Antonio Margarito is making plans to get back into action.
And not a lot of people are happy about it.
The issue isn’t necessarily that he is too old – indeed, he is “only” 35, which makes him a spring chicken compared to some fighters who are still champions – but that he is an injury risk and someone who perhaps should not be afforded the benefit of the doubt due to past transgressions.
Margarito, who became infamous in boxing circles when he was found to be using plaster of paris – whether with his knowledge or not – before a bout with Shane Mosley in 2009, is very seriously thinking about returning to the ring, although since such a thing is in the preliminary stages, no opponent or date has yet been seriously discussed.
Margarito came up the hard way as a pro in Mexico, fighting some decent opponents relatively early. In fact, he lost three of his first twelve fights, but he had talent, and that became abundantly evident. Margarito won the WBO welterweight title in 2002 against Antonio Diaz, and although he was unsuccessful when trying to move up to 154 against Daniel Santos, he was able to defend his welterweight title seven times, before annexing the IBF and WBA belts with big wins over Kermit Cintron and Miguel Cotto. His victory over Cotto was the first blemish on the Puerto Rican’s record.
That led to the fight with Mosley, and prior to that fight “wet wraps” were discovered by Mosley’s trainer, Nazim Richardson. They were seized and Margarito had to be re-wrapped. He was dominated that night by Mosley, suffering a ninth-round TKO which afforded Mosley a career rebirth. After an investigation, he had his license revoked by the state of California, along with his trainer.
Hence the lack of celebration surrounding talk of comeback plans.
Of course, Margarito was not through making paydays, even after the so-called “Plaster Gate” scandal. He made a return in Mexico against Roberto Garcia and then got a license in Texas to fight Manny Pacquiao, against whom he was game but lost a one-sided 12-round decision. And in his last outing, in December 2011, he gave Cotto an opportunity for revenge, getting stopped in ten rounds and suffering what looked to be a serious injury to his right eye. It was the validation Cotto needed to move on to a fight against Floyd Mayweather.
Margarito had retired after that fight, but like many fighters, life’s little dilemmas have put him in a position where he must make some money. A costly divorce set him back quite a bit, and he has had a child with his new relationship.
Margarito’s record currently sits at 38-8 with 27 knockouts. He has won one fight in the last five years. He also is a big risk from the standpoint of liability, due to the eye condition, which was present even before the fight with Cotto. However, standards vary from commission to commission, and there are always outlets outside of the United States, so it is quite likely that if there is a financial formula that can work for all parties involved, including, obviously, the promoter and yes, the commission, Margarito may find himself a place to fight.
Whether the demand is there will be largely dependent on the opponent and public sentiment toward Margarito, so no one should be making definite plans as of yet.