Cotto: Margarito gives sport 'black eye'

Updated: February 14, 2009, 12:38 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Former welterweight champion Miguel Cotto doesn't believe Antonio Margarito should be allowed to fight anywhere after his boxing license was revoked by the California State Athletic Commission.

Margarito, who punished Cotto last summer to win the title, had his license taken away for one year Tuesday after illegal wraps were discovered on his hands before a loss last month to Shane Mosley. The commission's decision will likely be upheld in other states.

Margarito's trainer, Javier Capetillo, also lost his license for at least one year.

"I think if it's up to me, we should all abide by the rule that was made," Cotto said during a conference call Wednesday. "He was suspended for one year, he should be suspended everywhere. He has to abide by the rules and I think if he can't fight in the United States, he shouldn't be able to fight at all."

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who attended the hearing, called the ruling "an outrage" and has said Margarito will likely appeal. In the meantime, Arum said it's possible that Margarito could fight in Mexico, where decisions made in the United States are often not upheld.

"He has to make a living and he has a right to fight anyplace that will license him," Arum said Wednesday. "Mexico has indicated, or certain places in Mexico, have indicated they'll give him a license."

Arum promotes both fighters and had tentative plans to match them in another big-money fight later this summer. Unless Margarito wins his appeal, Cotto isn't interested.

"This is not a good thing for boxing. It gives boxing another black eye -- another incident boxing doesn't need," said Cotto (32-1, 26 KOs), who will fight unheralded Michael Jennings for the vacant WBO title on Feb. 21 at Madison Square Garden.

"You go into the ring thinking you're all playing by the same rules. This is sport, this isn't a slaughterhouse. This is about fighting at the best of your abilities," Cotto added, speaking through a translator. "We should all go in the ring and be ready to fight with what we have, our own abilities and our own preparation."

What does Arum think of the discord between two of his top fighters?

"Miguel is certainly entitled to his opinion," he said. "I have expressed my opinion. I don't say everybody has to agree with me."

A few minutes before Margarito (37-6, 27 KOs) entered the ring to fight Mosley on Jan. 24, his trainer Naazim Richardson objected to the way Margarito's hands were being wrapped. When the tape was cut off, a plaster-like substance was found nestled tightly inside the usual tape on the Mexican fighter's fists.

Mosley went on to dominate Margarito, stopping him in the ninth round to win the WBA version of the welterweight title.

"All I know is when everybody gets their hands wrapped, they know what's in them," Cotto said. "They know if there's something in their hand wraps or not. As a fighter, you know if there's something in there."

Cotto refused to speculate whether Margarito had a similar substance on his wraps when they fought last July, a close, bloody bout that ended in the 11th round when Cotto's corner threw in the towel.

"They're the only ones that can answer that question. I can't answer that," Cotto said. "All I can tell you is I choose to think he had a good night."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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