Antonio Margarito's camp regrets video
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Antonio Margarito has repeatedly said he is sorry for a hand-wrapping scandal that almost ended his boxing career. Now his camp has had to apologize again, for something else only days before getting into the ring against Manny Pacquiao.
A video interview posted by Elie Seckbach of FanHouse recently raced across the Internet, in which Margarito and Brandon Rios -- both of whom are trained by Robert Garcia -- appear to mock the Parkinson's disease of Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach.
Before even talking about the junior middleweight title bout during a news conference Wednesday at Cowboys Stadium, Garcia first apologized for the video.
"This was nothing to do with the disease that Freddie Roach has. We know it's something that we don't wish [on] nobody," Garcia said Wednesday. "It's something personal, something between Team Pacquiao and Team Margarito. I just wanted to make that clear."
When Roach was at the podium a few minutes later, he didn't acknowledge what Garcia said or even refer to the video. After the formal program was completed, though, Roach said he wasn't buying Garcia's apology.
"It affects a lot more people than me," Roach said. "A lot of people have Parkinson's."
Roach said he has both Parkinson's and Parkinson's Syndrome, which can be caused by repeated blows to the head. He was a journeyman lightweight in the 1980s, running up a record of 40-13 while fighting 406 often brutal rounds.
Roach has since gained fame by training fighters, especially Pacquaio, who is now the biggest draw in the sport. He's in demand for interviews, stars on HBO's "24/7" show, and is filming a pilot for a reality show that will be based out of his Wild Card gym in Hollywood.
But the effects of the Parkinson's are apparent in his trembling hands and sometimes slurred speech. He's one of an estimated 1 million people in the United States with the neurological disease, and his seems to have gotten worse lately.
"I can't control my tremors as much as I used to," the 50-year-old said. "Before I could by using my brain to stop them. I can't do that anymore."
In the video, Margarito makes a twisted face and raises a shaking hand for the camera before it pans to Rios, who also makes faces and stutters while saying Pacquiao's name.
The video has since been edited to remove Rios and make it appear as though Margarito is doing a scared impression of Roach, who has routinely questioned Margarito's integrity following the hand-wrapping scandal nearly two years ago.
Garcia also takes part in the mockery by holding up a thick chunk of metal and telling Roach he'd better watch as Margarito's hands are wrapped so that it doesn't end up under the tape.
"They're so disrespectful to me and the hand pad issues. ... It's like a slap in the face, like 'we got caught with something, but we're still here fighting. ' I think it shows his true character. I don't think they are a good group of people," Roach said. "I'm not going to bother Manny Pacquiao with that. Manny doesn't hate anybody and so forth, but I do hate those guys."
Pacquiao said he hadn't seen the video.
Roach does plan to make sure Margarito is being watched when his hands are wrapped before Saturday night's bout. That's not a joke.
"I will watch him. I asked the [Texas] commission to have a person from my camp in their training room from start to finish, and they can do the same with me," Roach said, adding that his request was approved. "I don't trust those guys. He'll do anything to win. He's done it before. He's a cheater."
The bout will be Pacquiao's second at Cowboys Stadium, where more than 50,000 fans are expected to attend along with an expected pay-per-view audience of 1 million or more.
In March at the $1.2 billion showplace, Pacquiao dominated Joshua Clottey from the opening bell to retain his welterweight title with an unanimous decision.
Pacquiao has since been elected a congressman in his native Philippines, a job that initially seemed to be affecting his training for this fight. He even missed a day of workouts.
"Everything is back to normal," Roach said, declaring Pacquiao ready for the fight. "It was never physical. It was all mental. His mental focus wasn't there."
Margarito, the former welterweight champion, was approved to fight in Texas after being denied a license in California and having another application in Nevada tabled.
Promoter Bob Arum again Wednesday applauded the decision by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and defended Margarito. Both Pacquiao and Margarito fight under Arum's Top Rank banner.
"When other people in boxing, some other commissions feasted on innuendoes, lies and smears, this commission read the record, read every scrap from the California hearing to the appeals," Arum said. "For 18 months [Margarito] has gone through hell, but he's taken it like a man, he's accepted it and believe me on Saturday night he will give you the fight of his life."
Margarito hasn't fought in the United States since January 2009, when a plaster-like substance was found in his hand wraps before a fight against Shane Mosley in Los Angeles.
Margarito's license along with that of his former trainer, Javier Capetillo, were revoked for at least one year by the California State Athletic Commission, a decision that was upheld by other states.
Margarito has repeatedly said he wasn't aware of the substance found in his hand wraps.
"I wrap guys every day," Roach said. "Believe me, if I put a rock in their hand, they would know it."
In his only fight since, Margarito won an unanimous decision over Roberto Garcia in Mexico in May.
While Garcia acknowledged that they were making fun of Roach in the video, he insisted that Rios didn't even know about the Parkinson's disease that affects Pacquiao's trainer. Garcia said the video was made about five weeks ago.
"He didn't even know Freddie had a disease," Garcia said. "He thought it was from 13 losses that Freddie Roach had when he was a professional boxer."
Roach said Margarito and Garcia have been nice to him in the past.
"But they stooped kind of low this time," Roach said. "They showed their true colors."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.