By Mitch Abramson
The New York State Athletic Commission is currently grappling with the issue of whether Antonio Margarito is fit to fight on Dec. 3. But the agency may soon have another complicated case to deal with next week, adding to their agita. Luis Resto, the former Bronx welterweight, who went to jail for using gloves and wraps that were doctored in a fight, says he plans on applying for his second’s license after the Thanksgiving Holiday, he told BoxingScene.com.
Resto announced his intentions to be a pro trainer during a panel discussion at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan, following a screening of the documentary “Assault in the Ring,” which chronicles his 1983 fight with Billy Collins Jr. and its sad aftermath. Resto, now 56, was found guilty of assault, along with other charges and served nearly three years in prison while Collins faded into depression and ultimately died in a car accident. The event, at Temple Emanu-El was organized by Eric Drath, who wrote and directed the film and is a member of the synagogue.
Resto, who remains suspended indefinitely as a boxer, wants to work corners of professional fights, and intends on visiting the commission’s offices in lower Manhattan with former welterweight champion, Aaron Davis, whose gym Resto has been working in- and sometimes living in- for the past year. It will be his first attempt at applying for a trainer’s license, which consists of a written test of a 100 questions and paying a licensing fee of $10.
“I just want to be in boxing again,” he said on Monday. “I want to be in the corner, working with fighters. I think they should give me a license. I already paid my dues, spent time in prison. Everyone deserves a second chance. I like to train people. This is what I know how to do.”
Resto applied and was a granted a trainers’ license from USA Boxing-Metro to work the New York Golden Gloves back in 2002, he said. Joe Higgins, the former USA Boxing-Metro president, who was vice president at that time, remembers approving a second’s license for Resto with former president Johnny Woluewich- but that was just to work the Gloves.
“I do remember us saying that mistakes were made but we did give him a license,” Higgins said. “He was trying to help kids, and what he did was in the pro ranks, not the amateurs.”
Drath, along with Davis, believe that Resto deserves to get his trainer’s license after all he’s been through.
“At this point, I don’t think he’s a threat to the sport,” said Drath, who plans on accompanying Resto to the commission’s office to get his license. “If anything, he’s an example of someone who paid their debt to society and learned from his experiences. He is the perfect person to teach younger boxers about what they should and shouldn’t do in the sport.”
Davis described Resto as a diligent trainer. He's working with both amateurs and pros at his Bronx gym.
“He’s a good person, he has a good heart,” Davis said. “He went through what he went through, and I think he learned from his experiences. He’s a very good trainer. He deserves to get his license.”
The commission’s press office in Albany didn’t immediately have a comment on Resto's situation.
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.