You might have thought that the only suspected cheater boxing Saturday night was Shane “BALCO” Mosley. But it’s looking like his opponent might have been engaging in the type of shenanigans usually found in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that the California State Athletic Commission is investigating Antonio Margarito’s hand wraps, which were removed from his hands before the fight, to see if they had been doctored to give him an unfair advantage.
It turns out that Margarito needed every advantage he could get, as Mosley stopped him in the ninth round. What Margarito is being accused of is making his wraps thicker with extra padding and heavier by dipping them in plaster. In boxing, this is beyond a big no-no - it’s about the worst thing a boxer can be accused of.
Mosley’s trainer Nazim Richardson noticed something amiss with Margarito’s wrap during a pre-fight inspection, and asked for the wrap to be removed. Once they did, Mosley’s camp claimed that extra pads and flecks of a plaster-like substance were found on them. Margarito’s people are saying all that was removed was extra gauze, but Richardson isn’t buying it, telling the NY POST that he found a wet piece of gauze in each wrap he thinks was plaster of Paris and designed to harden into a cast as the fight went on.
You don’t have to be a boxing trainer to understand why having your hands wrapped like a cast would be a significant advantage in a boxing match. A prime example is Luis Resto, who admitted last year to not only wrapping his hands in plaster but cutting out the pads of his glove in a fight against prospect Billy Collins back in 1983. Resto delivered a savage beating to Collins that night. After struggling with post-concussion syndrome, including blurred vision headaches and depression, Collins died in a car crash nine months after the fight.
So clearly, nothing less than Margarito’s reputation as a fighter is at stake in this investigation. Miguel Cotto, who suffered his first career loss at the (tainted) hands of Margarito in July, is scheduled to appear at a press conference about a new promotion company he’s creating, and address if he thinks Margarito cheated in his fight as well. I’m guessing you can decipher what his answer will be.