By Mark Vester
The controversy over the hand wraps of Antonio Margarito is getting ugly. As most know by now, prior to last Saturday's bout with Shane Mosley at Staples Center in Los Angeles, two "plaster-like" blocks were found under Margarito's hand wraps by an inspector for the California State Athletic Commission.
Mosley's trainer, Nazim Richardson, during an interview with George Willis of the New York Post, called it a "deliberate" act. It was Richardson who first raised a question mark after having an issue with the way Margarito's hands were wrapped. He asked to feel one of the hands that was wrapped and quickly complained about the hard structure to the cushion. He made a request to Dean Lohuis, chief inspector of the CSAC, to rewrap Margarito's hands. Lohuis also took a feel and ordered the wraps to come off - and that was when the blocks were discovered.
Richardson is not pointing the finger at Margarito. He doesn't know if Margarito was directly involved, but someone in his camp is to blame.
"It was brick hard. It was deliberate, but on whose part? I don't know," said Richardson. "For all I know the corner could have been wrapping it that way for all of his fights, and Margarito could have been just as surprised as anybody that it was wrong. As you fight the natural cushion in the gloves wear down, so by the later rounds you're basically getting hit with that plaster in there. That kind of stuff is ridiculous. When he opened it up, a little square block of old wet gauze packed real tight came out. It was like it had plaster on it. I think it had an old dried up blood stain on it."
"I've been through this before. I don't want to tarnish nobody's image. Margarito might not have known what was going on because he wasn't really objecting to being rewrapped. But somebody did it. I don't think anybody would have beaten Shane Mosley that night," he said. "But with that plaster in there, it might have made it a little rougher."
The CSAC are investigating the matter and sent samples of the blocks to their Sacramento office for examination. Lohuis refused to further comment to Willis.
Mosley's lawyer Judd Burstein, told Willis the blocks felt like "plaster of Paris." He also questioned how long Margarito had been wrapping his hands in this kind of fashion.
"It looked to me like the kind of thing that if the fight went on when (Margarito's) hands got sweaty and it would harden so it would feel like a cast," Burstein said. "I can only imagine what Cotto is thinking now. I've never seen somebody not working out sweating as badly as the guy who was wrapping Margarito's hands when this was going on. It was like they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar."
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