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Margarito Suspended, Cotto Rematch Off?


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↵Yesterday, Antonio Margarito and his trainer, Javier Capetillo, were temporarily suspended by the California State Athletic Commission after the discovery of foreign substances in his handwraps prior to his fight with Shane Mosley this past Saturday night. Those substances were described by Mosley’s trainer, Nazim Richardson, and at least one witness from the CSAC as being “plaster-like,” leading to rampant speculation that Margarito was attempting to load his gloves in an effort to gain more punching power, a highly illegal, and, in some past cases, outright criminal bit of deception. ↵
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↵The suspension of Margarito and Capello pends a larger investigation.
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↵Both men have been ordered to attend a hearing on the matter in Van Nuys on February 10th. The commission has released no other information besides than spokesman Luis Farias affirming that the foreign substances in question have been deemed “suspicious enough” (in the words of the L.A. Times) to warrant the temporary suspensions until the full investigation had been completed. ↵
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↵This news already has led many in the boxing world to speculate that the scheduled July 13th rematch between Margarito and Miguel Cotto will not happen. Cotto has a fight with Michael Jennings on February 21st at Madison Square Garden, a bout that he is heavily favored to win. If he does so, it has been presumed that he would fight Margarito again on July 13th in Vegas. This fight was reported to be moving ahead despite the fact that Margarito lost his WBA welterweight title to Mosley by TKO in the 9th round of Saturday’s fight. ↵
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↵Now, the news of the suspensions of Margarito and Capello casts that bout in serious doubt. Lou DiBella, promoter of WBC welterweight titlist, Andre Berto, came out today and announced that Berto would be available to fight Cotto on July 13th if Margarito’s suspension holds and rules him out of contention.
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↵Berto certainly is a likely candidate for the date, although Mosley, coming off his stunning upset of Margarito, also has a legitimate claim on a rematch with Cotto and at first seems a more probable choice. Cotto won a unanimous decision over Mosley in November of 2007 in a stellar fight that had many at ringside disputing the judges’ scorecards. Cotto then went on to lose his WBA title at 147 to Margarito in July of 2008 in a thrilling, bloody affair that was deemed by many (including myself) as the 2008 Fight of the Year.
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↵In that Mosley just seized that WBA title himself by destroying Margarito, it’s unquestionable that he has earned himself another shot at Cotto, although one also could imagine a scenario where Cotto takes on Berto in July with the winner to meet Mosley in a welterweight unification bout in the fall. Either way, the startling fact remains that one name is glaringly absent from the many great welterweight fights that are on the table right now. Antonio Margarito, who just a week ago sat at the top of the division and the top of the boxing world, now sits on the sidelines, suspended and with his entire career and reputation lying in the balance.↵

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