Antonio Margarito looked like a completely different person after his rival Manny Pacquiao's hand was raised in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium at the close of their bout.
The consistent smile and jokester aura were nowhere to be found on his swollen and bloodied-up face.
Questions directed towards the ringside doctor Manuel Gonzalez, referee Laurence Cole and Margarito's corner flooded the public's concerns upon being informed of Margarito's current condition.
According to reports, Margarito sustained a fractured right eye socket in the duration of his confrontation with Pacquiao. The swelling around the eye has delayed the possibility of performing the prompt surgical procedures needed to repair the damage.
Referee Cole did not halt the fight, as he took the word of Gonzalez—who checked on Margarito twice—that the fighter could see and that there was no need for a stoppage.
The head of Margarito's corner, trainer Robert Garcia, said that Margarito was not willing and would not allow him to throw in the towel, thus resulting into a twelve-round decision in favor of Pacquiao.
Margarito is set to have the surgery performed on Tuesday, November 16, at Dallas Methodist Hospital, when medical staff believe the swelling will have allowed the fighter to be operated on.
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach was quoted saying that the people in charge of Margarito's corner "probably ruined his career by not stopping the fight." That earned a response from Top Rank promoter Bob Arum that, at the moment, the injury was not a threat to Margarito's career.
What should Antonio Margarito do now?
The physical pain caused by the damage accumulated and the mental pain brought about by defeat could only add more to his apparent suffering. But what should really hurt for Margarito is not the gashes and bruises he acquired from the Pacquiao onslaught—they will after all heal in time.
What Margarito needs to worry about is what could he possibly have waiting for him at the end of this tunnel.
Being subject to controversy after his fights with welterweight contenders Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley, Margarito met yet another road block moments prior to his fight with Pacquiao after he and his corner was accused of using Ephedra—a herbal remedy used for treatments of asthma and other respiratory ailments, traces of which can also found in herbal products for weight loss, athletic performance and physical and mental stimulation, currently banned in the United States.
Roach requested the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to conduct an immediate urinalysis examination upon this discovery, but was turned down as the department stated it would perform the said procedures after the fight took place.
Results came back identifying the substance being Hydroxycut, a weight loss supplement available over the counter, that is inferred to have helped Margarito make the required weight for the fight.
A tarnished reputation and a battered aura in a state of limbo.
If and when Margarito gets an opportunity to step back into the ring, he would have only a limited number of opponents that a victory over could help save his now cemented image as a cheater and giant defeated by a Hall of Famer in the end.
Present at the fight was the aforementioned WBO welterweight champion Cotto, whom he defeated by way of knockout in the eleventh round back in July of 2008. Cotto mentioned to a reporter that there was a possibility of him challenging the winner of the fight in a rematch as he faced and lost to both the fighters once before.
With Pacquiao being pressured to fight the last relevant challenge that is Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Margarito may find himself having to fend off a vengeful Cotto and possibly earning a shot at the title Cotto holds.
This is the most likely option, as even Top Rank CEO Bob Arum mentioned it himself in a report from Boxing Scene, saying that getting the two to face off would make for a really good fight. He even spoke of its potential venue, New York.
Other options being speculated are the strong, yet criticized Andre Berto, Wild Card's heir apparent Amir Khan and the widely overlooked Timothy Bradley.
One thing is for sure, though. If we ever see Margarito in the ring again, he'll be in a desperate fight for what remains of his legacy in the sport of boxing. If not, he could choose to simply fade away and eventually disappear from the entire scene by fighting irrelevant, small-time fighters, or simply and ultimately retire.
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