Weekend Afterthoughts On Shane Mosley-Antonio Margarito And More

If you didn’t think Shane Mosley-Antonio Margarito had enough wild storylines — divorces, steroids, allegedly loaded gloves, a wholly unanticipated upset result –well, Margarito’s camp is throwing another out there. Mr. Ryan directed me to this article where Margarito’s manager said the welterweight (147 lbs.)  “had to have surgery on his eye a little over a week ago,” and said it couldn’t wait because “he had a problem with his eye and he had to have the surgery to fight.  His retina could have become detatched (sic) if he fought without the surgery.” That’s just bizarre. Would a commission even allow the fight under those circumstances? Was it kept secret? I don’t understand.

The manager also says there was no illegal substance in the gloves. “No. No way. They were just wrapped too high for their liking.” And: “It got blown out of proportion. They checked Tony’s hands. He had one hand wrapped and he was wrapping the other. They said his other hand was wrapped too high.  Tony didn’t want that to be an issue so he had me cut the wrap off his other hand and he wrapped them both to their satisfaction on the spot.” That contradicts both Mosley’s camp and the remarks of officials with the California commission, and I don’t know what incentive the commission has to be so unclear about such a serious subject.

That’s just the start of the afterthoughts from a weekend that provoked plenty to think about.

  • This is a subject that gets to close to my day job, but I can raise it rhetorically: Given that there are apparently no national standards for hand wraps, and given that there’s no way to test for drugs across state lines, might these be subjects worthy of debate when it comes to federal regulation of boxing? It’s only a question, since both subjects were at hand in this fight. And it remains kind of weird that Mosley’s team discovered this rather than the California commission.
  • Until HBO aired the footage from a 2004 interview, I wasn’t aware that Mosley had once said he was “certain” that he hadn’t unwittingly been given any illegal steroids. What’s fishy about that statement is that, by the time BALCO was in the news, which was prior to the interview, it seems he might have at least had enough questions about the stuff he shot into his belly to be not-so-certain. 
  • I haven’t quite decided where to put Mosley and Margarito on my pound-for-pound list, but I’m inclined to just have them switch places. I have Margarito at #5 and Mosley at #15. That would leave Miguel Cotto, who beat Mosley but lost to Margarito, at #6. It may seem weird to have Margarito ranked so much lower than the man he knocked out, but then, I also have Paul Williams below Margarito, even though Williams beat Margs. Another reason I’d be inclined to send Margarito so far down is because while Cotto hung with both Margarito and Mosley in relatively close fights (at least for a while), Margarito was decisively defeated by Mosley. If the hand wrap allegations prove true, he very well could drop from my list entirely.
  • I liked the introductory videos that aired before Mosley and Margarito entered the ring. And I thought the new graphics for the redesigned HBO World Championship Boxing looked good, including the shots at the “Tale of the Tape” that were videos rather than stills of the two fighters. ESPN.com also had the news this weekend that Larry Merchant would be on for a couple more years. Merchant may not be as lucid as he once was, but he still sometimes has the perfect thing to say, so I’m glad he’ll remain.
  • Does anyone know what to call Margarito’s haircut from that fight? It was like a faux hawk mixed with a Mexi-mullet with a twist of rat tail. He was emo times backwoods Virginia times a bunch of other stuff.
  • I have to say, I was somewhat amused by Margarito appealing to the ref like he did about Mosley’s head butts, although I don’t know if they were deliberate or incidental. It wasn’t that long ago, against Kermit Cintron, that Margarito was scoffing at Cintron when Cintron protested Margarito’s rough-housing, accidental or intentional, as though he was some kind of wuss. A bully can’t handle being bullied, I guess is how that works.
  • There are differing opinions on this, but put me in the camp of somewhat offended that Oscar De La Hoya was out promoting a mixed martial arts event instead of at a major boxing event in which his promotional partner at Golden Boy, Mosley, was a participant. It’s not that I’m bothered by De La Hoya wanting to dabble in MMA, but if ever there was a night for him to be at a boxing event instead of an MMA event, this would be one of them. He does seem to be dodging the boxing press, surely aware that he’ll be asked about his future, and I doubt he got as many questions about it where he was. But he needs to get over that, if that’s the problem. It’s been nearly two months since his loss to Manny Pacquiao, and it’s not as if he doesn’t know how to manage the press.
  • It was good to see Mosley-Mayorga getting front page play not only at ESPN.com’s main site, but also, apparently, at the main page at Yahoo.com, which, as Doghouse Boxing pointed out, is one of the most visited sites on the entire World Wide Web. Boxing. So not dead.
