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Cotto, Arum spar over Margarito

February 14, 2009 |  2:54 pm

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Miguel Cotto could only hold his tongue so long.

The former world welterweight champion, whose displeasure with promoter Bob Arum was obvious during a conference call with the media earlier in the week, lashed out at Arum on Friday for his decision to defend Mexican fighter Antonio Margarito.

Margarito, who is also a member of Arum's Top Rank stable, had his boxing license revoked Tuesday by the California State Athletic Commission. That decision angered Arum, who promised to circumvent the ruling by having Margarito fight in Mexico. Cotto, whose only professional loss came against Margarito last July, sees that ploy as a blow against the sport.

"I'm very angry [with Top Rank]," Cotto, speaking in Spanish, told a reporter in Puerto Rico.  "In the name of boxing, Margarito and his group have to comply with the penalty. Every boxer is very aware of what is being put on them. Everyone in his group was aware."

Margarito, along with his trainer, Javier Capetillo, was found guilty of trying to place an illegal, plaster-like substance in his gloves before last month's welterweight title defense against Shane Mosley at the Staples Center. Mosley won the fight with a ninth-round TKO and three weeks later Margarito and Capetillo had their licenses revoked for a year. They can apply for reinstatement next February.

Cotto and Arum, on a media conference call Wednesday, the day after Margarito's license revocation, agreed to disagree over Margarito's innocence with the promoter claiming Capetillo was the only one at fault and Cotto insisting everyone in Margarito's camp bore responsibility for an action that could have resulted in serious injury to Mosley.

"Miguel is certainly entitled to his opinion," Arum said on the call.

It was "a lack of consideration for the health of a human being," Cotto said of Margarito later.

Cotto (32-1), who will meet Briton Michael Jennings (34-1) at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 21, has refused to support speculation that Margarito's gloves might have been loaded the night he battered Cotto to take the Puerto Rican's world title, although he didn't rule out the possibility of legal action against the Mexican.

"That's for the fans, that line of questioning," Cotto said earlier this week. "The only people who can answer that question are Margarito and his group. I don't want to think about that. In that fight Margarito had a great performance. I'll leave it at that."

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Miguel Cotto, a former world champion from Puerto Rico, in training for his WBA welterweight title fight against Antonio Margarito. Credit: Miguel Maldonado / For The Times

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