New York orders eye exam for Margarito, endangering Cotto rematch
The New York State Athletic Commission on Friday ordered a commission-authorized eye doctor to examen Antonio Margarito's right eye, raising doubts whether the Tijuana fighter would be issued a boxing license for his scheduled rematch against Miguel Cotto Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden.
Margarito, who is training in Mexico for his bout against world super-welterweight champion Cotto, will appear for the exam, his promoter Bob Arum said.
"We don't know when yet," Arum said Friday, shortly after the decision was announced by commission chairwoman Melvina Lathan. "Obviously, we'll go through the exam.
"We now have to work out the parameters of who the doctor is, how he'll be picked. We want him to be picked mutually."
Former world welterweight champion Margarito suffered a fractured orbital bone and developed a large cataract from his punishing loss to Manny Pacquiao in November, 2010. For months, there was talk that Margarito's career was over.
Arum, however, sent Margarito to an eye specialist at the prestigious Moran Eye Center in Utah, where a surgeon removed the cataract and said the fighter's vision would be strong enough to return to the ring.
"There's no longer an automatic rejection for cataract replacement surgery," Arum said. "We're confident [Margarito] is fine. [He was treated by ] the best eye doctor in the world."
Yet, Arum and others close to the fight were braced for New York to reject Margarito's bid for a license. And the promoter has discussed moving the HBO pay-per-view bout from New York -- where Cotto is an enormous draw -- to Texas, Denver or Mississippi.
The New York commission is also facing intense scrutiny over its decision, in part because Madison Square Garden is empty many nights because of the NBA lockout and the Cotto-Margarito bout is expected to be a sellout.
Margarito has said he's experienced no problems with his eye in training, and his surgeon from Utah, along with another expert, told the commission at a Wednesday hearing that he was fit to fight.
Photo: Antonio Margarito suffers a beating in a loss to Manny Pacquiao in November, 2010. Credit: Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT.