Thursday, January 29, 2009

Margarito and his trainer are temporarily suspended

By Lance Pugmire January 29, 2009 L.A. Times

Posted by Scott G

Boxer Antonio Margarito was temporarily suspended along with his trainer, Javier Capetillo, on Wednesday after the California State Athletic Commission announced it found a "foreign substance" in the boxer's hand wraps before his Saturday night loss to Shane Mosley at Staples Center.Margarito and Capetillo have been ordered to appear at a hearing on the matter Feb. 10 in Van Nuys. In the hour before his first title defense as World Boxing Assn. welterweight champion, Margarito (37-6) was stopped from putting on his gloves when Mosley's trainer Nazim Richardson told officials he believed the taping was excessively thick. When the tape was unwrapped, Richardson pointed out two pads inside one of the hand wraps that appeared wet and laced with "flecks" of a substance that appeared to be like "Plaster of Paris," Mosley's attorney Judd Burstein said Saturday night.Mosley's promoter, Richard Schaefer, saw a cellphone photo of the stained wraps and said the substance appeared "gray," like "concrete."The contents of the hand wraps were sealed by a state athletic commission official, and were inspected this week in Sacramento. The foreign substance was suspicious enough to merit the suspensions, state spokesman Luis Farias said, but that an identification of the material "is all pending."
That inspection will include an analysis of the substance found in Margarito's hand wraps by the California Department of Justice, said Tim Noonan, state athletic commissioner."The temporary suspension will remain in effect until CSAC has fully investigated the circumstances surrounding events at the Staples Center . . . on Jan. 24," the statement read. "An investigation as to whether either licensee violated CSAC rules is ongoing."Bob Arum, Margarito's promoter, says he has retained an attorney for the boxer. Arum said Margarito was "fine" after learning of the suspension, "because he's completely innocent."We're absolutely confident he's going to be exonerated," Arum told The Times. "He's not a cheater, he wouldn't know anything about cheating."Asked if he maintained that same position about trainer Capetillo, Arum said, "That, I don't know." State codes allow Margarito's boxing and Capetillo's training licenses to be suspended when "such an action is necessary to protect the public welfare," Noonan's statement said, explaining rules dictate "the amount and type of gauze and tape allowed under a fighter's glove." A lengthy suspension of Margarito would be obeyed in all other states, in accordance with the Professional Boxing Safety Act, which was amended to account for unsportsmanlike conduct suspensions after Mike Tyson bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear in a 1997 bout. Margarito's manager, Sergio Diaz, told The Times in a text message, "I am assuming [the suspension] is a CSAC standard procedure."The controversy has reached Puerto Rico, home country of Miguel Cotto, who was knocked out by Margarito in July for his first loss. Cotto and Margarito have a rematch tentatively scheduled for June 13, according to Arum.Cotto's attorney, Gabriel Penagaricano, said his fighter and his camp are "all going to be paying attention" to the Feb. 10 hearing "for various reasons."Arum said "nobody should be jumping to any conclusions" that Margarito's hand wraps were doctored against Cotto because that fight was in Las Vegas, where boxing authorities restrict wrapping to a specific type of gauze and supervise the wrapping intently."It couldn't have happened in Nevada," Arum said.Times staff writer Kevin Baxter contributed to this report.

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