News: Nevada State Athletic Commission Say Antonio Margarito Must Reapply For Licence In California

by James Slater - Mexico's Antonio Margarito, the disgraced former welterweight champion, did not get the result he and his promoter Bob Arum were hoping for yesterday, as he applied unsuccessfully for a licence to box in the state of Nevada. Dan Rafael of has reported how the 32-year-old - applying for the right to fight in America, a right which was taken from him due to the now infamous "hand-wraps" saga that went on ahead of Margarito's losing fight with Shane Mosley - attended a near two-hour hearing yesterday..

After the "spirited" hearing, the five commission members who took the appeal cast their votes, and Margarito was told, by a margin of 4 to 1, that he must reapply for a licence in California before the state of Nevada will again reconsider his request to fight in their state.

This decision on the part of the Nevada commission will, of course, have deflated both Margarito and Bob Arum. Arum has big plans for "Tony," including possible super-fights against the likes of Manny Pacquiao and, in what would be a massive return fight, Miguel Cotto. Arum talked of having Margarito in against one of these big names as soon as November or December of this year. But now, unless Margarito's appeal before The California commission is fast in coming, and unless they feel the former champ is fit to box, these big fights will have to wait.

At yesterday's appeal, Margarito again protested his innocence regarding his illegally wrapped hands, saying he "never felt anything hard or irregular" being put on his hands as then-trainer Javier Capetillo got him ready for the Mosley fight back in January of 2009.

"Before the fight, my trainer, Javier Capetillo, my former trainer, put a knuckle pad made of gauze on my hand," Margarito said yesterday. "I learned later the knuckle pad had something irregular on the inside but I didn't know that truthfully in the moment. The knuckle pad didn't feel different to ones he had put on my hands before. I never felt anything hard or irregular.

"In that moment, I was focused on one thing and that was preparing myself to go out to the fight with [Shane] Mosley."

Despite this plea of innocence/ignorance, however, only one commission member, commission chairwoman Pat lundvall, voted to grant Margarito his licence.

Many fans will no doubt agree with how the commission refused to let Margarito box again in Nevada so soon after being suspended, while others still may feel the 32-year-old has paid his dues and should have been granted his licence. And, hearing what Margarito had to say about when he had his hands wrapped, there is, of course, a chance he is telling the truth. After all, fighters are "in the zone" minutes before heading out for a big fight; maybe Margarito DIDN'T know his trainer was up to something fishy?

This line of thinking is to give the Mexican a huge benefit of the doubt, however - something The Nevada commission obviously were not willing to do. Some may feel Nevada took the easy way out, and have merely passed the problem of making a decision on this whole matter on to someone else; but the final decision on whether or not Margarito will ever be allowed to box in America again will now rest with The California Athletic Commission.

How soon it will be before Margarito sits before The California Commission is anyone's guess.

Article posted on 10.07.2010

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