Antonio Margarito’s boxing license was revoked for at least one year by the California State Athletic Commission on Tuesday for the illegal wraps discovered on his hands before his loss last month to Sugar Shane Mosley.
The commission’s decision effectively bans Margarito, a US-born fighter who lives in Mexico, from boxing in the US, since other states generally uphold such suspensions under federal law. Margarito’s trainer, Javier Capetillo, also lost his license for at least one year despite claiming he made an innocent mistake while wrapping Margarito’s hands.
The decision stunned and infuriated Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who attended the hearing in Sacramento. Arum, Capetillo and Margarito all insisted the former welterweight champion had no knowledge of the illegal nature of the wraps, which contained a plaster-like substance nestled tightly inside the usual tape on a fighter’s fists.
“It’s an absolute outrage,” Arum told reporters. “It’s something that I never thought would happen in the United States, where somebody who is totally and completely innocent, has no knowledge what happened, and didn’t do anything wrong, gets his license taken away because his trainer allegedly did something wrong. Everybody is blown away. It’s absolutely crazy.”
A few minutes before Margarito (37-6, 27 KOs) entered the ring in Los Angeles on Jan. 24, officials discovered the plaster-like substance when Mosley’s trainer, Naazim Richardson, ordered Margarito’s hands to be unwrapped. A hardened substance like plaster can give a fighter heavier hands, putting extra power on his punches.
“The conduct of both Mr Margarito and Mr Capetillo was unacceptable and threatened the health and safety of another licensee,” said Carrie Lopez, the director of the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, which licenses fighters. “Today’s action shows that both the Department of Consumer Affairs and the California State Athletic Commission take the issue of boxer safety very seriously, and will move quickly when a licensee’s actions threaten the safety of others.”
Mosley stopped Margarito in the ninth round of their bout at Staples Center to claim Margarito’s WBA welterweight title.
Arum said Capetillo “deserved what he got,” but strenuously objected to Margarito’s punishment. Margarito and Capetillo must apply with the California commission for reinstatement before their licenses can be reinstated.
Margarito could challenge the ruling in the California courts, or he could apply to the Association of Boxing Commissions to get permission to fight in states other than California.