Originally Posted by DeymarPR
The trainer for Shane Mosley on Monday said two blocks of a plaster-like substance discovered in Antonio Margarito's gloves before their welterweight championship fight Saturday night at the Staples Center was a "deliberate" act that deserves a thorough investigation.
"It was deliberate, but on whose part? I don't know," said Naazim Richardson, who worked Mosley's corner and was the one who discovered two blocks of hardened gauze wrapped around the knuckles of Margarito's fists. "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."
The California State Athletic Commission confirmed on Monday it has sent "two samples" to its offices in Sacramento to be examined. "We are investigating, but I'm not authorized to say any more," said Dean Lohuis, chief inspector of the CSAC, who worked the fight won by Mosley on a ninth-round technical knockout.
Here's what happened. The controversy began when Richardson was in Margarito's dressing room to witness the wrapping of his hands. One hand already had been wrapped and approved by the CSAC before Richardson's arrival.
In the process of wrapping the other hand, Richardson questioned the amount of tape going directly on Margarito's skin, and asked for a rewrapping. During the rewrapping, it got to a point where a cushion was placed across Margarito's knuckles. But when Richardson asked if he could "feel" the cushion that's when the Margarito camp began to protest.
Margarito's co-manager Francisco Espinoza was the most defiant telling Richardson, "I expected this from you," to which Richardson said: "You should expect me to do my job."
Over protests from the Margarito camp, Richardson was allowed to feel the cushion. "It was brick hard," said Richardson, who told the Lohuis to feel it himself. Once Lohuis felt the cushion he ordered that it be "opened up," Richardson said.
"When he opened it up, a little square block of old wet gauze packed real tight came out," Richardson said. "It was like it had plaster on it. I think it had an old dried up blood stain on it."
Richardson asked Margarito's previously wrapped hand be inspected as well, and another hard block of gauze was found in that wrapping. According to witnesses, a doctor for the Mosley camp inspected the two blocks of hardened gauze and said, "This is what we use in the hospital to make casts."
Both samples were given to Mosley's lawyer Judd Burstein, who said they felt like "plaster of Paris." He then gave them to Lohuis with the assurance they would be secured it such a way they wouldn't be tampered with. "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.
Richardson said the blocks of hardened gauze had been packed and treated in such as way that it could make Margarito's punches feel like bricks especially in later rounds. "As you fight the natural cushion in the gloves wear down," Richardson said, "so by the later rounds you're basically getting hit with that plaster in there. That kind of stuff is ridiculous."
Margarito and his handlers face possible suspensions and fines if they are found to have deliberately broken rules. Margarito's co-manager Sergio Diaz was not in his office on Monday and he didn't return a message left by the Post. A spokesman for Top Rank Inc., Margarito's promoter, said the issue is between the trainer, Javier Capetillo, and the CSAC. "We'll see what happens," the spokesman said.
Margarito's hands were wrapped a third time and approved for the fight, which Mosley dominated en route to the surprising victory. Margarito was coming off a career-defining win over Miguel Cotto last July were Margarito's thunderous punches battered Cotto into an 11th round TKO. Don't expect the Margarito camp to confess how the fighter's hands were wrapped for that bout.
"I can only imagine what Cotto is thinking now," Burstein said. "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."
Richardson has served as a long-time trainer to Bernard Hopkins and raised a similar issue before Hopkins' fight with Tito Trinidad 2001 at the Garden. Richardson objected when Felix Trinidad Sr. was wrapping Tito's hands with layers of gauze, then layers of tape, then more gauze and tape, etc., which was against rules of the New York State Athletic Commission.
"I've been through this before," Richardson said. "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."
Richardson isn't sure how the fight would have been affected had the blocks of hardened gauze not been discovered. "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."