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Saturday night welterweight title twinbill: Cotto -vs- Gomez, Cintron -vs- Margarito II

Undefeated WBA welterweight champion Miguel Cotto is set to make the fourth defense of his title against Season One Contender Alfonso Gomez at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this Saturday night. Cotto, the undefeated Puerto Rican sensation won the vacant title with a 6th round TKO of Carlos Quintana, who later went on to dethrone Paul Williams for the WBO version of the title, in December of 2006 in the same Boardwalk Hall.

Since winning the title, Cotto has defended it with impressive wins against Zab Judah and Sugar Shane Mosley at Madison Square Garden. Gomez biggest career win to date is the upset victory he scored over Atlantic City's favorite blood and guts son Arturo Gatti. Although Gatti was favored to defeat Gomez, he was clearly in the twilight of his career. Gomez crushed Gatti in seven brutally one sided rounds. While Gomez has elected to make this a competitive and exciting fight, and firmly believes that he will emerge victorious, this fight is being seen as a stay busy showcase fight for Cotto.

Bob Arum, Cotto's promoter, is really using this event as a chance to preview a big fight later this year between Cotto and the winner of the welterweight title rematch, between IBF titlist Kermit Cintron and Antonio Margarito, on the undercard. Should Cotto take care of business, as is heavily expected, look for him to face the winner of Cintron/Margarito later this year in a much bigger fight.

In terms of the undercard fight, Cintron views his fight with Margarito as a chance to redeem himself for the one sided he defeat he was dealt at the hands of Margarito three years ago in Las Vegas. Back in April of 2005, Margarito who was defending his WBO title at that time, dominated Cintron for four rounds and dropped him four times enroute to an embarrassing fifth round technical knockout. Since that time, Margarito lost his belt to Paul Williams in July of 2007, while Cintron picked up the vacant IBF strap in a fight against Mike Suarez.

Cintron defended his title this past November with a 10th TKO of Jesse Feliciano in a less than inspiring performance on the undercard of Mayorga vs Vargas, while Margarito rebounded from the loss to Williams with an impressive one round blowout of Golden Johnson on the undercard of Cotto vs Mosley at Madison Square Garden. That leads up to the big welterweight rematch, which probably bares more significance than the showcase in the main event. This welterweight twinbill will be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing.

My predictions are as follows:

Cintron vs Margarito

I'm going with Margarito, either by a late stoppage or clear UD. Margarito is fully capable of dissecting Cintron and stopping him AGAIN but something tells me that Cintron just might play it safe and slip into survival mode if there comes a moment when he feels that his chances of finishing the fight are once again in jeopardy. Cintron won't want to get KOed again, but I'll go out on a limb and take Margarito by a 10th round TKO.

Cotto vs Gomez

No disrespect to Alfonso Gomez, who is a good fighter in his own right, but he is by no way, shape, or form, ready for this level of opposition. At least not at this time. A fight with an up and coming contender like Andre Berto, or even former champions Luis Collazo or Sharmba Mitchell, may have been better looks for Gomez. But the beauty of boxing is that fighters under these circumstances have opportunities to step into the square ring and prove critical skeptics like me wrong. Nonetheless, this fight has mismatch written all over it. Cotto throws bombs and Gomez has feather dusters at the end of his wrists. Cotto is several stratospheres above the "Contenders" and the shopworn, recycled and regurgitated Arturo Gatti that Gomez has faced to this point. Once Cotto hits Gomez, Gomez is going to start wondering, "What has Jeff Wald gotten me into here?" This fight is not going to last very long at all. Fortunately for us, I believe Gomez will come to fight. Unfortunately for him, it will be an exciting, yet very short night when he runs into Cotto's power punches in the process. Short but sweet!

Cotto by a third round KO.