03 December 2011
I remember the first lesson my high school newspaper teacher told me: Journalism as a profession is defined institutionally as being devoted to objective truth. As I continued through my life, writing for various school newspapers. That objectiveness has driven me to keep opinion out of my articles and news stories.
Yet every once in a while a fight comes along where my objectiveness has to take a back seat. I will be the first to admit; I will be cheering and rooting my heart out for Miguel Cotto December 3rd against Antonio Margarito.
Why? One simple assumption: Antonio Margarito cheated against Miguel Cotto in their first fight.
To many, this assumption is one that can be debated and hotly contested. However, to a boxing fan, the mere evidence of trying to cheat by using plaster like substance in his hand wraps against Shane Mosley is enough to condemn him into the boxing Hall of Shame. When a fighter tampers with his hand wraps it shows a complete lack of respect. Lack of respect for the sport, your opponent, and the fans. The only thing that matters is your victory. Forget morals, forget pride, a just win no matter what mentality. Steroid users at least have the decency to make their own choice to tamper only with their own bodies to win. Tampering your hand wraps puts your opponent's health at risk, unknowingly. Marion Jones, Rafael Palermo, Pete Rose and Tonya Harding scoff at fighters who tamper with hand wraps.
Before this I was a Margarito fan. I cheered for him as many others did, hoping that he would stop being avoided by all the top welterweights. First he loss me as a fan after the Mosley fiasco. Then I lost respect for him as a boxer, when he blatantly lied and said he had no idea and he couldn’t feel anything in his hands. Lastly, after still defiantly refusing to accept any responsibility, at the ensuing trial with the mountains of evidence against him, I lost respect for him as a person.
Even Luis Resto, who has the other most infamous tampering scandal in boxing, shows remorse and admits what he did. I think the difference is that Resto couldn't live with his own guilt and Margarito can. The way Margarito acts during press conferences and HBO's 24/7 there isn't one hint of remorse of what may have happened during the Shane Mosley fight. Yet, Margarito and his former trainer Capetillo still wonder why people rush to assume their guilt.
Cotto isn’t fighting just for his own revenge. He is fighting to make sure the balance of the good and evil in the sport of boxing is kept. Margarito winning the rematch will be enough to vindicate him in the minds of many. Yet, it will be a miscarriage of justice. Fights like their first contest beat the prime out of fighters. Many boxing experts have already spoken of Cotto’s decline from his pinnacle and all point to the same fateful night as the beginning of the fall. Cotto’s prime has been stolen from him by a fighter who cheats.
I still remember the buzz when the first fight was signed. I thought to myself, “There is absolutely no way this could be a bad fight.” The second fight promises much of the same. The fighters may be a bit slower and battle worn, but the fight science premise remains the same: Can Cotto outbox or outslug Margarito? Or will Margarito’s punishing style prove too much for the Puerto Rican star?
I hope Cotto can.
I am rooting for Cotto not because I am just a Cotto fan, but because I am a boxing fan. I’m also a karma fan. For if Antonio Margarito walkout of that ring on December 3rd with a victory, it’s not just Cotto that lost, but justice as well.