Antonio Margarito’s ring return was greeted by many with a ‘forgive and forget’ attitude, with the hand-wrapping controversy a distant memory for fans and media alike; a stark contrast to the outrage and resentment in the public a year ago.
I wasn’t offering a welcome back hug to the fighter who claims he was deceived by his immoral trainer. Margarito still disputes today that he knew nothing about the two rock hard pads implanted in his hand wraps by Javier Capetillo, who sacrificed himself for Margarito’s career.
Despite some early negative press, Margarito outrageously finds himself in a better position sixteen months on. Bob Arum has pledged that he will face Manny Pacquiao in the Fall, guaranteeing that Margarito will be joining the exclusive eight-figure salary club with the leading figures of the sport.
So far, the commissioners have stood firm, refusing to restore his license. In their opinion, he has not done his time. The case was revisited after the indefinite year suspension, but he was refused by the usually lenient state of Texas. Arum blamed California’s influence, who have been stubborn in their case against Margarito.
The lack of remorse shown by Margartio and the constant digs towards the commissioners didn’t help his cause. He disobeyed his rejection by reminding everyone he could fight in his native country Mexico, through taking countless interviews outlining his arrogant return plan back to the top, while crying innocent.
The more and more media coverage Margarito received, the more the fans began to believe his story. But when asked about Capetillo’s return, the fans that completely neglected the elephant in Margarito’s room will be the first to let rip at Capetillo’s incompetence.
At least Capetillo was man enough to own up, and for me, that deserves a chance at redemption, just as any guilty man should if that second chance comes from a place of empathy. I don’t approve of Capetillo’s actions on that January 24 night, not at all, but at least he had the fortitude to admit that he was in the wrong.
I don’t know if Margarito had cheated before, frankly I don’t have the knowledge, but I find it improbable that he would have loaded in a fight where he was a 3-to-1 favourite, but not in a fight where he was a 3-to-1 underdog.
‘Plaster-gate’ has drawn the obvious comparison with the Resto-Collins fight back in 1983. To this day, Resto and his trainer Panama Lewis are banned from boxing, partly because they didn’t take responsibility over their actions until they were broke and needed the money.
The name Panama Lewis is enough to send shivers down any long time follower of the sport’s spine. But why has Margarito been allowed to wriggle out of the same punishment implemented on Lewis and Resto twenty-six years ago?
The fighter is the head of any team, and if he doesn’t like what his trainer is plotting, he can easily tell him to sling his hook. Margarito knew exactly what the situation was in that dressing room, and was caught red-handed with the illegal hand wraps. Margarito should not be treated differently to any other fighter, trainer or cutman, regardless of their status in the game. Like Resto and Lewis, Margarito should be banned for life.