Fifteen Months Later, The Stories Of Antonio Margarito Still Hold No Water

As if the varying and sometimes flagrantly false excuses for what happened the night welterweight Antonio Margarito got caught with loaded gloves in January of 2009 weren’t silly enough, now comes this: What R. Kelly’s defense team might have dubbed the “Palmolive Hard On Grease, Soft On Hands” defense. Tell us about it, Margarito attorney Daniel Petrocelli:

A Justice Dept. test found that the inserts discovered in Margarito’s wraps included basic components of plaster. But on Monday, Petrocelli argued that the wraps weren’t coated with a “hard or concrete-like substance” but were simply constructed of gauze and a knuckle pad that were “a little worn.” The pads were also found to have nothing more than traces of “calcium and sulfur” commonly found “in hand creams,” Petrocelli said.

See? Margarito was merely trying to avoid gettin’ ashy!

In recent days, Margarito’s team has begun meeting with the media to try to dig him out of his hole. It’s a deep hole; he went from “incumbent #1 Mexican superstar” (which is also good enough to be “one of the biggest superstars in America”) to the most shunned boxer in the sport.

Read on if you haven’t already. The end result is unconvincing. Margarito insists he still doesn’t know what anyone was doing with his hand wraps, when basically every boxer who’s asked about it says he ALWAYS knows what’s going on with his hand wraps. Top Rank’s Bob Arum (who alternately has defended Margarito with uncommon zeal and raised doubts about him, as it suits his needs) insists that Margarito will next fight in the United States, even though he currently lacks a license to do so.

I still say Margarito shouldn’t be licensed to fight. What he did was beyond the pale. You have to be exceptionally generous of spirit to believe he had no part in what occurred, that he was but a patsy. If Texas licenses him to fight, it will be a black mark on that state. If Arum gets his wish and Margarito fights Manny Pacquiao later in 2010, it’ll be a black mark on the entire sport. Watch and see what the mainstream media says about that one. The newspapers will damn boxing to its core if the #1 man in boxing fights someone whose license was stripped for cheating rather than giving the fans what they wanted, which is Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather. Watch. No one thing can kill boxing; it can’t be killed. But it can definitely get kicked back to the ghetto from which it had been climbing.

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.