Margarito Cleared To Fight Cotto At The Garden

Cotto and Margarito clash again on Dec 3
Cotto and Margarito clash again on Dec 3
By Clive Bernath; The New York State Athletic Commission finally granted Antonio Margarito a boxing licence to fight Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden on December 3.

The eagerly awaited rematch between the bitter rivals has been in doubt for weeks due the Commission’s concern about Matgarito’s surgically repaired right eye but on Monday Dr. Michael T. Goldstein, the NYSAC approved doctor examined Margarito and declared him fit to fight. Margarito had been already been cleared to fight by various other eye specialists but the Commission wanted to make perfectly sure he was fit.

That’s just as well because 18,000 tickets for the rematch had been sold and if the fight had been forced to take place in Denver, Colorado, the decision would have proved a massive headache for promoter Bob Arum.

However, on a conference on Tuesday, a number of hours before the official announcement, Cotto revealed he was not prepared to fight the rematch with Margarito anywhere but Madison Square Garden.

"If the medical people from the commission(NYSAC) say Margarito is not able to fight because of his eyes, everybody has to respect it," Cotto said on the call. "The athletic commissions in the U.S. have to respect it. I’m not going to fight anywhere else."

Anyway, the full public drama regarding where the rematch is to take place has now been resolved and both fighters now have 10 days to focus their attention on the fight in the ring.

In case anyone needs reminding, the pair first fought at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in July, 2008. On that that occasion Margarito emerged victorious via 11th round tko for the WBA welterweight crown.

At the time it was generally accepted that Margarito battled to a famous victory but all that changed when Margarito fought Shane Mosley in his next fight. Prior to the bout Mosley’s trainer Nazim Richardson discovered a plaster like padding on the hand wraps of Margarito, which led to the fighter and his trainer Javier Capetillo being suspended by the Californian State Athletic Commission, the regulatory body where the fight took place.

As the Mosley fight took place just six months after defeating Cotto, the Puerto Rican boxing legend understandably suspects Margarito’s gloves may have been loaded against him as well.

There is certainly no proof or accusation levelled at Margarito but Cotto has his own opinion and did label Margarito "a criminal" during the first episode of HBO’s excellent "24/7" series Saturday night.

Cotto may well suspect that Margarito wore illegal hand wraps during their first fight and it will certainly play a part in the last week or so before the most controversial rematch of the year. The other certainty as this massive New York clash plays out is that there is no question at all this will be a highly charged battle not to be missed. If Cotto vs Margato ll is not ‘Fight of the Year’ it is guaranteed to run a very close second.

November 23, 2011
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