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December 4, 2011 by staff 

Latest Boxing News, The bad blood between junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito heading into their grudge rematch is so fierce, so real and so palpable that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum did something almost unheard of at Wednesday’s final news conference.

He refused the time-honored tradition of having the fighters pose face to face for the legion of photographers seeking the money image that would be splashed across their publications to publicize the fight.

With the intense bad feelings the fighters hold toward each other, Arum and his staff figured, why risk a physical confrontation? So Arum stood between them instead.

The fight at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET, $54.95) is a clean sellout that will draw about 21,000 — mostly Cotto’s Puerto Rican fans — and a live gate of approximately $3.4 million. Those at the Garden and worldwide TV viewers won’t be watching just to see what is expected to be another slugfest and the newest chapter in boxing’s best rivalry, Puerto Rico versus Mexico.

They want to witness a score being settled and the ultimate grudge match in the sport. They will come to watch the emotional conclusion of a three-year saga that finally is reaching its boiling point.

“The first fight was a classic,” Arum said. “I have a feeling that this fight will be much more intense, an outright war.”

If you don’t know what has caused the heat in this fight, you haven’t been following boxing. In July 2008, Cotto was an undefeated welterweight champion, perhaps headed toward all-time greatness, when he faced Margarito in Las Vegas.

He was well on his way to beating Margarito, but he began to fade over the second half of the fight and was hammered into bloody submission in the 11th round. However, when Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) was caught trying to enter the ring with loaded hand wraps before his next fight, against Shane Mosley in Los Angeles in January 2009, Cotto began to suspect what many were also thinking: that if Margarito tried to cheat against Mosley, there was a reasonable possibility that he had cheated against Cotto.

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