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Antonio Margarito ready to step up if De La Hoya retires

December 9, 2008 |  6:59 pm

Antonio Margarito, left, and Shane Mosley

The void boxing to be created should Oscar De La Hoya retire won't be filled immediately. But one boxer who could get a boost from Golden Boy fans is Antonio Margarito, the current WBA welterweight champion who trains in Montebello and will fight Pomona's "Sugar" Shane Mosley Jan. 24 at Staples Center.

"I'm capable of taking that mantle," Margarito said. "I think they like the way I fight. I'm becoming the top fighter of Mexico. Now, I can be that face."

HBO analyst Larry Merchant said Margarito's 11th-round TKO of former champion Miguel Cotto in July showcased skills local fight fans can see for themselves when Margarito goes against Mosley, a 37-year-old, former three-division champion. Tickets range from $50 to $300.

"He's the embodiment of a tough, determined, relentless fighter who will walk through fire to impose his will on the opponent," Merchant said.

Margarito held off on agreeing to the fight until HBO pumped in more dollars, sources familiar with the negotiations said. The boxer said he reasoned that "I'm going to train hard for everyone, so I might as well train for a tough fight."

Mosley argues that, on the heels of his September knockout of Ricardo Mayorga, he feels strengthened by his relationship with new trainer Nazim Richardson, who trained Bernard Hopkins in advance of his October upset of middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.

"It's a trigger thing," Mosley said. "There's things I already know how to do and he knows the things I used to do well and triggers those."

Mosley said seeing his friend De La Hoya's age exposed during Saturday's one-sided fight didn't concern him about the upcoming fight.

"Your skills are going to slip, maybe not enough so much that the guy can beat you," Mosley said.

-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: World Boxing Association welterweight world champion Antonio Margarito, left, and three-division world champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley pose during a Tuesday news conference. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press

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