By Chris Robinson
Despite having suffered one-sided losses in his recent bouts with Manny Pacquiao in November of 2010 and Miguel Cotto in a rematch this past December, former champion Antonio Margarito is still pushing forward with his career.
Having taken his share of punishment in recent years and after seeing his surgically-repaired right eye again severely damaged in his second encounter with Cotto, Margarito (38-8, 27 knockouts) is opting for an easier touch with a May 26th assignment against little-known Abel Perry (18-5, 9 knockouts) at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.
Once the holder of the IBF, WBO, and WBA titles at various points in his career, the 34-year old Margarito is said to be making a move up to the middleweight division for the Perry bout.
It also seems that Oxnard, Calif.-based trainer Robert Garcia, who has been with Margarito for his past three fights, may not be working with Antonio anymore. Catching up with Garcia recently to get a gauge on where his working relationship stands with Margarito, I was informed that he too is a bit in the dark.
“I haven’t heard from them. My guess is he’s training in Mexico,” said Garcia, who worked with Margarito in Oxnard for the Pacquiao bout and in Temoaya, Mexico for the Cotto rematch. “This is a small fight and he would rather just do the training in Mexico. It isn’t a big fight so they might not want to travel for camp. That’s my only guess.”
Not to say that there is any kind of rift between fighter and trainer, as Garcia was more than cordial with Margarito when the two crossed paths in Tucson on March 23rd. Garcia was in town to work the corner of Margarito’s brother-in-law Hanzel Martinez, an undefeated bantamweight prospect, and seemed pleased to have touched bases.
“I told him that if he fights, it doesn’t have to be with me; I just want to give him my advice,” Garcia reflected of his conversation with Margarito. “Because he’s got to take care of his health first, before getting hurt. He’s got to be smart about it and I told him that. I’m not upset, I don’t blame him. He’s already looking at things. I have two guys fighting that same night in Tucson, Arizona. So I’ll be there with him and I’ll cheer him on, of course. He’s still our friend.”
And if Margarito where to approach Garcia about working his corner come fight night, it’s something he would be more than open to.
“I’d be more than happy to do that,” Garcia said. “He’s my friend, his manager Sergio and his team, they’ve always been good to me. I have no problem doing it. If they tell me that, I’d be more than happy to do that.”