In many aspects, the rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito held at Madison Square Garden mirrored their controversial fight three years ago. The one important distinction is that, this time, Cotto emerged the winner, earning a 10th-round TKO to retain his WBA junior middleweight title.

Cotto bettered his record to 37-2 with 30 knockouts, while Margarito slipped to 38-8. As he did when they first touched gloves in July of 2008, Cotto, a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, took control of the fight from the opening bell, which wasn’t rung until shortly after midnight.

With zealous supporters of both fighters waving Puerto Rican and Mexican flags, the champion masterfully established an advantageous distance from which to operate. As Margarito, a product of Tijuana, Mexico, customarily moved forward with relentlessness, the 31-year-old Cotto craftily positioned himself at various angles relative to his opponent and freely unleashed rigid left jabs as a precursor to a stinging right hand.

Margarito, 33, absorbed the blows in an attempt to get inside and administer punishment of his own, a tactic that served him well when he battered Cotto and won by an 11th-round TKO to claim the WBA welterweight title.

As the scenario played out in front of 21, 239 ticket holders, Cotto built a decisive lead at mid-fight and was ahead by five rounds to one on the AmNews scorecard. By then, Margarito’s right eye was virtually shut, his only chance of winning knocking out Cotto.

It wasn’t to be, and ring doctor Anthony Curreri called a halt to the match as a result of Margarito’s battered eye, which would receive 12 stitches. Margarito said if the fight had continued, he would have ultimately been the winner. “I [needed] more rounds to beat him,” was his evident analysis.

As for Cotto, he reaffirmed his disdain for Margarito. “I’m here with all my crowd and all my people. He [Cotto] means nothing to me.”

Six months after Cotto and Margarito’s initial meeting, Shane Mosley defeated Margarito with a ninth-round TKO. An illegal substance was found in Margarito’s hand wraps and he was subsequently suspended. Cotto’s backers plausibly claimed Margarito also used illegal wraps against him as well-an accusation that was unproven. Nevertheless, the win was still a high measure of retribution for Cotto.