Antonio Margarito And His Comeback – The world of boxing is full of many clichés. The retired fighter who can’t stay away even though his peak years are long gone evokes a strong image, and may bring to the minds of some the former welterweight world champion Antonio Margarito.
Margarito is fighting this Saturday, March 5th for the first time in four plus years, as he faces veteran Jorge Paez Jr. in Mexico City in a fight that is going to air on TV Azteca and on beIN in the United States.
Part of the reason that Margarito has not fought in four years is he sustained a great deal of damage to his left eye in his November of 2010 fight with Manny Pacquiao, and his final fight with Miguel Cotto in December of 2011 likely aggravated the damage. Since then Margarito has been denied a license to fight in the United States for failing the eye exam portion of the required medical tests.
The picture that accompanies this article is one that was taken this week, with the fight just hours away now. Now, perhaps it is a bad picture and the eye is sound enough to take repeated blows, but Margarito’s eye in that picture does not look quite right.
The requirements for a boxing license where boxing is regulated in the United States ask for a series of eye exams to be passed, including a test that requires a specialist (opthalmologist) and cannot be done by just a regular eye doctor.
See the Nevada State Commission’s form for an eye test here, as an example.
Antonio Margarito And His Comeback
Now, I am not there at the scene, but I highly doubt that Margarito has submitted to all that type of testing for this fight. If he has, then the exams should be easy enough to produce.
Few will talk about the medical profession in a bad light, but simply producing the exams or forms signed by a doctor of Margarito’s choosing is not enough. The Nevada State form actually puts the onus on the doctor, as he must sign approval for the fight on the form.
Another boxing cliché may actually be more applicable. If the referee asks a hurt fighter if he wants to continue, the answer almost inevitably comes back “yes”. A fighter will always want to continue…
Margarito says his eye is fine, but in this case, it may just be a twist on “the fighter wants to continue.” So the exams should be held in a public manner and the very real question of medical ethics should be on the table.
The fact is, none of this addresses the OTHER big controversy in Margarito’s past, as there are still questions about the “hand wrapping incident” that are being swept under the rug in the absence of an authority who can ask the questions.
The official story is that Margarito and trainer Javier Capetillo were caught with a wet, plaster-of-paris type of material in their hand-wraps prior to Margarito’s fight with Shane Mosley on Jan. 24, 2009 in Los Angeles. Mosley trainer Nazeem Richardson forced the California State Boxing Commission to re-wrap Margarito’s hands prior to the fight. Afterwards, Margarito was suspended for a year, and an investigation by the California State Commission found that Margarito did not know his hands were being illegally wrapped. Capetillo too was suspended, and he chalked up his use of the illegal material to a “mistake”.
The fight prior to Mosley saw Margarito defeat Miguel Cotto in a fight that many feel Cotto was never the same after. Margarito and Capetillo have consistently denied that his hands were wrapped illegally for his first fight with Cotto. But the matter has been left there, as there is no entity with the type of authority to ask those questions. Because the Cotto-Margarito fight happened in Nevada, the California State Commission’s inquiries did not extend to the Cotto fight. The Nevada State Commission has never taken up the matter.
Many boxing people question how Margarito could not have known what was in his hand wraps. A close look at the fight shows Margarito relying on power shots with his left. He repeated the left uppercut over and over, a technique that he had not shown before with that type of frequency. Photos of Margarito after the fight show blood on his left hand wraps.
Cotto himself has asked that the matter be taken more seriously and looked into. If the hand wraps were loaded for the Cotto fight, Freddie Roach labeled it “attempted murder.” Former Light Heavyweight world champion Montell Griffin stated in an interview that if an investigation showed Margarito used loaded gloves against Cotto, Margarito “should be in jail”. But there is no authority to look at this issue, so it will likely continue to be swept under the rug.
There is no denying Margarito’s charisma and star-power, so if he shows that he has anything left in the tank, it’s a fair guess that Bob Arum and Top Rank will see the dollars signs and bring him back. If not, some other promoter will.
Check out this video about Antonio Margarito’s Comeback at The Boxing Channel