  • That said, this Yahoo sports page piece talks about the “myth” of Margarito’s iron chin. That is crazy talk. I’d advise the headline writer to watch any Margarito fight prior to Saturday night, then report back on whether his iron chin was a “myth.” Also, this section of the piece was a little wack: “Margarito is not the tired journeyman that this performance made him out to be, nor is he the superstar that the Cotto result suggested. He is a solid performer in a strong division, capable of beating the best on his day but also able to lose to men inferior to Mosley.” Margarito may or may not be the same after this knockout loss, but he wasn’t just “solid” coming into this fight. He was an elite fighter and elite welter. He’d defeated three top welterweights — Cotto, Cintron and Joshua Clottey, all of whom currently inhabit the top five — in the past couple years, and he’s demolished scads of other top-10 divisional rivals.
  • According to the L.A. Times, Golden Boy Promotions will reach out to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. for a fight with Mosley. Mayweather’s man Leonard Ellerbe simply told the Times Mayweather was retired when asked about the proposal, which, given the way he’d been exploring fight options for Mayweather, suggests that he’s probably not interested in a Mosley fight. It’s too bad. Stage that puppy around May or June, then take the winners of Mayweather-Mosley and Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton and throw them into a third 2009 megafight, and the year suddenly becomes very, very interesting.
  • All right, on to other subjects, all of it news from the weekend about upcoming televised bouts, and all via ESPN.com save for where I mention news releases. We’ll start with the free stuff then move on to the pay-per-views.
  • Heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko’s March 21 mandatory title defense against Juan Carlos Gomez is probably going to hit free TV, most likely ESPN Classic. Nice.
  • ESPN2 is probably going to pick up the lightweight (135 lbs.) bout between Michael Katsidis and Julio Diaz that’s tentative for April 10. That’s so cool of them. That’s one of the best bouts I’ve even ever heard of them being willing to pick up. If they pick it up, and if ESPN2 suddenly turns into a dude, I might try to initiate a bromance with it.
  • Showtime appears poised to pick up the March 13 super middleweight (168 lbs.) bout between Lucian Bute and Fulgencio Zuniga, which goes to show what I know, since I had my doubts anyone would be interested.
  • Junior welterweight (140 lbs.) prospect Victor Ortiz has a new opponent for his March 7 HBO show, replacing Vivian Harris with Mike Arnaoutis. I say this is an upgrade. I think Harris is totally shot, and apparently he was raising a ruckus during negotiations for some reason. Arnaoutis hasn’t been able to beat an elite foe in his career, but he’s solid.
  • The Feb. 21 pay-per-view featuring the return of Cotto and middleweight (160 lbs.) champion Kelly Pavlik has apparently been finalized, with junior middleweight (154 lbs.) John Duddy taking on Matt Vanda in what should be a good bout and lightweight Anthony Peterson taking on Edner Cherry, which is a decent test for Peterson. Not terrible, although not near as good as some of the pie-in-the-sky ideas Top Rank boss Bob Arum had been throwing out there.
  • If you wanted to see the Nonito Donaire/Fernando Montiel/Ulises Solis card on March 15, Showtime has ditched it because Montiel’s weight problems meant that Donaire-Montiel is off and both men will instead fight separate opponents. I can’t blame Showtime for that, because the opponents Donaire (flyweight, 112 lbs.) and Montiel (bantamweight, 118 lbs.) are fighting don’t enthuse me, even if the one Sol
    is (junior flyweight, 108 lbs.) is battling, Brian Viloria, does. Instead, it’ll be a $24.95 pay-per-view. (Showtime is having a rough go of things so far early in 2009; I’m really worried the Feb. 7 bout between junior bantamweights [115 lbs.] Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce ain’t going to come off, since Arce missed a mandatory weight check-in then didn’t bother this week to show up to a news conference, per a news release. What’s the deal?) 
  • A second pay-per-view card, on March 14, might be worth the dough. The lightweight bout between Amir Khan and Marco Antonio Barrera will include on its undercard junior lightweight (130 lbs.) Nicky Cook defending his alphabet title belt against undefeated Roman Martinez, and cruiserweight (200 lbs.) Enzo Maccarinelli will fight Victor Ramirez. That’s a decent card for $24.95, but it would have been a great one had Mac fought a different discussed opponent, Steve Cunningham. The always classy Cunningham put out a downright friendly statement via news release: “Oh man, It’s a shame. I think it would have been a seriously great fight and I’ve wanted to fight in Britain for a long time. Shoot, I don’t have any luck getting it on with British fighters. [David] Haye moved to the heavyweights last year and now this chance to face Enzo is shot. You know, one day I will get to fight in Britain or face Enzo. I’m sure it’ll happen. I wish Enzo and Victor Ramirez the best. I’m sure it’ll be a great fight. I didn’t get to see Victor beat Alexander Alexeev, but  heard it was a good fight. I’m sure it’ll be a banger, they’re both heavy hitters.”

About Tim Starks

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