Former three-time welterweight titleholder Antonio Margarito announced that he is retiring from boxing on his Facebook page on Thursday.
Margarito, who is 34, is coming off a 10th-round TKO loss to Miguel Cotto last December during which his surgically-repaired right eye was badly bloodied by the WBA 154-pound titleholder.
Margarito had been scheduled for a return bout at Casino Del Sol in Tucson against Abel Perry, of Colorado Springs, but he informed his promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, last week that he was ready to call it a career.
“Margarito gave us a heads up that he was going to retire,” said Arum. “He said that his body was breaking down. We certainly encourage him to retire.”
Margarito had been targeting WBC midddleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who, like Margarito, is promoted by Top Rank.
Margarito suffered a fractured right orbital bone during a unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in November of 2010, necessitating the surgery to his eye.
Margarito’s manager, Sergio Diaz, had said that the skin surrounding the eye is vulnerable to further cuts because of the many blows he has absorbed.
“His legacy is that he was a fighter who never quit, and he gave everything in every fight,” said Arum. “He was not the most talented guy in the world, but certainly one of the toughest.”
Cotto’s victory over Margarito avenged his 11th-round knockout loss — the first of Cotto’s career — in July of 2008.
In the first fight with Margarito, Cotto’s nose was broken, he had been knocked down once and taken a knee once, and blood flowed freely down his face from a deep gash over his left eye.
Although illegal plaster was found in Margarito’s hand wrappings and removed prior to his ninth-round knockout loss to Shane Mosley in his next fight in January of 2009, allegations lingered over whether or not he had similar “enhancements” when he faced Cotto.
After facing Mosley, the licenses of Margarito and his trainer Javier Capetillo were revoked by the California State Athletic Commission. However, Margarito was cleared to fight in Mexico, Texas and New York after a year of inactivity.
“We’re certainly gratified that we could do for him in the last few years what we did. We’ve made him financially secure, and we fought like hell for him in order to do it,” said Arum. “I’m really proud of what we did for him at Top Rank. We wish Tony the best of luck for the rest of his life.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com