Possible Revenge for Miguel Cotto the Only Good Thing About Antonio Margarito Fighting Again

It's hard to think of another athlete from any sport, let alone another boxer, who went from likable to despised as quickly as Antonio Margarito. Maybe Ivan Drago to the Russians in Rocky IV, but a real life example escapes me.

One minute Tony was a hard-working welterweight who finally got his shot at the big time, and a few months later he's boxing's Public Enemy No. 1 thanks to the illegal plaster-like substance found in his hand wraps. It was a huge fall, but a deserved one for a man who was prepared to put Shane Mosley's well-being in danger.

And let's face it: that lack of respect for another man's health is what separates Margarito from the Mark McGwire's of the sports world. It's one thing to give yourself an edge and something else entirely when that edge could result in serious injury - or worse.

Margarito is set to return to the ring in less than two months on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey bout in Dallas. The setting is important, because it allowed Margarito to apply for a license in Texas instead of seeking reinstatement in California, where he was punished in the first place.

Kevin Iole's recent column on Yahoo! Sports explains why Tony should be allowed to box again. Iole doesn't like it, but he points out that the Tijuana Tornado is following the rules that are in place.

He served his suspension and switched trainers. He didn't apologize or admit any wrong-doing, but that's to be expected when the entire strategy for Margarito after the controversy was to pawn the whole thing off on former trainer Javier Capetillo.

For what it's worth, I agree with Iole's theory that there was no way Margarito didn't know about the wraps. I also don't think it was the first time he did it, and on that point I can speak from personal experience.

For over a decade, I worked at an amusement park where one of my main job duties was to uncover internal theft. Almost to a person, the employees we eventually caught red-handed tried to claim it was their first time. We were able to prove that most of them were lying.

That thought allows us to segue to the last man to lose to Margarito, Miguel Cotto. As most boxing fans know, Cotto suffered a brutal 11th-round stoppage, the first of his career and a beating from which some observers think he still hasn't recovered.

Was Margarito cheating on that night too? We'll never know for sure, but logic tells us there's a very good chance. Cotto has pretty much done everything but say he believes it.

With Tony active again, one gets the feeling that Cotto is licking his chops at the thought of avenging that defeat. Knowing what we do about what makes Miguel tick, I;d be surprised if he didn't.

Assuming Margarito wins his comeback bout and Cotto gets past his next foe (supposedly Yuri Foreman in June), expect the talk of the two of them facing each other again to heat up. On one hand, it stinks, because it will be a big payday that Margarito doesn't deserve.

But Cotto is a class act who is a credit to boxing. He's well worth rooting for, and if he's able to exorcise some demons, it will make up for the distasteful sight of Margarito fighting in the spotlight again.

It doesn't sit well with me that Tony is back. I'm a big believer in second chances, but not once you've proven to be so callous with another man's health, or at least his livelihood.

Still, if it gives Cotto a chance for some revenge and redemption, I'm all for it. That may be the only way this story has a satisfying ending.

Posted by The Franchise


ICUH8N said...

Has he been relicensed though? I hope he hasn't and doesn't get relicensed. That's the worst kind of cheating. He's already a huge welterweight with a granite chin, why would he try to cheat like that? You're messing with another persons life. I wish he got banned for life!

uatu said...

I Don't think it's official, but from everything that has been written, and that Arum has said, it sure seems to be a forgone conclusion.