by Paul Magno
I’m not trying to beat a dead horse with another post- Plaster Gate article dissing Antonio Margarito and his trainer, Javier Capetillo. I know most websites, blogs and message boards are full of all sorts of disparaging comments aimed at the now notorious duo. But indulge me for a moment as I go back further and talk about why I was always hyper critical of “The Tijuana Tornado”
Aside from having some of the most annoying fans ever and being the beneficiary of an almost laughably cartoonish Top Rank hype job, there was always something that didn’t seem right about Margarito’s success. Something about his conquests just didn’t compute.
After being around a sport for a certain amount of time you develop a sense of the way things should be and anything that yields success despite going against all conventions sticks out like Clay Aiken at a Wu Tang Clan reunion. Antonio Margarito simply didn’t have the skill set or technique to be yielding such successes. All the fans and publicity said that he was a pressure fighter, yet he never learned how to effectively cut off the ring or walk his opponent down. He threw a lot of long, looping punches which wasted energy and diminished his own power. Despite having a reputation as a wicked body puncher, he really did his best body work only when his opponent was already battered and ready to be caught. His footwork was absolutely atrocious; so bad that he would throw himself off-balance if he didn’t land completely flush. And lets not even talk about his defense or lack thereof.
Sure, the guy was a very big Welterweight and always came into fights with great conditioning…and his solid chin made up for a lot of his defensive flaws, but the fighter I was describing is a solid Top 15 guy, a gatekeeper to the upper-level, a solid challenger…not a 3 time world champion.
It was almost as though the NHL’s leading scorer was someone with poor skating skills who could barely grip a stick properly. It just didn’t compute. Margarito just did not have the tools needed to pull off the style he was aspiring to. Julio Cesar Chavez was a pressure fighter who wore down his opponents with solid, accurate punches and by cutting off escape routes…Miguel Cotto was cut from the same cloth. Margarito just didn’t fit the bill, yet how could I argue with his successes? He was doing everything wrong and having it all turn out right. I was even getting sick of my own vitriol and, frankly, after years spent picking at the guy, I was running out of arguments.
Puzzlement turned to annoyance and on our forum (www.boxingtimes.com ), I came across as a jaded Margarito- hater and I took my fair share of lumps for railing against the guy that was being sold as the Mexican Rocky Marciano, the undeniably Most Feared Man in Boxing.
Now, following the California State Athletic Commission hearing that saw both Margarito’s and Capetillo’s licenses revoked, we have an answer to the question of how someone who did so much wrong made everything turn out right. He was loading up his handwraps with a foreign object, augmenting the damage of any shots landed- The “miraculous” surges in the second half of his fights, merely a product of his wrapped hands getting wet, clinging against the skin and further exposing the foreign object underneath.
And before I get accused of exaggeration and going too far- I know that Margarito hasn’t been convicted of using the illegal objects in other fights, but I find it hard to accept that this was the first and only time that they felt the temptation to put the odds on their side.
To make matters even more disgusting, despite the black eye given to the sport and the virtual shot to the groin of all those who supported him, the best explanation we got was a weak statement from Capetillo talking nonsense about “accidentally” inserting something into Margarito’s wraps and an utterly insulting, “I committed this innocent mistake.”
Now that this mess is behind us and we have the benefit of being able to look back at that past clearly, Capetillo comes off as a small-time corrupt buffoon while Margarito plays to perfection the role of slow-witted, cowardly accomplice- the descriptions these two scumbags deserved all along
Now, as a result of these pieces of trash, the sporting world has yet another reason to look down on Boxing, to play it off as cartoonishly corrupt like Pro Wrestling and relegate it to being a fringe sport, listed in the sports section behind High School Softball scores, or not reported on at all. We, as fans, will have to endure the snide comments from sports nerds and the sure-to-come declaration of Boxing being dead from MMA fans. And how can we even defend ourselves or the sport when the moral high ground has been taken away by two shady characters that cheated their way to the very top?
Antonio Margarito, Javier Capetillo…Take this opportunity to finally do something noble for the sport- Slink back across the border to Tijuana and do us the favor of never darkening our doors again.