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Cotto: Margarito would’ve felt pad

Fighters Network

Miguel Cotto suggested that Antonio Margarito had to know an illegal pad was in his hand wraps before he fought Shane Mosley on Jan. 24 in Los Angeles. Cotto also said the Mexican fighter should not fight anywhere for one year after losing his license Tuesday.

The licenses of Margarito and his trainer, Javier Capetillo, were revoked by the California State Athletic Commission for at least one year after illegal, unusually hard knuckle pads were found in his hand wraps shortly before the Mosley fight.

Margarito claims he didn’t know about the pads.

“Everyone who has his hands wrapped knows,” said Cotto, speaking on a conference call to promote his fight against Michael Jennings on Feb. 14 in New York, N.Y. “Everyone knows when there’s something different in their hands or not.

“I think as a fighter, you would know if anything is in there or not.”

Cotto, who was knocked out by Margarito last July, suggested that Margarito abide the ruling of the CSAC and not fight anywhere.

Bob Arum, Margarito’s promoter, said after the hearing on Tuesday that he would explore the possibility of seeking a license for Margarito in Mexico or elsewhere.

“If it were up to me, (Margarito) should abide by the ruling,” Cotto said. “ÔǪ I don’t think he should go fight somewhere else. He has to abide by the rules. I think if you can’t fight in the U.S., you shouldn’t be able to fight at all.”

Arum, who also promotes Cotto, said everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

“California revoked his license,” he said. “He has to make a living; he has a right to fight in any place that will license him. Certain places in Mexico [Tijuana] have indicated they would provide a license.

“I’m his promoter. I will do the best I can for him.”

Cotto was asked whether he suspects Margarito had doctored gloves before their fight. He gave Margarito the benefit of any doubt.

“The fans might have a question about it, the press, whoever thinks about it. Margarito had a great night and I leave it at that,” he said.

He then spoke generally about fighters trying to gain an unfair advantage over their opponents.

“I think we’re all playing on the same level, all doing the same thing,” he said. “This is a sport, not a slaughterhouse. It’s about fighting to the best of your abilities, the capacity you have. People have mentioned the Panama Lewis scandal.

“We should all go into the ring and be ready to fight on our own abilities and own preparation.”

Trainer Panama Lewis was caught removing padding from the gloves of fighter Luis Resto before a bout against Billy Collins in 1983. Collins took a bad beating, had to retire because of blurred vision and ultimately drove his car over a cliff, an apparent suicide.

Lewis and Resto did time in prison.

Cotto (32-1, 26 knockouts) is hoping to use a victory over Jennings (34-1, 16 KOs) as the first step in proving he’s the best welterweight in the world.

He was scheduled to face Margarito in June. Now, assuming the CSAC ruling stands, Cotto will look for another opponent. Arum said he won’t rule anyone out.

The obvious choice would be Mosley, who Cotto outpointed in 2007. Mosley, THE RING’s No. 1-rated welterweight, and No. 2 Cotto would fight for the vacant 147-pound world championship.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]