‘PLASTER OF PARIS’-TAINTED REPUTATION
By Alex P. Vidal/PNS
BOSTON, Massachusetts – Antonio Margarito needs a resounding win over Manny Pacquiao Novermber 13 to infuse blood in his sagging career, zapped by embarrassing allegations he tampered his handwraps to beat his opponents.
Margarito became fight business’ symbol of shame and scandal after the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) suspended him and his trainer Javier Capetillo and eventually revoked their licenses months after yielding his WBA welterweight crown on a 9th round disposal to Sugar Shane Mosley at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on January 24, 2009.
His nightmare began when Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson, observed that Margarito (38-2, 27 KO) had a pasty white substance in his handwraps prior to the fight.
When California State Inspector Dean Lohuis asked Margarito’s hands to be rewrapped, they found out that the wet pads in the wrapping contained plaster used to make casts.
Mosley’s doctor, Robert Olvera, joined the fray and after subsequent investigations, the California Department of Justice laboratory confirmed the substance to be similar in nature to plaster of Paris.
SULFUR AND CALCIUM
The wet substance contained sulfur and calcium which, when combined with oxygen, forms “Plaster of Paris”, it was reported.
Margarito claimed innocence over the controversy and denied he had knowledge about the attempted to cheating.
It appeared 32-year-old Margarito’s fistic career had come to a catastrophic end when it was reported he had been banned from boxing in the United States on principle that state boxing commissions generally honor suspensions imposed in other states.
However, he was scheduled to fight Carson Jones in the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao versus Joshua Clottey WBO rumble last March 13 at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas but Top Rank scrapped him from the promotion pending application for his license in the State of Texas.
He was finally back in action on May 8, 2010, scoring a 10-round unanimous decision over Roberto Garcia to capture the vacant but nondescript WBC international light middleweight title in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Five feet and 11 inches-tall Margarito finally got his license in Texas early this year and on July 23, Top Rank chief executive officer Bob Arum announced he would face Pacquiao for the vacant 12-round WBC super welterweight or light middleweight title in the Cowboys Stadium.
Heavier than Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KO) and with 73 inches (185 cm) in reach, Margarito considers his fight with the very popular Filipino as the most important in his career that started 17 years ago when he made a successful debut at the age of 15, whipping Jose Trujillo in Tijuana, Mexico by decision.
Born in Torrance, California and now residing in Baja California, Mexico, Margarito has collected three world crowns and will shoot for his fourth title against the 31-year-old Pacquiao.
African Clottey and Puerto Rican Miguel Angel Cotto are the common denominators between Pacquiao and Margarito.
Four years ago on December 2, 2006, Margarito defeated Clottey on points. Clottey also lost on points to Pacquiao.
On July 26, 2008, Margarito humiliated the previously unscathed Cotto via 11th round TKO in Las Vegas, Nevada for WBA welterweight title. Pacquiao also tortured and toppled Cotto in the 12th and final stanza on Nov. 11, 2009 also in Las Vegas, Nevada.