24/7 Cotto/Margarito: Episode 1 Recap

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By Nick Tywalk

Fittingly, the first shot of 24/7 Cotto/Margarito is one of Antonio Margarito getting his hands wrapped. We cut to a short training montage as the voiceover sets the stage for the first fight between the two men. Though it was an unforgettable fight, the aftermath became complicated due to Margarito getting caught with loaded hand wraps before he was to take on Shane Mosley.

The first time we hear from Cotto, he leaves no uncertainty, saying Margarito used the plaster when they fought. He says Tony looks and acts like a criminal. Margarito says he is a clean fighter, and there was nothing illegal on that night. The only way to settle this dispute is in the ring.

Cotto's camp is set up in Orlando, but once a week, he and his team journey east to Cocoa Beach. Miguel says he is a better fighter today than he was before the first Margarito fight. He claims his passion for the sport has returned. We get a brief introduction to his team, which includes his best friend, his brother and his mom.

He hasn't been as lucky forming a bond with a trainer, so he heads into this fight with Pedro Diaz, a former Cuban Olympic coach, in his corner. Diaz is his third trainer in his last four fights, though Cotto doesn't seem concerned, feeling his determination and desire to right a perceived wrong will carry him.

Margarito does his training in Central Mexico. Tony says it is the first time he has been to Temoaya to train, but he likes it for the elevation. Trainer Robert Garcia is happy with it too.

We flash back to the Mosley fight, the beginning of Margarito's downfall. Tony says it was tough losing touch with former trainer Javier Capetillo, who probably had his reputation wrecked even more completely as a result of the scandal, but he is moving on. Capetillo still trains boxers in L.A., but he can't work a corner anywhere in the U.S. He says he admitted guilt because he wrapped Margarito's hands but steadfastly denies placing the substance in the wraps himself.

Cotto's assistant Bryan Perez recalls watching the Mosley fight with Cotto and both of them wondering what may have happened during Cotto-Margarito I. Team Cotto claims no one watched Margarito's hands get wrapped that night because Miguel's uncle Evangelista (then his trainer) chose not to send anyone over after no one from Tony's camp came to watch their wrapping process. Margarito's manager disagrees, as does Capetillo.

We go through the fight, which Cotto led through the early rounds with his boxing skills. Margarito kept pressuring him, and Cotto's conditioning coach says a shot that Miguel took in the sixth or seventh round turned the fight around. Margarito felt he had the upper hand by Round 10, while Cotto remembers feeling like he had no strength or energy as the fight dragged on. The end came for Cotto in the eleventh round.

When the Mosley fallout made many people suspicious of Margarito's victory over Cotto in hindsight, no one took it as far as Miguel himself. He displays a picture of what he says is Tony's left hand wrap with an actual break in it, something he says shouldn't happen if only gauze is there. Margarito laughs off the accusation, calling Cotto out for crying and making excuses. Capetillo thinks the wraps could break or just be discolored from the gloves. Cotto insists that the wraps confiscated before the Mosley fight have a similar discoloration even though they were never under gloves.

Capetillo thinks Cotto is just selling the rematch, but Miguel says his anger is real because Margarito jeopardized his health is he used plaster-loaded wraps against him. Margarito claims he told Cotto that he could do the hand wrapping this time and the outcome would still be the same.

As we return to Margarito's camp, the voiceover mentions that he has been out of the ring for a year because of the damage to his orbital bone suffered at the hands of Manny Pacquiao. He had multiple surgeries to fix his eye, but his licensing status is still up in the air in New York. Garcia calls Margarito healthy and motivated.

Tony's training partners keep him loose, especially Brandon Rios, who calls Margarito a bitch in Spanish. Bam Bam is the head clown, but there are others, as shown when several boxers perform a series of flips outside the gym. Margarito gives them credit for keeping the atmosphere stress-free.

In Cotto's camp in Orlando, his mother reluctantly supports him. Miguel's father was traditionally the one guiding his preparation, with his mother stepping in only after her husband (of 40-plus years) passed away. The normally stoic Cotto tears up when talking about his late dad. The "54/10" symbols on Cotto's signature clothing line represent the years of his father's birth and death. There's also a tattoo of his dad's face on the back of Miguel's left shoulder.

The show ends by revisiting the idea that the only way these two fighters could ever find resolution is by facing off again. Cotto claims Margarito is not a gentleman, and that his dog is more of a man than Tony. Margarito asks rhetorically why Cotto cries and why he agreed to a rematch. They disagree one more time about Margarito's hand wraps during the first fight as the first episode comes to a close. 

Coming in Episode 2: How will having Diaz in his corner affect Cotto's tactics and focus? Miguel also takes some time to unwind as his camp winds toward its conclusion. Meanwhile, Margarito stays in the high altitude of Mexico's mountains, but he faces an uphill battle to convince the powers that be that his right eye is good to go.

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