The New York State Athletic Commission decided to grant boxer Antonio Margarito a license to box in NY, paving the way for the Mexican to battle Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3.
The Commission this afternoon held a hearing at their Manhattan headquarters, and received the recommendation of Manhattan-based opthamologist Dr. Michael Goldstein. Goldstein examined Margarito on Monday afternoon, and pronounced him an acceptable risk to box in NY.
All present, including Margarito attorney Daniel Petrocelli, Top Rank president Todd DeBoeuf, VP Carl Moretti, and about 12 boxing media persons, were on the edge of their seats as they waited for 1 1/2 hour for the commission committee to reach a verdict. Chair Melvina Lathan let deputy Edwin Torres announce, after a closed-door executive session, that the commission would listen to the medical evidence collected, and give Margarito the okay to compete here.
The 33-year old Margarito (38-7 with 27 KOs) had surgery to repair a broken orbital bone shortly after his decision loss to Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 13, 2010. He complained of vision problems following the surgery, and on May 19, 2011, had surgery to fix a cataract, which is clouding in the normally transparent crystalline lens of the eye. An artificial lens was inserted to replace the damaged lens. The boxer has said his vision was still clouded months following the May 19 surgery, but that the eye has since returned to normal. Margarito received the go ahead from the doctor who performed the surgery, Dr. Alan Crandall from Utah. His promoter, Top Rank, last Wednesday also introduced the judgement of Dr. Rolando Toyo, who said he thinks that Margarito's eye history shouldn't disqualify him from being licensed in NY.
The Commission, however, sought to have a physician not supplied by the promoter weigh in, they said at a public hearing Friday, which followed the Wednesday session, in which testimony from those for and against granting a license was heard. On Friday, NYSAC requested that Margarito meet with a NYSAC-chosen doctor, and Top Rank complied. Margarito flew to NY on Sunday night, and on Monday afternoon, was examined by Goldstein. His finding were communicated to Lathan, Torres and Tom Santino, today, at the public hearing.
Top Rank VP Carl Moretti exhaled heavily when the verdict came down, and tears streamed from his face. The commission didn't offer any discussion of their reasoning, preferring to let the decision speak for itself. DeBoeuf said that the verdict was a win for boxing fans, and that his company would never let a fighter compete if evidence existed that he was at risk.
Here is a blog post I did on the meeting and the scene at the headquarters.