On Standby - Antonio Margarito
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Nov 20, 2011) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
Photo: Antonio Margarito
It has been quite the rollercoaster the past 72 hours regarding the rematch between WBA junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fight will still come off; the question now is does it stay in the Big Apple after the New York State Athletic Commission ruled on Friday that a neutral doctor (approved by both the state commission and Top Rank) must examine the surgically repaired right eye of Margarito?
In the wake of his loss last November to Manny Pacquiao, Margarito, who suffered a fractured orbital bone and other injuries to his eye, was eventually operated on by the noted Dr. Alan Crandall, director of the Moran Eye Institute in Utah. Margarito underwent surgery to his cataract and a new lens was implemented.
So now, Margarito and his team are on standby.
“We’re actually still all unsure about this,” said his manager, Sergio Diaz, on Friday afternoon, who just got back from Mexico yesterday where Margarito has set up his training camp. “We’re trying to work something out. Antonio is not in California. He’s not in the United States. He’s not in the country. He’s in Mexico. He’s in full training so it makes it difficult to pull a fighter out at this point in time of his training and ask him to leave and fly for an ophthalmology exam. So we’re trying to meet somewhere in the middle where a New York ophthalmologist can go to Houston and Antonio flies to Houston. Or anywhere just so we can meet closer to Mexico City because Mexico City flights, you’re talking about a good six-hour flight to Utah and then flying to New York, we’re talking another five hours, getting an exam and then flying back to Mexico. He loses that day of training and he’s cutting weight still, then the jet lag and being in the plane for ten hours. It’s really difficult.”
According to Bob Arum, “When we started this process, we were asked how was the eye and I said that he had been operated on by Dr. Crandall. The cataract got removed. Crandall has given me a letter saying he’s fit to fight, etc. and [Melvina Lathan, Chairperson of the NYSAC] tells everyone there’s no issues and so forth. Then in the beginning of October, the ophthalmologist from the New York commission calls and questions Dr. Crandall as far as what he did and so forth and suggests this or that. So we called Margarito; he goes back to see Crandall. Crandall checks out what they wanted; everything is fine.”
Diaz went to see Dr. Crandall back in October.

"We were asked to perform three tests on Antonio. Dr. Crandall had already performed two,” explained Diaz. “So we were asked to fly to Utah to get the third exam performed on Antonio. We had the exam done. We saw the retinal specialist. He saw Antonio, told us what we’ve been hearing all along, that he’s fine. The retina’s great. The eye is stable. Everything is good, that he can continue with his career.”

However, that didn’t appease the state of New York because, according to Arum, “Then we got a letter from [the NYSAC’s Dr. Barry] Jordan saying we were disqualified from fighting because [Margarito] had cataract surgery. What was your doctor talking to Crandall about from the get-go if he’s disqualified?! Everybody knew he had cataract surgery.”
Diaz says that all the paperwork and filings were taken care of well in advance of this card. “Of course, we actually dotted the I’s, crossed the T’s. We knew we had to do this. We knew if we had to face anything, we wanted to face it early. That’s why we took care of everything early.” As for how training was going up in the Otomi Mountains, sparring the likes of Omar Henry, J’Leon Love, Jesus Soto-Karass and Sebastian Lujan, the manager stated, “Those are tough, tough professionals. We didn’t pick guys that weren’t going to not hit Antonio. The eye has always been a concern but we’re training for a tough fight and Antonio, I asked him how he felt. He said, ‘I feel good.’ ‘Anything with the eye?’ He said, ‘Absolutely not, Sergio.’”
After what has been a turbulent last few days, Arum seemed pretty confident.
“I think everything is going to work out OK,” the promoter said via cell phone from Houston, where he’s staging tonight’s bout between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Peter Manfredo Jr. “He’ll be approved by this other ophthalmologist because Crandall wouldn’t have approved him if it wasn’t true. So he’s going to be able to fight.”
Top Rank is just a couple thousand tickets away from a complete sell-out at the Garden but just in case, they are working on contingency plans.

“We have five states with buildings because of the NBA lockout ready to go,” said Arum.

More of Steve's recent work is linked below .

I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.Twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.
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