MANILA, Philippines - Denied re-entry into California, it seems that Antonio Margarito is much more welcome in Texas.
As the date of the fight draws nearer, Margarito being issued a license to fight Manny Pacquiao in the Lone Star State is becoming clearer.
The LA Times yesterday reported that Texas, which hosted Pacquiao’s fight against Joshua Clottey last March, is “poised to loosely reinstate Margarito.”
It may even come in the absence of a formal hearing, similar to the one the California State Athletic Commission held last Aug. 18 when Margarito was denied.
The Mexican welterweight had his hands full in that hearing, and in the end the CSAC decided against giving him back his license that was revoked in February last year due to illegal handwraps in his title fight against Shane Mosley.
In Texas, Margarito can get what he wants, his license, a steak as big as his face, and a huge paycheck going up against the sport’s biggest draw.
Bob Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Margarito, had considered putting up the Nov. 13 fight for the vacant WBC welterweight crown in Abu Dhabi or Monterrey in Mexico.
But now the possibility is even higher that the fight would take place at the Cowboys Stadium, which organizers say can draw as much as 70,000 fans, even bigger than the 51,000 for the Pacquiao vs Clottey.
Lance Pugmire wrote that the Texans are poised to give Margarito his license back within the week.
It should come in handy if they do because there’s just a little over two months left before the date, and the fighters need a week for a press tour as well as promoters to drum it up and make some noise.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation’s head of combat sports reportedly had communications with the head of the Association of Boxing Commissions. And they liked what they heard.
“Margarito has fulfilled his obligations,” wrote ABC chief Timothy Lueckenhoff, “and thus he is now free to pursue licensure with any ABC member commission. There is nothing under the federal law that would prohibit consideration for licensure.”
“If a man serves his time for his crime, he’s served his time and needs to be released,” was the opinion of Dickie Cole, the program manager of combat sports in Texas.
Abac Cordero, Philippine Star