Antonio Margarito, Found With Plaster Elements In His Hand Wraps, Is Running Out Of Excuses

The L.A. Times has a piece up about the California Department of Justice lab results on the foreign substance in the hand wraps Antonio Margarito was going to wear for his January welterweight fight with Shane Mosley.

It is bad, bad news for Margarito, and for the sport, considering Margarito’s standing as one of the best and most popular boxers prior to the cloud that has hung over him since Jan. 24.

A Department of Justice senior criminalist who inspected the wrappings under stereomicroscope and X-ray flourescence spectrometer reported calcium and sulfur were discovered, noting the elements make plaster of Paris with the addition of oxygen.

The Times doesn’t spell it out, and I’m no scientist. But my understanding of things is that oxygen is an element in no short supply.

Even if my shortcomings involving the periodic table have led me astray, neither element should have been in Margarito’s gloves, according to a deputy attorney general quoted by the Times. That’s the best-case scenario — the hand wraps maybe got taken to the sulfur mine or something, and whoops! some sulfur got on them, but hey, it’s just some sulfur that shouldn’t have been there.

The worst-case scenario, though, is pretty bad. It’s the worst imaginable, in fact. Margarito (or his team, if you buy the official defense) loaded a glove with plaster. Plaster of paris — a substance that has ended boxing careers when fighters use it to hammer other fighters’ faces.

A one-year license revocation — which Margarito and his trainer got before these lab results came in — suddenly seems more than generous. It seems rather like a meek slap on the wrist. If this report suggests what I think it suggests, then Margarito and his trainer deserve at least a multi-year suspension, my original prescription.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.