The first cut beneath the right eye of Antonio Margarito materialized as a result of the fighter’s leaning into a fourth-round uppercut by southpaw Manny Pacquiao. By the ninth round of their November clash, Margarito’s eyes were nearly swollen shut.
The right one was particularly damaged, lacerated on the cheek bone and eyebrow as well as puffy beneath the eyelid from having eaten Pacquiao’s assortment of powerful left hands.
Trainer Robert Garcia, in his first fight with Margarito, figured that his boxer’s field of vision in his right eye was growing more and more limited. Garcia considered stopping the fight, but Margarito begged him not to and wound up losing by one-sided unanimous decision.
Margarito (38-7, 27 knockouts) was hospitalized, where he received surgery to repair a fractured right orbital bone a few days after the bout. Another operation has removed a cataract and inserted an artificial lens into the eye.
Cleared to fight in June, Margarito was granted a license after a lengthy process on Nov. 23 by the New York State Athletic Commision to face RING No. 1 rated WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3.
Garcia also trains RING No. 4-rated pound-for-pound and WBC/WBO bantamweight titlewinner Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs), RING No. 1-rated WBA lightweight beltholder Brandon Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs) as well as his own younger brother, RING No. 9-rated featherweight contender Mikey Garcia (27-0, 23 KOs).
Robert Garcia shared his thoughts with RingTV.com concerning his role in Pacquiao-Margarito, his friendship with Margarito, the health of Margarito’s eye and the fighter’s upcoming bout with Cotto.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on the entire process of getting Margarito licensed in New York?
Robert Garcia: I think that they did the right thing. Tony had already done his exams in Utah. We went to New York and we did another one in the morning on Monday [Nov. 23] with another doctor.
They said that if it was up to them, then Tony was okay to fight. We knew that he was ready to go and that everything was good and that he had been cleared through those two exams.
But they required him to come in and to do the exam for the commission, so we did them. We have nothing to hide. We did have to break one day of training to fly into New York from Mexico.
But besides that, we knew that everything was going to be fine because we had already passed the exams with the two previous doctors, so there was nothing to be afraid of or to hide or anything.
RingTV.com: What do you recall about the last few rounds of the Pacquiao fight?
RG: Every round, after a close round, of course, his eye was bleeding and was starting to get worse. But I’ve been in boxing for many years, and I’ve seen fighters fight with closed eyes and still pull it out.
In fact, Diego Corrales was pretty beat up, and anybody could have said for the fight to be stopped against Jose Luis Castillo. But they didn’t stop it, and look what happened? Corales pulled it out and he won that fight.