Friday, September 3, 2010
Antonio Margarito's approval a joke
By Calvin Watkins ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is a marketing genius.
He's able to bring two boxing matches to his $1.2 billion stadium, and most people associated with the sport want to talk about something else.
When the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight was announced in the spring, the discussion centered on why Pacquiao didn't land Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation wasted little time in granting Antonio Margarito permission to fight.
The Pacquiao-Clottey turned into a fantastic night for the stadium. A crowd of more than 50,000, one of the largest for an indoor fight in boxing history, watched Pacquiao defeat Clottey by decision.
On Nov. 13, Pacquiao turns up again at Cowboys Stadium, this time fighting against Antonio Margarito.
The problem with this fight is that Margarito is a cheater. He's a cheater of the worst kind in his sport.
He was banned one-year by the state of California for loading his gloves before a fight with Shane Mosley in January 2009.
A plaster-like substance was found in Margarito's gloves. Once it was removed, it was a fair fight, and Mosley won by technical knockout.
Margarito and his trainer, Javier Capetillo were suspended for one year for the deed. Afterward, Margarito tried to get a license in Nevada, but that state tabled the decision waiting to see if California would grant him a license.
Two weeks ago, by 5-1 vote, the California State Athletic Commission denied him a license.
Margarito blamed his trainer for his suspension.
"I feel guilty for not knowing, and I'm glad that it was found, and I'm glad that I didn't go into the ring [with plaster on]," Margarito said at the hearing. "If you grant me a license, I will be so grateful. But if not, then so be it."
Commission member Eugene Hernandez said it wasn't good enough and Margarito didn't take responsibility for his actions.
Bob Arum, Margarito's promoter, decided to get his client a license in Texas. In less than a week, William Kuntz, the executive director of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees boxing and mixed martial arts in the state, gave the license to Margarito.
Kuntz did this without ever talking to Margarito, knowing how high profile this fight would be because of what the fighter had done.
The first time Kuntz had spoken to Margarito was on Friday at Cowboys Stadium when the fighters came here to complete this three city tour.
What a joke.
Kuntz said he read all the evidence presented in a hearing in California and said Margarito deserved a second chance.
Here's what George Dodd, the executive officer of the California commission, told the Los Angeles Times of the decision: "It's kind of disappointing. I don't think Texas got a chance to look at it like we did."
Kuntz said he did. He didn't want to treat Margarito differently from another boxer. But that's a mistake.
He had to treat Margarito differently because he committed one of the cardinal sins of boxing.
The problem with Margarito not getting his license is most people in the sport don't believe his reasons for cheating. He says he didn't know that his trainer was doctoring his gloves. Pacquiao, the man he faces in November, doesn't believe him.
So how can the state of Texas grant him a license?
"The state of Texas did a terrific job. They did research," said Top Rank president Todd DuBoef. "They didn't rush to judgment. They didn't listen to hype.
"They didn't listen to hyperbole. They did their due diligence."
This is sad. Very sad.
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.