WBA 154-pound beltholder Miguel Cotto said that he will not fight Antonio Margarito in any other state if the former two-time welterweight beltholder is not licensed by the New York State Athletic Commision, which is expected to make a ruling on Tuesday after reviewing the medical records relating to the fighter’s severely damaged right eye.
“If the people from the New York commission said that Margarito is not able to fight because of his eye, then anybody has to repect that, and any commission in the U.S. has to respect that, so I’m not going to fight anywhere else,” Cotto, who is immensly popular at Madison Square Garden, said during a media conference call.
“When I signed for this fight with the company [Top Rank Inc.] to fight Margarito, the fight was to be in New York City, and that’s where the fight should be.”
Margarito (38-7, 27 knockouts) was examined by a Manhattan-based doctor on Monday who was appointed by the NYSAC, and is awaiting a Tuesday afternoon verdict by the commission as to whether or not he will be licensed to face Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) at New York’s Madison Square Garden in an HBO-Pay Per View televised rematch on Dec. 3.
Margarito’s fate will be determined by the findings of Dr. Michael T. Goldstein, a commission-designated opthalmologist whose testimony will be heard during a hearing by the NYSAC’s three-member committee, including chairwoman Melvina Lathan.
The commission originally denied Margarito a license on Oct. 31 due to complications from a serious eye 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.
If Margarito is not granted a license, there are plans for Cotto-Margarito and its entire card to be moved to another venue.
Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum had considered Cowboys Stadium in Texas to be a leading candidate before a conflict developed, and it now appears that the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo., or the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz., have emerged as the leading alternative sites.
“I signed for this for New York. I didn’t sign this fight for somewhere else. I’m going to fight in New York,” said Cotto. “I’m not going to fight in another place. I’m not going to present myself in any other state.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org