RingTV.com spoke to ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito on Tuesday evening just hours after the fighter had been informed that the New York State Athletic Commission had granted him a license to fight WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto in an HBO Pay Per View-televised rematch on Dec. 3 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The decision ended a day during which Cotto (36-2, 29 knockouts) had vowed during a national conference call not to fight Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) in any other state if Margarito was not approved by the NYSAC due to the fighter’s medical records relating to his severely damaged right eye.
The eye injury occurred during a November unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao, against whom Margarito suffered a fractured right orbital bone that required surgery to repair.
Margarito was examined on Monday by a Manhattan-based, commission-designated opthalmologist, Dr. Michael T. Goldstein, who assurances that Margarito was fit to fight led the NYSAC’s three-member committee to unanimously vote in favor of licensing Margarito.
The ruling paves the way for Margarito’s second shot at Cotto, who was unbeaten when Margarito dethroned him as WBA welterweight beltholder by 11th-round knockout in July of 2008.
Below, Margarito expressed his thoughts on the process, which involved him taking a private flight from his training camp in Toluca, Mex., to New York, where he was examined by Goldstein as well as Dr. Kenneth J. Rosenthal of the New York Intraocular Lens Implant Society before being approved.
Translated by Margarito’s trainer, Robert Garcia.
RingTV.com: Were you worried about the decision?
Antonio Margarito: No, because I already knew what the physician was going say. Our eye was good. We had already been examined by a doctor who approved it.
So why wouldn’t the New York commission approve us when we knew that we were 100 percent ready.
RingTV.com: Were you frustrated by the process?
That means that he wasn’t going to fight. He felt that fighting in New York is to his advantage, and that not fighting in New York would be to our advantage.
But this just gives us more motivation to come out and to perform and do whatever we have to do in the ring to win the fight.
RingTV.com: Was it a distraction that you had to leave your training camp?
We were going to say that Miguel Cotto could take the fight to Puerto Rico if that would make him feel more comfortable fighting over there, and I was still going to beat him.
RingTV.com: What can you say to fans and critics alike regarding your health?
AM: This fight is dedicated to all of my fans, and I want them all to know that I am in perfect health. I want to thank everybody for supporting me. I’m in perfect health, and I’m dedicating this fight to you.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org