Antonio Margarito seeks Texas license, has Pacquiao in sights [Updated]
Antonio Margarito, the former world welterweight champion under discipline for nearly taking gloves loaded with plaster-hardened inserts into the ring last year against Shane Mosley, will seek a boxing license in Texas next month and plans to fight on the undercard to Manny Pacquiao's March 13 fight at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Margarito's promoter said.
Promoter Bob Arum said Margarito is free to regain his license after his current California disciplinary period ends Feb. 11, and he's scheduled to fight Carson Jones in a junior-middleweight fight.
"If he looks good on the Texas card, a major match at the same stadium later would be Pacquiao-Margarito," Arum said. Pacquiao will fight Joshua Clottey in a welterweight bout expected to attract 40,000.
Arum said "we've received no assurances from Texas, but we hope there's no reason to deny [Margarito] the license."
Karen Chappelle, the supervising deputy attorney general in California who argued to have the license of Margarito and his trainer, Javier Capetillo, revoked last year, said she "wouldn't recommend that the [California] commission" attempt to block Margarito's license. "Texas might consult California, but they'll apply their own standards ... consider their own criteria."
[Updated at 1:45 p.m. A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Licensing said the agency will "review his application" when it's received "and handle it under all applicable laws and regulations." It's unknown at this point if a special hearing will be required to allow Margarito to return to the ring, said public information officer Susan Stanford.]
Margarito entered the Mosley fight on the heels of an impressive beating over the previously unbeaten welterweight champion Miguel Cotto. The Cotto team has said there's "overwhelming" evidence to believe Margarito had loaded gloves in that fight too.
At the California commission hearing last year, Margarito explained that he was unaware of any deceptive practices before he was to step into the Staples Center ring against Mosley. Mosley trainer Nazim Richardson first noticed the hardened material in Margarito's hand wraps, and a California inspector confiscated the inserts from both hands.
Capetillo urged California not to punish "the kid" for the trainer "accidentally" allowing discarded inserts used on the heavy bag at his San Gabriel Valley gym to end up atop Margarito's knuckles. The commission ruled Margarito sholuld've known what was inside his hand wraps.
"He'll have to sever ties with Capetillo," said Arum, something Margarito's manager said the boxer already did last year. "[Margarito] said he didn't know anything about it. I'm sure you press guys will keep asking him about it. Ask him whatever you want, it's a free country."
A possible replacement trainer is San Diego's Abel Sanchez, Arum said.
For now, Margarito is doing light training in Tijuana, Arum said, and he'll increase his regimen should Texas allow him to return to the ring.
Photo: Antonio Margarito. Credit: Will Hart / HBO