By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Antonio Margarito admits he thought his career was over.
After having surgery to repair a broken right orbital bone incurred during his lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao, an eye specialist told him he couldn’t fight again. That’s how blurry the vision in Margarito’s right eye remained several months after Pacquiao pummeled him in Arlington, Texas.
It wasn’t until he underwent cataract surgery May 19 at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah that Margarito, 33, felt confident he could continue his career.
“I’m physically ready and I’m mentally ready,” said Margarito, who’ll face Miguel Cotto in a highly anticipated rematch Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden. “I’ve had some time off to rest. I’m actually back in the gym. I’ve been sparring, I’ve been training, and I’m going to be mentally and physically prepared for this fight.”
Sergio Diaz, Margarito’s co-manager, senses his fighter is much more at ease because his checkups with Dr. Alan S. Crandalll have gone well since Margarito resumed boxing activities.
“He’s not concerned anymore,” Diaz said. “At first, yes, he was concerned. But we’ve been going back and forth to Utah, to Dr. Crandall. We go every three weeks and he’s been giving us nothing but positive news.
“Antonio did consider retirement for a while. If the doctor was to say, ‘I don’t recommend you fighting,’ he would not be fighting. But the doctor fixed his eye and he said, ‘I don’t see why you can’t go on with your career.’ And that’s why he’s going on with his career.”
Mexico’s Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs, 1 NC) will have been off for more than a year by the time he encounters Cotto again. His trainer, Robert Garcia, isn’t worried about Margarito’s long layoff, nor whether Margarito will be the same after undergoing two serious surgeries.
“I train my fighters to win, so that’s what I’m going to do,” Garcia said. “If I felt that he wasn’t ready or that he wasn’t OK, then I would’ve told him, ‘You know what? Please don’t do it,’ or, ‘I don’t want to be part of it.’ But I know that he’s ready and he’s hungry to do it, and I know that he will do it again.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.