Margarito’s Camp Speaks on Hand Wraps Controversy

While most of the news surrounding the Shane Mosley/Antonio Margarito fight this past Saturday surrounds the dominant nature of Mosley’s upset victory, the boxing world remains in a state of silent shock and anticipation over another pressing issue – the illegal substances that were discovered in Margarito’s hand wraps prior to the fight, substances that were described by both Mosley’s chief second and a representative of the California State Athletic Commission as “plaster-like.” ↵
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↵The substances were removed and taken by the CSAC. If, after examination, the board deems that Margarito was trying to load his gloves to add more pop to his punches, he will be punished and his reputation will take a severe hit. Meanwhile, boxing will have another black-eye controversy on its hands. Margarito’s brutal victory over Miguel Cotto last July was one of the highlights of boxing’s stellar 2008 campaign, a fight that I deemed right here at TSB to be the Fight of the Year. Should it come out that Margarito was plastering his wraps for Mosley, many will suspect that he did so against Cotto as well and that it played a role in his victory, tarnishing what right now remains Margarito’s finest moment in the ring. ↵
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↵The first comments on the controversy emerged today from Margarito’s camp, as Francisco Espinoza, Margarito’s co-manager, addressed the issue to the Mexican newspaper, Primera Hora. As reported over at Boxingscene.com, Espinoza denied that there had been any wrongdoing by Margarito or his trainer, Javier Capetillo, and offered the explanation that the “plaster-like” substances in question were actually gauzes that had been prepared two weeks before the fight with a wet cloth that caused the gauze to become humid and then hard. ↵
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↵To put it mildly, this is an explanation that leaves a lot to be desired. If you are familiar at all with “gauze,” then you are probably aware that when it gets wet, it doesn’t tend to harden into anything that could be described as “plaster-like,” not unless it has been doctored in some way.
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↵I am a big fan of Tony Margarito and so I am not prepared to convict him without a trial. The substances removed from his gloves, whatever they were, are now in the custody of the CSAC and that body will rule on the issue in due time. Until then, I say he’s innocent until proven dirty. ↵
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↵That said, this is a very serious issue. In boxing’s most notorious case of glove-doctoring, Luis Resto actually did jail time for assault after pummeling Billy Collins with loaded gloves in a fight in 1983. Given the gravity of the accusation, I have been hoping since Saturday night that some plausible explanation for the condition of Margarito’s gloves would be offered quickly and succinctly by either the fighter or his camp. The crap that his co-manager came out with today does not meet those expectations, not by a longshot.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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