It was short and sweet, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum slamming the hammer down on a conference call he wanted no part of.
“I don’t know why we’re on this conference call when we haven’t heard from the New York Athletic Commission,” Arum said early Tuesday afternoon. “These issues will be discussed if and when New York doesn‘t allow the fight to be held. I don‘t want to start on contractual issues or anything like that. This conference call is really not appropriate at this time.”
Arum never treads lightly.
But he had a point. Press conferences and conference calls are designed to promote upcoming events, and the WBA super-welterweight title fight between champion Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) and Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) scheduled for Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden (HBO pay-per-view) has run into a snag. And as of the early afternoon conference call (ET), it still hadn’t been taken care of.
That’s because Margarito, who stopped Cotto in their first fight back in July 2008, had cataract surgery on his right eye this past spring. And the New York State Athletic Commission had yet to issue Margarito a license to fight in their state because of the eye surgery.
There was some rumblings of relocating the fight outside of New York, but according to Cotto, who has been training in Orlando, FL, the fight will be New York State or there won’t be a fight.
“I’m not going to present myself in any other state,” Cotto said on the call. “If the (NYSAC) says (Margarito) isn’t able to fight because of his eye, any commission anywhere has to respect that. I’m not going to fight anywhere else.
“When I signed for this fight with Margarito, it was scheduled to be held in New York City and that’s where it should be.”
While Arum insists that the eye with the cataract surgery (where an artificial lens is inserted in the eye) is probably even stronger since the surgery than Margarito’s other eye, the NYSAC isn’t buying it. And that’s the stickler.
Margarito injured the eye during a lop-sided loss to Manny Pacquiao in November of last year. He had the cataract surgery this past spring.
Asked if he would target the right eye if and when they fight, Cotto said he was going to use any kind of advantage he could get.
“I’m going to do my things in the ring,” he said. “I’m going to fight like I always fight, with my heart and my soul and everything I have. I’m going to do my work.“
Not that this fight needed any more controversy.
Margarito was the guy who had to re-wrap his hands in his locker room before his fight with Sugar Shane Mosley in January 2009 after it was discovered that his original hand wraps were “loaded.“
Mosley stopped Margarito, who was later suspended from fighting for more than a year because he had tried to enter the ring with the altered hand wraps.
That raised the question of whether or not Margarito wore those same loaded hand wraps when he stopped Cotto in the 11th round of their first fight in 2008.
Cotto claims there are photos which show similar red ink marks on the hand wraps used by Margarito in his fights with Mosley and Cotto.
“He used plaster on his wraps and that’s a weapon and you have to be treated like a criminal because you used a weapon in a sport,” Cotto said. “You can only use your skills and your conditioning. If we have another name for that, please tell me what it is.”
Tired and probably more than a little upset about the uncertainty of his championship fight in the Garden, Arum put the conference call to bed early.
“Would you wrap up this call, please,” he finally said.