All boxing fans know about Antonio Margarito’s handwrap scandal by now -- unless they’ve been comatose for the last couple of years. It's interesting to consider what kind of impact it will have on Margarito's fight against Manny Pacquiao for the WBC Super Welterweight championship Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The argument can definitely be made that Margarito shouldn’t be fighting at all. Many boxing fans and non-boxing fans, feel he should have been banned for life because he had a plaster-of-Paris type substance in his hand wraps before taking on Shane Mosley in Los Angeles back in 2009. This is no joke: Boxers have died after enduring such illegal punishment from their cowardly foes.
That incident raised a lot of questions about the effectiveness of the California Boxing Commission and how a near catasrophe nearly happened without anybody noticing until just minutes before the fight began. After investigating the incident, Margarito and his former trainer Javier Capetillo received year-long suspensions from boxing in California (which has not yet rescinded the ban).
The incident should never be forgotten, and it won’t be when Margarito and Pacquiao duel it out next week. It’ll be brought up by boxing fans all over the world before the fight, during the fight and once the fight is over -- and will be used by many as some type of reasoning for the result of the bout. If Pacquiao wins, the reasoning will be because Margarito wasn’t able to cheat and isn’t good enough to fight without loaded gloves.
If Margarito wins…. Hmmm, well, this is where it gets a little difficult to explain and where Pacquiao’s legacy could actually suffer. There’s no chance Margarito’s can step into the ring with any type of equipment advantage. He’s going to be watched like a hawk before the fight. This fight is going to be mano a mano, no doubt about it
But if Margarito should beat Pacquiao, and let’s say does it within 10 rounds, many Pacquiao detractors are going to point out that Miguel Cotto lasted longer against Margarito and possibly did it against his loaded gloves. This is because a lot of fans believe Margarito’s hand wraps were also tampered with before the Cotto fight in 2008.
Of course, it’s all irrelevant if Pacquiao wins the fight. But if he doesn’t, some non-Pacquiao fans could begin to grab at straws and point to the fact a clean Margarito finished him off earlier than he did Cotto, whom he stopped in the 11th round.
The glove issue won’t have any bearing on the way Pacquiao fights, but it’ll be interesting to see how it affects Margarito. If he has been using illegal hand wraps for past fights, how will this affect his confidence and style now that he can’t use them? I suppose it could actually make him a better fighter, considering he won’t have anything else to depend on other than pure boxing skills.