Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum appears to be acting as if the New York State Athletic Commission will vote on Friday to deny a license to Antonio Margarito, meaning the promoter will have to move the Dec. 3 Margarito-Miguel Cotto II bout and its undercard to another location, with Texas the seeming favorite, and Mississippi and Colorado also being options.
Margarito is licensed in all three of the states being considered.
A three-member panel, including New York State Athletic Commission chairwoman Melvina Lathan, will vote on Friday at 11 a.m. whether or not to license ex-titleholder Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) against WBA junior middleweight beltholder Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs), a fight currently scheduled to be televised on HBO Pay Per View from New York’s Madison Square Garden.
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 (54-3-2, 38 KOs), against whom Margarito suffered a fractured right orbital bone that required surgery to repair.
Lathan could not be reached for comment on Thursday, but Arum told RingTV.com that he did not emerge with favorable feelings from a hearing on Wednesday in New York that he attended along with Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti.
During the meeting, 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.
“And none of the commissioners asked them one question. After they finished testifying, we took a break, and Melvina Lathan, the chairwoman of the New York Commission, didn’t realize that her microphone was still on,” said Arum.
“She said to another commissioner who stayed in the room, ‘Do you believe this? I don’t believe a word they said?’ Can you believe that she would say that about two of the foremost opthalmologists? As if they had anything to gain by this?”
Reached on Thursday in Houston, Arum said that if Margarito is not licensed, then the entire card will be shifted to another state.
“Texas, Colorado and Mississippi want the fight,” said Arum, who is in Texas promoting Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash between RING No. 5-rated middleweight and WBC titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 KOs) and Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KOs) at Reliant Arena in Houston.