Antonio Margarito’s Place in Boxing History

Antonio MargaritoBy JM Siasat: At one point in time, Antonio Margarito (38-8, 27KO’s) also known as the Tijuana Tornado was touted as “the most avoided man in boxing” for his heart, size, strength, stamina and chin nobody wanted to deal with. A come forward pressure fighter who never stops coming throwing non-stop punches round after round.

His biggest career win came in July 26, 2008 when he fought Miguel Cotto for the World Boxing Association (WBA) world welterweight title. A fight some experts called a modern boxing classic, the Tijuana Tornado won by stopping Miguel Cotto in round eleven handing him his first defeat.

The stoppage of Cotto made Antonio Margarito the best fighter in the welterweight division and elevated his status as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.

January 24, 2009 in his first WBA welterweight title defence against Shane Mosley marked a huge turning point in Antonio Margarito’s career, a night that will be forever remembered for two things; a brutal defeat and a failed attempt to load his gloves with plaster.

Coming of his best win to date, Margarito was a 4 to 1 favourite going into the bout with some expecting him to be the first fighter to stop Shane Mosley. In contrary to what many predicted, the fight featured Mosley dominating Margarito by throwing beautiful combinations and unleashing monstrous power shots landing at will. Mosley stopped Margarito in round nine.

The infamous incident automatically cast a large shadow in Margarito’s previous career wins. How long have he been using plaster? Did he use it in the Cotto fight? So on and so forth.

In spite some valid arguments, Margarito would never admit of loading his gloves with plaster in his previous bouts. The other responsible half of the incident, former trainer Javier Capetillo also denied the allegations.

Margarito would then be suspended to fight in the USA and Javier Capetillo has been forever banned to work on a corner again in the USA.

After more than a year off he finds himself in the ring again on May 08, 2010 when he fought journeyman Robert Garcia in Mexico. The fight ended in a unanimous decision in favour of Margarito in what many experts called a mediocre performance.

In situations like these, most promoters would have given up on a fighter but Top Rank CEO Bob Arum remained fateful and sticked with Margarito insisting on his innocence of trying to load his gloves with plaster.

Upon being granted a license in the state of Texas USA, Bob Arum gave Margarito his biggest career payday when he was pitted against Manny Pacquiao at a catchweight of 150lbs for the WBC world super welterweight title.

To no one’s surprise, a game and no quit Margarito showed up in the fight as he got battered for the whole twelve rounds resulting to a broken orbital bone in his right eye. Pacquaio won the fight by a lopsided unanimous decision.

Margarito was eager to put all suspicions behind in his next fight and was given the chance to do so when he signed to fight Miguel Cotto in a rematch at the Madison Square Garden, New York. Miguel Cotto triumphed as the fight was stopped in round ten when Margarito’s right eye was completely shut.

Unlike the first fight, Cotto never appeared to be hurt, cut or as bruised even when Margarito applied the same pressure and non-stop punches.

Whether or not Margarito was mentally done after the Mosley fight, fact of the matter is, Antonio Margarito never looked the same after the failed attempt to load plaster in his gloves.

With fights with Pacquiao, Paul Williams, Mosley and wins over Cotto, Cintron, Clottey, Andrew Lewis, Frankie Randall, Antonio Diaz and being three time world champion, some might make a case of Antonio Margarito entering the hall of fame in the future.

While there are valid arguments that he could have used plaster early in his career, there is no concrete evidence that Margarito loaded plaster in his gloves prior to the Mosley fight so he shall always be provided with the benefit of the doubt.

Boxing history has always been kind to its fighters. The sport doesn’t remember Ali for getting beat by Spinks, Duran quitting against Leonard or Leonard getting beat by Camacho. By the end of the day, the sport highlights the best days of its fighters not the worst.

Margarito expressed his willingness to continue fighting after getting beat by Cotto. Whether he goes on or not, this writer think he’s done. And while history has always been kind to its fighters, the huge question mark that lingers all over the name of Antonio Margarito will be hard to ignore. How will boxing remember the Tijuana Tornado? We will find out years from now.

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Article posted on 23.12.2011

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