Top Rank have just reported that the date for Antonio Margarito’s hearing before the California State Athletic Commission has been scheduled for August 18th.
The former welterweight ruler will attempt to gain back the license he lost a little over a year ago when he was found to have a plaster like substance in his hand wraps prior to his bout against Shane Mosley.
The fighter himself has denied all knowledge of how the substance got there or what it was, claiming his former trainer Javier Capetillo acted alone in administering it to his wraps. This stance has garnered widespread criticism from the press, and many have disputed whether or not he could have been unaware of what his trainer was doing.
The result of Margarito’s indiscretion was that he was suspended for one year by the California athletic commission, which ended in February. Since then he has fought once, a decision win over the little known Roberto Garcia at light middleweight in Mexico. Although he won the fight comfortably, Margarito didn’t impress many who saw the performance, and whether he is still at is peak has since come into question.
A previous application for a license in Nevada was tabled, with the board members recommending that Margarito first appear before the California commission, due to the fact that they know more about the case.
The wider implication of whether or not Margarito is granted a license to fight in the United States is that it will likely be the deciding factor in where his upcoming fight against Manny Pacquiao takes place.
Will Margarito be given the thumbs up by California? (Getty Images)
The Dallas Cowboys stadium is currently the favorite venue to host the fight, after a meeting between owner Jerry Jones and Top Rank boss Bob Arum was said to have been gone positively. Although that depends on Margarito being licensed of course. The fallback venue being considered if there is a problem with the hearing is Monterray, Mexico.
It is widely expected that California will grant Margarito a license, although some have questioned whether a one year ban was sufficient given the risks involved with what he did. Regardless of whether he deserves to have been more severely punished though, (the commission was limited in their options), economic reasoning will likely be used in justifying the license. The fight will bring a lot of money into the local economy of wherever it is held, and given that the fight will take place either way, the pressure will be on California to give Margarito his license.
Rod Pierce, Pittsburgh: “He should have been banned for life, not given a fight against the biggest fighter in the world. Once again Bob Arum disgraces boxing”
Stuart Gorton, Philly: “Margo did his time and there isn’t exactly a big list of decent opponents out there for Pac. At least it should make for an interesting fight”