By Ivan G. Goldman
Never-say-quit promoter Bob arum is seeking to stick plaster master Antonio Margarito in our faces again. Why? Maybe just to prove that he can.
Margarito, at this point a one-man freak show, is in fact a tough hombre who can take a punch. But ever since his opponents’ cornermen and state inspectors started paying more attention to the contents of his hand wraps, he’s been getting his butt kicked all over the ring — except for a decision over tune-up fighter Robert Garcia in Mexico that was conducted when Margarito had no U.S. license.
The fact that Margarito can still find a place to compete demonstrates some of the more grievous problems of the fight game. He finds American venues here and there thanks to the existence of corrupt, broken boxing commissions and the skilled dodge ball his lawyers play as they search for weak, desperate locations that don’t mind turning the other way at a crime scene. For awhile his next fight location was to be Tucson, Arizona. But he was scratched from a May 26 Top Rank card there after reportedly injuring a foot. Tucson may yet stand next to Aguascalientes, Mexico, Arlington, Texas, and New York City in the odorous police line up of places willing to stage this crap.
At age 34 Margarito is a physical wreck. Unlike say, Floyd Mayweather, who’s a year older but doesn’t get hit much, Margarito looks like an open drawer in that ring. When the much smaller Manny Pacquiao faced him in November 2010, he pounded Margarito’s head into something that resembled a raw chuck roast after it fell off the back of a truck. He came out of there with a detached retina and a crushed eye socket. Basically those pushing punches of his don’t work so well without construction materials inside his gloves, and ineffective offense made his already deficient defense even more porous.
Margarito, who at this point is a one-man freak show, has been mentioned on some boxing sites as a possible entry on a card Arum is putting together for July 7 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, where the main event would be Nonito Donaire versus Christian Mijares. But if anyone from those sites checked it out, they would find integrity-challenged Margarito is unlicensed in California, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. He was refused a license at the end of his one-year suspension in the state where he was finally caught with plaster inside his wraps. That was just before he went out to get hammered into submission by Shane Mosley in January 2009.
Margarito, 38-8 (27), should of course have been banned for life. It’s a testament to Arum’s finagling skills that he has managed to place his damaged fighter on three cards since his Mosley Waterloo, two of them on big-time TV. Now his health is an issue, yet his frailty helps keep him in the sport. If he looks vulnerable enough in his next outing, boxing impresario Arum may match him against the rising Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who needs to be protected while he gradually evens out rough spots in his game. It’s a match, we’re told, that would be attractive among Mexicans. Maybe.
But after losing three of his last four, Margarito has plummeted from world-class to disgraced stepping stone to road kill. If Arum, for whatever perverse reasons, remains determined to keep feeding this guy to the public, sure, he can insert him on undercards. But his main event credentials look shredded beyond repair.
Ivan G. Goldman’s latest novel Isaac: A Modern Fable came out in April 2012 from Permanent Press. Information HERE