RingTV.com: How close were you to stopping it?
RG: Knowing Tony and his heart, and his courage, and the fact that he responded every minute that I spoke to him, I didn’t stop it. He was answering every question of mine and the doctor’s after every round.
The doctor was showing him fingers [asking Margarito if he could see them] and Tony was responding. It was not only me, but he was responding to the doctor and the referee.
So between the doctor, myself and the referee, I think that he deserved the chance to give it a try. He kept giving us the correct answers, and that is what motivated us to keep giving him that chance.
Besides, he hadn’t been dropped. There wasn’t one time where he was hurt during any round that the referee couldn’t give him a standing eight count directly. There were never any of those moments.
Tony was getting hit by Manny because Manny’s very fast. So who doesn’t Manny hit? He hits everybody, except for his last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.
Tony kept telling me every single minute, “I want to keep going, let’s keep going, I feel good,” and, “I’ll get him. I’ll get him this round.” I think that he deserved the chance.
If there is any boxer who has the heart and who wanted to finish the fight on his feet, Antonio Margarito is the one who deserved that opportunity.
RingTV.com: Have you had any sleepless nights over the decision?
RG: I’m good with how it has gone. I have stopped fights. That’s my job. If I see that one of my fighters has no chance against his opponent and is just taking a beating, then I will stop the fight.
If a fighter is not responding or answering questions, then whenever that time in a fight comes, then I will do it if I have to. But it is at those times that I also saw it in the fighter’s eyes.
During the break between rounds, the way that they’ve answered questions or not responded the way they should, and I’ve stopped the fights.
When the right thing to do is to stop the fight with one of my fighters, I will do it because I know that I will have to. If my fighter is at risk of life and health, then I will do it.
But it was just different with Antonio Margarito. Against Pacquiao, he just wanted to finish on his feet and I’m really comfortable with the decisions that I’ve made.
Everybody’s doing well. We’ve had a great year this year, so we’re doing a great job.
RingTV.com: Have you taken any precautions during sparring to protect the eye?
RG: We’ve been sparring for the past two months maybe, and the sparring partners can tell you, from J’Leon Love, to Omar Henry, to Jesus Soto Karass, that not one single day did I tell them to take it easy.
I have not told them not to throw the left hook too much or to try to avoid hitting his eye. Not one single time. I was actually asking them to throw more of the jabs and the left hooks because that’s what we’re expecting from Cotto.
We’ve never taken it lightly, and the sparring partners have never taken it lightly on Tony. We have the cameras from [HBO’s] 24/7 there, and they’ve recorded every single round of sparring throughout training camp.
So there is nothing to hide. We know that Tony’s eye is good, just like the doctor said in New York. He said Tony’s eye is so healthy, that if something is to happen, it could be in the left eye instead of the right eye.
That’s how healthy his right eye is, just like the other one. Fighters get injured, but the doctors have given us the permission to push Tony to the fullest, and the sparring partners are doing their job.
RingTV.com: Can you discuss your personal relationship with Margarito?
RG: You know what? We have a great relationship. Not only as boxer and trainer but also as friends. Not only from what he has told me, but just being in the gym with him.
He has the will, and he has the motivation and he has the desire to do it again. He’s telling me all of the time that he wants to do it again and that he wants to be champion again.
Tony is training and he’s happy and he’s working so hard. That in itself tells me that he’s ready. There is nothing negative in his mind. No thoughts about not doing it again.
He’s happy and very positive every day. He’s enjoying it and telling me every day that this is one of the best training camps that he’s ever had. So we’re ready to go.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com