is one of the top rated opthalmologists in the country. Antonio was pleading to continue. He said: ‘Steve, please! Give me one more round!’ But the doctor said: ‘Steve, you have to stop it. The eye is closed.’

“I hesitated because I wanted to make sure that all of the doctors were in agreement. I wanted to make sure. It’s hard to stop a fight when a guy keeps coming forward. Tony fought valiantly and I always want to give the fighter every opportunity, so I wanted to make sure that there was no confusion about this.”

He continued by concluding that the nature of the fight, together with Cotto and Margarito’s styles and hearts, helped sooth the sores from recent fights that have ended controversially: “This year, we’ve had several incidents with fighters hugging and kissing and quitting, and complaining about shoulder injures and low blows…

“But Margarito wanted to fight! His eye was closed and he wanted to fight! He had no excuses whatsoever and that’s what boxing is all about. You want warriors? Give me Tony Margarito! Give me Miguel Cotto!”

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2 Responses to “Referee Smoger praises Margarito and Cotto’s warrior instinct, stoppage was due to doctors orders”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cotto confident he can out-fox Pacquiao in rematch, Steward agrees but Roach is not keen « On The Beak - December 8, 2011

    […] Referee Smoger praises Margarito and Cotto’s warrior instinct, stoppage was due to doctors&nbs… […]

  2. On The Beak boxing news: 2011 « On The Beak - January 10, 2012

    […] Referee Smoger praises Margarito and Cotto’s warrior instinct, stoppage was due to doctors orders […]

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