Welterweights and the Woe of Antonio Margarito
By JD Camacho, DoghouseBoxing.com (June 12, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
Fighting is about more than records and ledgers. Perception is an inextricable part of it.

Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey fight Saturday night for serious consideration as the world’s supreme welterweight, while their one-time mutual conqueror Antonio Margarito sits at home, still collecting the pieces of his shattered legacy. Clottey’s controversial disqualification to Carlos Baldomir aside, Margarito dealt both Cotto and Clottey their only losses in a combined seventy-one bouts. And yet, it’s the
latter two who are in the position to catapult toward more lucrative ring dates – and the former one wondering if he has any position in boxing at all.

Is this turn of events fair? After all, there are fewer crimes more ignoble in prizefighting than plastered wraps. And in a sport with a heart as black and corrupt as boxing’s, that’s saying a lot.

Did Margarito violate the wrapping rules in any of his other fights? Each former opponent of Margarito applies his own perception to the situation. According to writer Gabriel Montoya, middleweight Paul Williams believes no foul play occurred in his bout with Antonio Margarito. Cotto, Clottey, and junior middleweight contender Kermit Cintron, meanwhile, waited on the handwrap investigation with great interest, seeming to refuse Margarito the benefit of the doubt. It’s worth noting that Williams outpointed Margarito while the other three suffered defeats, and the stigma of loss against the elation of success may have contributed to the conflicting views.

Is Margarito still a top welterweight, despite the handwraps controversy?
Perception applies here, as well. RING Magazine continues to rate Margarito as the #3 welterweight in the world, while ESPN’s Dan Rafael has erased Margarito from his divisional rankings.

On paper, Margarito has beaten more Top 10 welterweights than any other top-rated 147-pounder. On paper, Margarito scored clear wins over this weekend’s warriors. On paper, Margarito has as much claim to the welterweight throne as any other. But perception exists beyond the page, and because of plaster and perception – and, of course, suspension - Margarito is no longer a piece in the welterweight roulette and other fighters are rolling the dice while Margarito is paying the price.


-Let’s get this straight: Manny Pacquiao is firmly in the driver seat in negotiations with any fighter not named Floyd Mayweather. That said, what the Pacquiao camp is asking of his prospective welterweight opponents is in the same vein as Mayweather’s weight games. The Pacquiao camp is trying to generate a disadvantage with their catchweight demands. They’re trying to make a fight easier - and easier in a potentially big way. That deserves at least some criticism from those who rightfully criticize Mayweather…

-Hurray for the boxing video game renaissance. Just a month after Nintendo revived their fan-favorite series PUNCH-OUT!!, EA Sports releases their heavily anticipated FIGHT NIGHT ROUND 4, headlined by the one and only Iron Mike Tyson. I’m planning on entering Little Mac into the EA Sports ranks in hopes of landing a sequel to the 1989 Dream Match with Mike. The WVBA title is no joke, you know…

-David Haye’s back injury may forever alter the legacy of Wladimir Klitschko – and in a good way. Imagine if Haye had knocked Wladimir out. Haye would most likely have been stopped in his very next match with big brother Vitali Klitschko, but Wladimir would still have another horrible blemish on his record. Now that it looks as if David will challenge Vitali first, Wladimir may never again have to worry about that braggart from Britain…

-If George Foreman III – a son of my favorite heavyweight ever – has an ounce of his father’s talent, he’ll win a title one day. And even if he has less talent in his bones than there’s grease on a Foreman Grill, he has a college degree and a bit of business savvy to fall back on. If only other heavyweights were so lucky…

JD at: jdcamachorj@gmail.com

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