A three-member panel, including New York State Athletic Commission chairwoman Melvina Lathan, will convene on Friday to vote on whether or not to license ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito for a Dec. 3 rematch with WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto that is currently scheduled to be televised on HBO Pay Per View from New York’s Madison Square Garden, RingTV.com has learned.
The NYSAC originally denied Margarito a license on Oct. 31 due to complications from a serious injury that occurred during a November unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao, against whom Margarito suffered a fractured right orbital bone that required surgery to repair.
Neither Lathan nor Top Rank Vice President, Carl Moretti could be reached for comment, and Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum is in transit from New York to Houston, Tex., where he will promote Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash between RING No. 5-rated middleweight and WBC titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Peter Manfredo Jr. at Reliant Arena in Houston.
Arum and Moretti attended a meeting on Wednesday in New York during which the commission heard testimony from a commission eye specialist, a doctor from its medical advisory board and two doctors who supported Margarito’s application, including Margarito’s eye surgeon, Alan Crandall.
Crandall, who spoke via video testimony on Wednesday, operated on Margarito in May at the John Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Considered to be among of the nation’s premiere eye surgeons, Crandall assured the commission on Wednesday that Margarito’s eye was healthy enough that he could safely compete as a boxer once again.
It was Crandall, in May, who performed surgery which removed a cataract and placed an artificial lens into Margarito’s eye. Crandall then advised Margarito not to box again until December.
Top Rank officials forwarded the results of Crandall’s procedure to the NYSAC and then contacted Madison Square Garden to make arrangements to schedule Cotto-Margarito on Dec. 3.
But on Halloween, Top Rank received notification from the commission that there might be a problem with Margarito’s eye, leading to Wednesday’s hearing.
If Margarito is not licensed, the entire card may be moved to another venue, event promoter and Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum told ESPN.com.
“Worst-case scenario is that they deny the license, and if they do, we have five other venues as backups. But we are still going on Dec. 3. We’re doing the fight,” Arum told ESPN.com.
“We have a license [for Margarito] from a few states. You play the hand that you’re dealt. I’m not going to get myself worried about it. Hopefully, the commission does the right thing and grants the license.”
Arum did not name the other potential venues, but The New York Daily News reports that one location could be The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The Daily News also reported that all but 1,500 tickets had been sold for the show at Madison Square Garden.
The New York commission is considering whether to license Margarito despite the eye issues. Normally, the sort of injury and surgery that Margarito had disqualifies a fighter from being licensed in New York.
Photo by Chris Cozzone, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com