Disgraced former champ Margarito to return in May
Disgraced former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito plans to return to the ring in May, more than a year after he was suspended for illegal handwraps discovered before a bout against Sugar Shane Mosley.
Margarito will fight Roberto Garcia on May 8, the Cinco de Mayo weekend, in a 10-round junior middleweight bout in Aguascalientes, Mexico, promoter Bob Arum said. The fight will headline a previously planned card that includes WBA interim super featherweight champion Jorge Solis defending against Mario Santiago.
``We felt it was time he got back in action,'' Arum said. ``He has to make a living.''
Margarito was preparing to fight Mosley on Jan. 24, 2009, at Staples Center in Los Angeles when Mosley's trainer Naazim Richardson noticed a plaster-like substance in his wraps. A hard substance like plaster can give a fighter heavier hands and more punching power.
Margarito's hands were rewrapped and he wound up getting stopped in the ninth round by Mosley in what was considered a mild upset. After a hearing before the California Athletic Commission, Margarito and trainer Javier Capetillo were each suspended for at least one year, a decision that has been upheld by other state athletic commissions.
``Now that he's served his time, it's time for him to get back in the ring, and we'll be applying for a license for him in various states depending on where he might fight,'' said Arum, who maintains that Margarito knew nothing about the illegal wraps.
The three-time world champion could have fought earlier in Mexico, where decisions handed down in the United States are generally not enforced, but Arum said Margarito (37-6, 27 KOs) remained out of the ring so that he could curry favor with the state commissions.
``He resisted fighting in Mexico any time during that one-year period,'' Arum said, ``and as far as he's concerned, as far as I'm concerned, enough is enough.''
He will return against a relative unknown in Garcia (28-2, 21 KOs), who carries a 14-bout unbeaten streak and a record that looks good on paper.
``I would say he's been frustrated, greatly frustrated, because Antonio believes that what happened was horrific,'' Arum said. ``He felt that he could understand that his license was revoked, even though he wasn't aware of it, because it happened in his corner. He understands.''