Margarito controversy continues to swirl around Miguel Cotto
Miguel Cotto has looked like a different fighter since his bloody and controversial 11-round loss to Antonio Margarito the last time he fought in Las Vegas 15 months ago . But Cotto says he's moved on.
"The Margarito fight is out of my mind," he said this week as he prepared for Saturday's bout with Manny Pacquiao. "It's a past chapter in my book. We have a new chapter with Manny Pacquiao. And I'm an equal or better boxer than before."
But there are reasons the Margarito fight won't go away. For starters, it's the only loss on Cotto's 35-fight pro resume. Then there are the suspicions that Margarito's gloves may have been loaded that night -- charges the Margarito camp have denied.
But shortly before his next fight with Shane Mosley in Los Angeles, Margarito was found to have illegal plaster inserts in both gloves. Subsequent examination of photos from the Cotto fight show red stains on Margarito's hand wraps that are consistent with stains on the inserts seized by the California State Athletic Commission when it suspended Margarito's boxing license for a year.
Cotto's father, Miguel Cotto Sr., said the photos are "overwhelming" evidence that Margarito used loaded gloves in the Las Vegas fight. They could also present a major obstacle for Margarito when he applies to have his boxing license renewed next year.
If DNA tests of the stains on the plaster inserts, which were seized before the Mosley bout, show the stains are Margarito's blood, that would strengthen claims that the inserts were used in earlier fights.
"There was a move to test the inserts before," said a member of the commission who is not authorized to speak on the record about the Margarito case.
The official said he's not sure where the stained insert is now, but believes it is still in the commission's possession.
"I don't know where it is," he said. "But I think that pad is still together. And it should be tested."
Cotto said the controversy eventually helped him cope with his only loss as a professional.
"In the beginning, when you're used to winning and a loss comes to you, it's a hard thing to handle," he said. "But when you understand, when the things with Margarito come after my fight, it makes you feel better and understand the situation."
-- Lance Pugmire and Kevin Baxter
Top photo: Antonio Margarito after his 11th-round TKO over Miguel Cotto in July, 2008. Credit: Will Hart / HBO.
Bottom photo: Cotto believes the discolored area in the corner of Margarito's hand wrap matches the discolored area over Margarito's pinkie in the post-fight photo. Credit: California Attorney General's office.