Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Antonio Margarito vs. Miguel Cotto 2 - Understanding the Margarito Licensing Situation

One thing that has been requested has been a little more boxing coverage here at Bloody Elbow, so going forward we'll touch on major boxing events and recap the weekend's action. But your home for the best boxing coverage at SB Nation is still Bad Left Hook, so make sure you keep up with things there as well. We'll be starting our new boxing coverage with a two part feature on the Antonio Margarito vs. Miguel Cotto fight, today discussing Margarito's issues acquiring a license for the rematch scheduled for December 3 and tomorrow diving into the incredible marketing of the fight.

The very mention of Antonio Margarito's name is enough to strike up an immediate emotional reaction from most combat fans. Margarito went from on top of the world after defeating Miguel Angel Cotto in a thrilling fight in July of 2008 he got a fight with Shane Mosley in January 2009. During the hand wrapping process for the Mosley fight, Shane's trainer noticed Margarito's wraps had a strange substance on them. The wraps were eventually found to have plaster of paris on them, which would have hardened to give him a dangerous advantage in the bout.

Margarito would have to have his hands re-wraped and would then go on to take a vicious beating at the hands of Mosely in "Sugar" Shane's last great performance.

The end result of the handwrapping controversy was a year suspension of Margarito's boxing license by the state of California and a reputation that will never recover.

Margarito is set to face Cotto in a rematch on December 3 in New York City. Cotto feels that his loss the first time around can't be fully accepted as Margarito may have cheated and Antonio is looking to prove that he didn't cheat the first time and won't need to this time either.

Unfortunately for fight fans excited to see the bout, Margarito has been having trouble acquiring a license from the NYSAC because of a surgically repaired eye.

Some may be wondering why Margarito is even able to apply for a license after the plaster situation. The answer has multiple parts:

  • The blame was put on Margarito's trainer, Javier Capetillo. He claims he simply picked up wraps off a table as he was in a rush and it was not an intentional act. During the hearing with the commission Margarito threw Capetillo under the bus, saying he didn't understand why he would do such a thing.
  • The commission couldn't pin the fault on Margarito, finding that he actually did nothing wrong and may well have been ignorant of the entire situation.
  • Finally, the biggest part of why the suspension wouldn't have held up for over a year. In cases like these, there are standard evidence handling guidelines. It appears that there were serious problems with the chain of custody of the evidence the evening of the Mosley fight. The wraps appear to have changed hands several times during the hours that followed, including spending time with multiple members of Mosley's camp. This prevented further action from being taken, including possible legal action against Margarito and his camp.

So while it's easy to get upset with the fact that Margarito is allowed to fight, it also requires some acknowledgement of the California State Athletic Commission's failures.

More on the current state of Margarito's license after the jump.


November of 2010 saw Margarito return to an American boxing ring for the first time since his suspension to face Manny Pacquiao. Margarito displayed a ton of heart as he took a violent beating at the hands of Pacquiao for twelve rounds.

After the fight it was determined that Margarito suffered a fractured orbital bone which required surgery to fix. He then had to have an additional surgery done to repair the lens of his eye. That second surgery was done by one of the leading experts in the field and he declared the work a success. However, hose two surgeries and the health of Antonio's eye have the NYSAC hesitant to grant a license. Recent shots of Margarito on HBO's 24/7 series show where some of that concern comes from (repaired eye is Margarito's right):




Watch Cotto Vs Margarito 2 Fight

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