Bob Arum Picks the Wrong Guy For Antonio Margarito's Comeback

Bill CodyCorrespondent IIIApril 3, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - MARCH 12:  Boxer Antonio Margarito of Mexico and promoter Bob Arum pose in front of Cowboys Stadium before the weigh-in for the WBO welterweight title fight between Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Joshua Clottey of Ghana on March 12, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  Pacquiao and Clottey will fight March 13, 2010 in Cowboys Stadium.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

On July 26, 2008, Antonio Margarito was on top of the world. That was the night the people's champ knocked out undefeated Welterweight Champ of the world, Miguel Cotto.

Up until that night, Cotto was considered one of the very best in boxing.

Had Cotto beaten Margarito, he would have many writers and bloggers clamoring for the pride of Puerto Rico to move past Manny Pacquiao into the No. 1 spot in the ratings.

He was also penciled in to fight Oscar De La Hoya that December in what was scheduled to be the Golden Boy's final farewell.

Margarito spoiled those plans with his late round beat down of Cotto, and suddenly there was a new sheriff in boxing's welterweight division. 

It's less than two years later and a lot has happened to the Los Angeles-born fighter from Tijuana. None of it good.

It started the fateful night that Margarito faced off with Sugar Shane Mosley at Staples Center in January 2009. Or should I say the afternoon of the fight.

That's when it was discovered that Antonio had a hard plaster shell in his wraps. It was removed by the California State Athletic Commission, who later suspended both Margarito and his corner-man Javier Capetillo.

Margarito's hands had to be wrapped three times before they were finally approved.

After the fiasco in the dressing room, Margarito sleepwalked through his fight with Mosley and was eventually dispatched into the night by Sugar Shane in the ninth round. 

Since that time Margarito has been suspended by the commission for a year and deservedly derided by most boxing fans and journalists.

Perhaps the saddest thing about the whole debacle is that Margarito proved that night that he was a potent draw. The Margarito-Mosley fight set the attendance record at Staples Center.

You might think that was a credit both fighters, but according to everyone involved almost all the fans at Staples that night were there for Margarito.

(I ran into a good friend who attended the fight the following week and joked that I heard he was and his friends were the only African-Americans in attendance that night. He looked over and responded, "That's not true, Bill. Mosley's family was there, too.")

Now Margarito's set to make his comeback.

Unfortunately, that comeback is going to be a bust. Tony is in for more heartache and this time he's been set up by his own promoter Bob Arum.

It's not Bob's fault exactly. He's just so consumed by the boxing "business" that he's not that aware about boxing in general. 

That's why he's not really aware of Roberto Garcia. Nor Garcia's hard hooks from both hands, his hand speed and his skills.

Garcia is one of those hard-luck fighters who has never been promoted properly and ended up flying under the radar. 

He has two losses. Both were small venue eight-rounders with close decisions. Garcia's last loss was split decision to Ian MacKillop when Roberto was deducted a point for a low blow in the seventh round. 

Without the point deduction, Garcia would be 29-1 instead of 28-2.

Garcia also has a no-decision on his record. That occurred when his IBA Welterweight Title bout with Freddy Hernandez was called after three rounds when an unintentional headbutt opened a cut over Hernandez's eye.

Garcia was destroying Hernandez at the time, and many in the audience felt the cut was a good excuse for Freddy to get out of the fight without a loss.

I don't like to accuse a boxer of intentionally getting out of a fight. But I will give you readers the the YouTube link so you can be the judge.


Garcia has been training on and off at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood for the last year with several different trainers. He's always looked good but now he's working full time with Freddy Roach. Every day.

What I'm saying is Margarito isn't fighting a tune up. He's fighting a very good, very tough fighter with skills. He's hungry, too.

Roberto Garcia is a tough task considering Tony hasn't fought for over a year. Too tough in my opinion. 

But since Garcia isn't a golden child in boxing circles, he's not on Arum's radar. Which is why Bob is about to lead one of his cash cows to slaughter.

It's not a sure thing. Margarito is also a tough fighter and he'll have the reach advantage. But Garcia has never been knocked out and he'll be able to get inside and use his superior hand-speed against the Antonio.

I think Tony's going to lose.

And if Margarito loses this fight, a lot of people think he only won his earlier fights because of his hand wraps. 

That isn't true of course. Margarito is a very good fighter who he hits like a mule with or without loaded wraps. I believe most of his fights were legit. 

A loss to Garcia will be very costly. It may end his career as a headliner.

Which is why Bob Arum never should have scheduled this fight. 


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