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20 NOVEMBER 2018


Margarito’s Situation Brings Back Bad Memories

Mosley hammers Margarito:
Mosley hammers Margarito:

By Matthew Hurley

In light of the recent controversy surrounding the hand wraps of Antonio Margarito and whether or not chief cornerman Javier Capetillo applied a “plaster-like” substance to the wraps before Shane Mosley’s trainer Naazim Richardson demanded they be rewrapped, subsequently discovering the apparent transgression, thoughts of many turned to a shameful boxing night in a packed Madison Square Garden back in 1983.

That night, on the undercard of Roberto Duran’s eighth round TKO victory over WBA junior middleweight champion Davey Moore, welterweight Luis Resto battered rising contender Billy Collins for 10 unmerciful rounds. Collins suffered hideous swelling around both eyes, which later revealed a torn iris that caused permanently blurred vision and ended his career.

At the time the boisterous crowd, anxiously awaiting Duran’s ring entrance, were unaware of a brewing controversy. As Collins’ father, Billy Sr. who worked his son’s corner, shook Resto’s still gloved hand in congratulations where he should have felt padding he felt nothing.

The video, which can be seen on Youtube, shows an emotional Collins Sr. shout out, “All the padding is out of the damn gloves! No padding!”

Resto appears to look for his manager Panama Lewis before pulling away. Collins Sr. then calls for the Commissioner.

The story continued to unfold as the gloves, but not Resto’s hand wraps, were confiscated in the dressing room by the New York State Athletic Commission. It was later confirmed that an ounce of padding had been removed from each eight-ounce glove. The ongoing investigation resulted in convictions in 1986 of Resto – assault, conspiracy and criminal possession of a deadly weapon, his fists. He was given a three year sentence and served 2 ½ years and was banned from boxing for life. His disgraced trainer Panama Lewis, who had been at the center of the ‘black bottle’ scandal during the Arron Pryor – Alexis Arguello fight in 1982, was convicted on the same counts as well as tampering and served 2 ½ years of a six year sentence. He was banned from being ringside for life.

The whole sordid mess was further cast in a dark shadow when, nine months later, Billy Collins, his career over and depression taking hold of his life, crashed his car in a drunken haze ending his life at twenty-two years of age. His father would forever maintain that his son committed suicide and holds that fateful night in 1983 and the circumstances and participants responsible for his son’s tragic end.

Resto would deny for years that he was aware the gloves had been tampered with. In a 2000 interview with Steve Farhood he would claim that, “The gloves felt the same as always. There were no holes. If the padding was out, when you hit somebody, you’d feel pain. You’d break your hands. My hands were fine. And if I knew the gloves had been tampered with, why would I have gone to Collins’ corner after the fight to congratulate him?”

Jump ahead eight years and Resto’s song does not remain the same. In a documentary entitled ‘Cornered’ directed by Resto’s friend Eric Drath, the fighter not only comes clean about the missing padding but also the hand wraps that were not confiscated by the Commission.

In an admission that only added insult to injury Resto claims that trainer Lewis also put plaster on the tape over his knuckles, which basically hardened into a cast. For 10 rounds Collins was being hit with unpadded fists encased in plaster, equivalent of two concrete blocks slamming into his face.

Resto also admitted that Lewis had done the same in two previous fights and never protested his trainer’s heinous indiscretion.

“I said let’s go ahead and do it.” (Tim Smith, Daily News 4/4/2008)

Lewis denies the new allegations.

Recently Collins’ widow, Andrea Collins-Nile, filed a motion to re-open the case against the New York State Commission.

In the aftermath of Shane Mosley’s destruction of Antonio Margarito, once again a fighter and his trainer are coming under heavy scrutiny by not only the California State Athletic Commission but by fans and the media.

In regards to Margarito’s current situation boxing writer Michael Rosenthal commented that, “If they find plaster in the pads, it could haunt him. The obvious question: Is plaster the reason he finally reached the top of the boxing world after so many years as a journeyman? The thought is heartbreaking.”

Although all should withhold judgment until the Commission’s investigation is complete, both Margarito and his chief cornerman Javier Capetillo were temporarily suspended. Fighter and trainer have been asked to appear at a hearing scheduled for February 10, 2009.

Margarito, apparently reeling from the accusations, recently told ESPN Deportes that his trainer used no foreign substance on the wrap.

“What they removed was tape. I don’t want the people to think that I won my fights because of a hand wrap. I won them because of my training and my sacrifice.”

Should the commission return with findings that suggest otherwise Antonio Margarito’s recent accomplishments in the ring will fall under a heavy veil of suspicion. He could also face stiff penalties, both monetary and a lengthy suspension. Heartbreaking indeed.

February 1, 2009

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