WBC’s support of Margarito laughable
To say that World Boxing Council officials have a lot of nerve would be a monumental understatement given the way they extort money from promoters and fighters for their bogus belts.
However, the Mexico-based sanctioning body hasn’t reached much lower than it did in its defense of Antonio Margarito, whose license was revoked in California for using illegal hand wraps.
The WBC issued a statement saying that Margarito “is ABSOLUTELY INNOCENT without a doubt.”
How does the WBC know that? How could its president, Jose Sulaiman, not even acknowledge the possibility that Margarito knew that his trainer, Javier Capetillo, inserted hardened knuckle pads into his wraps?
That is ABSOLUETLY ABSURD, without a doubt. Of course, it’s possible.
And the WBC didn’t’ stop there.
Sulaiman seems to believe that no fighter in history has been aware of what goes into his wraps, that this is the sole responsibility of the trainer or person responsible for applying the tape. And to prove it, he claims to have called a number of former champions who agreed with him without exception.
OK, Miguel Cotto said on an international conference call that any fighter would be able to feel a hardened pad in his wraps. Lennox Lewis echoed his words on Saturday night. And several more fighters I talked to said the exact same thing.
In other words, for every fighter Sulaiman can find who says it can only be the trainer’s fault, I can find someone who says the fighter knows exactly what goes into his wraps.
Finally, in the most-ridiculous passage of the statement, the WBC recounts the sordid case of Luis Resto and Billy Collins to support its opinion – and gets it completely wrong.
Panama Lewis, Resto’s trainer, pulled padding out of the fighter’s gloves before he fought Collins and he dished out a fearful beating, leaving Collins’ sight permanently impaired. Collins later drove off a cliff, apparently committing suicide.
The WBC said in the statement that in 1982 New York officials found a banned substance in Resto’s gloves, suspended Lewis for life and – if I read the poorly written statement correctly – not only allowed Resto to go unpunished but maintained the victory on his record.
If Resto was not found responsible, the WBC asked, why should Margarito?
Because Resto WAS found responsible even though it was never proved he knew padding was removed.
Here are the facts. It was 1983, not 1982. New York officials didn’t find a banned substance, which was revealed only many years later, but determined that padding had been removed. Lewis was banned for life. And Resto was suspended for at least a year and his victory was declared a no-contest.
Not only that, both Lewis and Resto did time in prison, and Resto never fought again, so the fighter hardly got away with his crime. Resto admitted recently that he also had plaster of Paris in his wraps.
The point of this is that WBC officials couldn’t care less about truth or justice. They’ll manipulate “facts” to serve their needs, which in this case is most likely an effort to support a fellow Mexican so the sanctioning body will look good in that country and throughout Latin America.
Sadly, Sulaiman could’ve protested in a legitimate manner. He could've taken promoter Bob Arum’s position, that the state produced no evidence that proved Margarito knew of the illegal pads. Thus, why should he be punished?
Instead, Sulaiman and his organization simply look foolish and self-serving. At least they’re accustomed to looking that way.
Here's the WBC's statement word-for-word:
World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman, announced today that the Mexican Federation of Boxing Commissions, the Boxing Commission of Tijuana, and the WBC Offices in Mexico, have agreed to face up together the situation of Mexican fighter, Antonio Margarito, who has had his boxing license revoked (suspended) for a year by the California State Athletic Commission, and defend him; such Commission was one of the Commissions that founded the WBC back in February 1963, and is a Commission with which the organization has had excellent relations and reached agreements of mutual cooperation.
The WBC, founded 46 years ago and formed by people who have vast experience in boxing, can not conceive that a boxer is suspended because of a bandaging, as the only people responsible for it, are the managers, the ones who solely execute such an important responsibility without ever receiving instructions from their fighters on what to use in the bandaging or how to use it. The fighter always trusts his managers widely, and he only extends his hands and moves them the way the manager tells him to do it.
On June 16th, 1982, in the fight between Luis Resto and Billy Collins, in New York, just to give an example from many there are, some banned substance was found in the gloves worn by Resto, who won the fight, and due to that fact, manager Carl “Panama” Lewis was suspended for life, but Luis Resto was not involved at all, and not only that, his win was confirmed as such, without any modification.
WBC President, Jose Sulaiman, in order to confirm or modify his own experience regarding bandaging, as a fighter he used to be in his early youth, and after being in the locker rooms of thousands of bouts throughout his 60 years in boxing and 33 as WBC President, decided to personally call several great champions, being Vitali Klitschko, Larry Holmes, Tommy Hearns, Michael Spinks, Gerry Cooney, Julio Cesar Chavez, Erik Morales, Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate, Lupe Pintor, among many others, ALL of whom confirmed without exception, that during their careers they had nothing to do with their being bandaged, and that their managers were exclusively responsible for such action.
Based on the previous facts and many more pieces of evidence that will be obtained, the Mexican boxing authorities, in a very respectful and amicable way, will request the California State Athletic Commission to extend the courtesy of sending all the prescriptive documents of the case, to immediately proceed to submit a respectful but firm appeal against the suspension that Antonio Margarito, who is ABSOLUTELY INNOCENT without a doubt, was placed on; Margarito shall be restored his damaged prestige and dignity.
The World Boxing Council totally rejects the use of materials that illegally alter the bandaging, turning the fists of a fighter into dangerous weapons, as bandaging was instituted to protect the hands of the fighters, and not to hurt the opponent, as it was used in the roman Circus, centuries before Christ; that is why the WBC does hope that, provided such strange matter that the California State Commission (which we congratulate for their intervention) is accusing Margarito┬┤s camp of having used is confirmed, a serious and strong penalty is placed on the one who is to blame, since these degrading stains can not be accepted in the sport of boxing, as they hurt a lot the integrity of the sport of boxing,,,,,,,,, but never placing such suspension on a fighter, Margarito in this case, as he is absolutely innocent, as all boxers throughout history have been.
The fight Margarito vs. Mosley was not sanctioned by the World Boxing Council, but by other organizations, and it could be thought that we are getting into something that is none of our business, but we have been required by the National Federation of Boxing Commissions of the Mexican Republic, also by the Boxing Commission of Tijuana, both affiliated with our organization, as well as by the honorable Mayor of Tijuana, Don Jorge Ramos Hernandez, who we join hoping that this case is addressed within a high-class level with no distinction or discrimination whatsoever, as the World Boxing Council has always solidly been on the fighters┬┤ corner, since its creation 46 years ago. If Luis Resto and many other boxers were treated with justice, why shouldn┬┤t Margarito be treated in the same way??
We hope and demand that a penalty is placed on the guilty one, that must be done, but the fighter, who is the least guilty one, must be totally lifted his suspension, concluded Jose Sulaiman, WBC President.
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]