That’s A "Wrap"

Story & Photo By William Trillo

A day has past since Antonio Margarito and his trainer Javier Capetillo had their licenses revoked by the California State Athletic Commission. In the aftermath I still feel the same as I did when I first heard Margarito got busted with “tainted” hand wraps in the dressing room before his upset loss to Shane Mosley. I’ve been trying my best to process this bizarre turn of events but I must be honest, it’s all still a bit of a blur for me.

After a career in relative obscurity Margarito began to gain notoriety after his victory over Joshua Clottey and the demolitions of Kermit Cintron. By the time he met Miguel Cotto last year Margarito’s popularity was as high as it had ever been and when he Ko’d the undefeated Champ “The Tornado” launched himself into the stratosphere.

To celebrate his newly found fortune Margarito accepted a fight with hometown rival Shane Mosley. The fight, held in Los Angeles at The Staples Center was a sellout. Over 20,000 fans bought tickets to the show, the majority of them were Tornado Watchers. Margarito had hit an all time high and the sky was the limit. Thoughts of a rematch with Cotto and a matchup to avenge his loss to Paul Williams were waiting around the corner. All Margarito had to do was get by the aged Shane Mosley.

Everything began to derail in the dressing room that night as Nazim Richardson pointed out to the commission that something was wrong with Margarito’s hand wraps. Upon further inspection Richardson’s claim had merit and a pair of “tainted” wrap were taken off Margarito’s hands and collected as evidence. Apparently Javier Capetillo inserted a couple of wet pads across Ton’y knuckles that may or not be laced with plaster. Whatever the case may be, wet wraps are illegal and Margarito was caught red handed…so to speak.

Taking nothing away from Shane’s performance I am convinced the turmoil in the dressing room weighed heavy on Margarito and by the time he hit the ring his mental focus was gone. Shane was as sharp as can be and Margarito looked as bad as I have ever seen, he got lame basted and lost his title in front of 20,000 of his fans.

That wasn’t the worst of it. Word of “Tony’s” illegal wraps was making the rounds and all of a sudden everything Margarito had accomplished in his career was in question.

Having been privy to the Margarito Camp over the past few years I can say that when it came to a no nonsense and hard working fighter, Antonio Margarito was without compare. His old school style training may not have been state of the art but it kept “Tony” fighting as a true Welterweight for the past 14 years. There are few who have remained the same weight for the bulk of their careers. To me that’s a testament to Margarito’s work ethic.

Margarito is also a people’s Champion and he always has been. His staying at the doorsteps of the commission office moments after his license was revoked so he could sign autographs for the kids who came to see him speaks volumes. Most athletes won’t hang around to sign autographs on a good day. Let alone the worst day of their career.

And then I have to attempt to process the hand wrap situation and his suspension and revocation of his license to fight.

In all honesty I can’t.

I’ve always felt I was a pretty good judge of character and nothing Margarito did led me to believe he could commit such heinous act.

But the fact of the matter is the Commission deemed both he and Capetillo responsible and both men are now suffering the consequences. Word is Margarito may look to fight out of the country until his license is reinstated but during a conference call on Wednesday Miguel Cotto said he feels Margarito should not be allowed to fight at all and he doesn’t plan on a rematch until such time as Tony is reinstated. I expect most fighters may follow suit.

If history tells us anything it’s the fact that we are a very forgiving people and if Margarito should serve out his sentence and be reinstated he will be cautiously welcomed back. Over time he might even get himself back into title contention. The question is will he be able to get all the way back to the superstar status he gained at the end of 2008?

I hate to say it but that will be a difficult if not impossible task.

Questions Or Comments? Email William Trillo