Manos de Piedra (pt. 1)

February 16, 2009


     Lost among the mass media coverage of Alex Rodriguez’s positive steroid test, boxing suffered a severe blow this past week, as the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) revoked the boxing license of former lineal welterweight champion Antonio Margarito, as well as his trainer Javier Capetillo.  The commission concluded that Margarito’s hand wraps had in fact contained illegal pads with a foreign, plaster like substance coated on them, prior to his fight against Shane Moseley.  The illegal pads were discovered as they were removed following a protest by Moseley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson, about how Margarito’s left hand was wrapped.  Boxing fans reading this article will recognize my title as the popular nickname of boxing legend Roberto Duran, given to him in honor of his legendary punching abilities displayed in the ring.  However, the plaster like substance found in Margarito’s hand wraps, would have literally given him hands of stone if he had been allowed to fight with them.  This is a significant, and potentially dangerous, advantage for any boxer, and the punishment issued by the CSAC was fair (if not too light).  The Commission voted unanimously, 7-0, for revocation against both Margarito and Capetillo.  The substance on the wraps has not been identified yet, but should be revealed following the conclusion of tests this month. 

     Now that the commission has made its ruling, it is fair to speculate about the implications of Margarito’s actions, beginning with the financial ones.  Margarito’s ban will be honored throughout the United States, but he can (and according to his promoter, Bob Arum, likely will) fight in Mexico, which is not required to follow the rulings of U.S. commissions.  This has serious financial implications for Margarito who was scheduled to fight Cotto this summer (pending a Cotto victory next week) in a rematch of one of 2008’s fights of the year.  Margarito’s guaranteed money would have been in the multi millions for this fight, and the fight would have generated a huge pay-per-view draw, which also would have padded Margarito’s pockets.  This fight will no longer take place due to his license revocation, and any fight he makes in Mexico will earn him an extremely small percentage of his proposed earnings to face Cotto. 

     There is also another hidden financial risk in taking a fight in Mexico.  This one emerges from the important distinction between having your license suspended and having it revoked.  In a suspension, a fighter sits out an allotted amount of time, which when finished, immediately allows the fighter to return to the ring.  Following a revocation of a license, a fighter must re-apply to the commission for his license following the completion of his designated period of banishment.  There is no guarantee of relicensing, and if Margarito chooses to take a fight in Mexico, he will be circumventing the punishment issued by the CSAC.  This likely will not sit well with the commission, and may negatively influence their decision when Margarito’s reinstatement hearing takes place next February.  Therefore, it may be wise for Margarito to simply accept his punishment, take a year off from the ring, and await his then likely reinstatement next year. 

     This summarizes the serious financial fallout of Margarito’s revocation, and in my next article, I will cover the consequences of this ruling on Margarito’s stature in the boxing world.  


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