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TEDDY ATLAS UNPLUGGED: "I GIVE HIM A LOT OF CREDIT...COTTO FOUND A WAY TO GET RID OF THOSE GHOSTS"

By Percy Crawford | December 23, 2011
TEDDY ATLAS UNPLUGGED:

"I still think he [Cotto] is damaged goods, but he was fighting a guy that is damaged goods and he was less damaged in the areas that mattered the most; in the areas psychologically. To his credit, he was able to get rid of those ghosts the same way George Foreman found a way to exorcise the ghost of Zaire years later. Well, he found a way to exorcise the ghost of Margarito in that fight. Cotto found a way to get rid of those ghosts, and I give him all of the credit in the world. Boy oh boy, I give him a lot of credit...It's tough enough to go into a ring under normal circumstances to face what a man must face in that squared circle. It's very tough and difficult and impossible to some people, and that's why only certain people can do it," stated ESPN commentator and world-class trainer Teddy Atlas, who shared his thoughts on Miguel Cotto's victory over Margarito. Check out what he had to say about the performance of both fighters and much more!

PC: You have been saying for a long time that Cotto was a damaged fighter. He was able to get his revenge against Antonio Margarito in their rematch....

TA: (Cutting in) I'm not trying to protect myself...well, I guess I am a little bit; I guess I'm trying to explain myself, but without getting too defensive about it or make my case in court too much, I would say they both are damaged goods.

PC: No, I agree. I was getting ready to say that (laughing).

TA: Yeah, I still think he [Cotto] is damaged goods, but he was fighting a guy that is damaged goods and he was less damaged in the areas that mattered the most; in the areas psychologically. To his credit, he was able to get rid of those ghosts the same way George Foreman found a way to exorcise the ghost of Zaire years later. Well, he found a way to exorcise the ghost of Margarito in that fight. Cotto found a way to get rid of those ghosts, and I give him all of the credit in the world. Boy oh boy, I give him a lot of credit. He was able to think of the things he needed to think of and forget the things that he needed to forget. What I mean by that, he remembered that early in that first fight, he was having his way. He was able to outbox Margarito. He was the better fighter; he was the smarter fighter, the quicker fighter, and the more skilled fighter, and then he got broken down. He remembered that. He didn't forget that. He didn't forget that at all. He forgot what he needed to forget, but he didn't forget what he needed to remember, and he picked up at that part and he kept doing it and he kept it on and he didn't get broken down. Whether or not it was because of the hand wraps, we're never gonna know, but Margarito was damaged going into that fight too. Here is a guy who took a terrible, terrible beating from Pacquiao. He took a beating just like Cotto took against him, but he might have took a worse beating than what he did to Cotto because he took it for a little longer. Even though he didn't get stopped, he took it for a few more rounds. He had something psychologically that was kind of knocking at the door, and what that was is he had the psychological torment and thoughts about his eye. The psychological thoughts of, is his eye gonna be alright. He was going into a fight wondering whether he was going to hold up physically, whether or not there were going to be repercussions for the rest of his life from a physical standpoint from this fight. That's a hell of a cloud to have over your head. It's tough enough to go into a ring under normal circumstances to face what a man must face in that squared circle. It's very tough and difficult and impossible to some people, and that's why only certain people can do it. And then on top of it, he had to go in there and wonder whether or not his eye was going to be okay; wondering whether or not his health and his future were going to be okay. I thought about that and I thought, "How is that going to impact him during the fight and how did it impact him in training? How do I know that he was able to train properly and how do I know he got the right amount of sparring? How do I know that it didn't expose something that we're not aware of in his camp?" And now, he's going into this fight with something that is going to be detrimental to him. So they both had a lot to overcome and I think they both did as good a job that they can do with it, but Cotto, at the end of the day, was the better man. He was the more skillful fighter, just like he was in the first fight, but he was able to obviously see it to the finish.

PC: One thing you used to point out when the talks of a Margarito/Cotto rematch was brought to you was that you would hope Cotto wouldn't take an immediate rematch. I think 3 years was a sufficient amount of time for Cotto to get over that first fight and get, like you say, psychologically ready to face that ghost again.

TE: You know what? That's a very good point. It took George Foreman 10 years to get rid of the ghost of Zaire. I guess there is a certain amount of time to exorcise ghosts. I guess 3 years was a long enough timeframe for Cotto, and 3 years was appropriate for the psychological reasons and the physical reasons. Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely!



[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrLouis1ana ]

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