Boxing's Own Margarito, Did He Cheat Against Mosley, Cintron, and Cotto?
Inherent to competition is cheating.
In Boxing, cycling, American Football or worldwide soccer, the Olympics or even in a simple board game we find that tasteless creature lurking somewhere. False accusations abound; as does cheating.
Did boxing tough guy Antonio Margarito really lace his wraps with Plaster of Paris? And, if he did, was it against “Sugar” Shane Mosley and all of Margarito’s previous fights?
Inherent to all PPV events is hype. Arguably, hype is seen at its full potential in boxing. Tempers flare. Name calling is standard. For those of us familiar with boxing, MMA or any sport where aggressiveness, arrogance and egos are plenty; we know what to expect and often enjoy the drama. Networks and cable both thrive on endless promotion of an upcoming seminar, book, show or event like boxing. Good or bad, the cliché is known as, “Any publicity is good publicity.” And with that we are spoon fed by the media as to perceptive grudges, shiny new accusations or simply digging up old bones to drag yet again. Even if you are not familiar with boxing, will you be able to answer the question: Who is Don King? Most likely the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” His fancy promotion with gimmicks and flare made people pay attention and with national and international media attention come big bucks. Good or bad, the goal is to saturate the communication paths to notify everyone possible that an upcoming event is imminent.
Ironically, I add to the hype as I write about cheating in sports, and more pointedly; in boxing. In only two days Margarito will take on Cotto, again, on December 3rd, 2011. Oh, is it on the free network channels? Of course not, it will be on PPV and not surprisingly you can preorder.
The alleged cheating: In essence, Margarito was told to rewrap his wraps, prior to his previous Mosley bout, by the boxing inspector for the California State Athletic Commission after Mosley’s trainer identified something wrong. Since the hand cream boxers use prior to wrapping also has the elements said to have been scientifically identified as elements of Plaster of Paris, it is clear that finding should have been dismissed immediately. However, the media and the other boxers have run with the stated finding even though they themselves use substance containing the same elements. It’s funny how that works. All of a sudden, an allegation of a boxer lacing his gloves with Plaster of Paris is the headline, and the herds follow in belief right away. Few take the time to analyze the facts.
A perfect example, and one this author finds credible, is a statement by Bob Arum, "If I thought for a minute that this kid had knowledge of [the illegal wraps], I'd have dropped him so fast you couldn't believe it. But I really studied this situation and it became obvious he had nothing to do with it. So how I could I dump him just because people who didn't do the research that I had and who don't know what the hell they're talking about are criticizing him? I couldn't. I had to stand by him, even if it were unpopular." *1
There have been many hypothesis and several videos and articles written about the Plaster of Paris theory and the known facts. This is in addition to countless interviews covering the issue. One interesting video allegedly shows a pinky gauze wrap with a coloring likeness of blood prior to the Mosley fight at the Staples Center in L.A. The same video shows an alleged post fight photo of Margarito’s wraps after the Cotto fight (which was way before the Mosley fight). Conclusion jumpers we are by nature. It does look very suspicious. But this is the problem. A Youtube video posted by an anonymous source with their ideas of what happened arbitrarily interjected. See it for yourself and be further interested in what the truth is! *2
And note: “When it was later examined by a laboratory, it was determined to contain two of the elements that are in Plaster of Paris. Significantly, though, it was never ruled that it actually was Plaster of Paris.” *3
The boxing judges and the presiding state’s or country’s boxing commissions are present and responsible for ensuring that a boxers wraps are secured safely and appropriately. As in cycling, there is protocol, and just like in cycling cheaters will get through the inspections somehow.
So did Margarito load his gloves in some or all of his fights? That is a question I will let you answer for yourself. I’ve presented some of the coverage in a brief nature to peak interest. Arm chair quarterbacks will certainly beat the Plaster of Paris incident to death. One thing is for sure, Margarito will never be able to have his wraps modified, if they were, again.
If Margarito was aware of tampering with his hand wraps, he should go to jail. If he is being falsely accused, it’s tragic. Either way, Margarito’s past will be questioned but not his future. Under increased scrutiny and additional media hype the dollars will be made. Winner: Margarito.
This leads us to Saturday’s exciting bout. Forget all of the hoopla and Margarito calling Cotto out as hitting like a girl after Cotto called him a “criminal”. Certainly many eyes will be on the event this Saturday.
“Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, has repeatedly insisted there is no evidence that Margarito's wraps were tampered with that night in Las Vegas.” *4
Ultimately, the way this fight will likely finish is with Margarito repeating his previous victory and with hopes to quench the last few years of doubt as to his fighting prowess and ring tenacity vice cheating. We shall see.
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© Dwayne Ivey – December 1, 2011