By Mark Vester
Miguel Cotto may hold more than a grudge against his promoter, Top Rank, over their support of Antonio Margarito, who had his boxing license revoked on February 10 by the California State Athletic Commission. Margarito and trainer Javier Capetillo were sent packing by the CSAC over a foreign substance that was found in Margarito's hand wraps prior to the fight with Shane Mosley on January 24.
Top Rank's Bob Arum was outraged over the CSAC's decision and vowed to put together fights for Margarito in Mexico, where the fighter is 100% sure to obtain a license to box. During a recent conference call, Arum and Cotto clashed with their opinions on the situation. Cotto, who was knocked out by Margarito last July, said the Mexican fighter should be banned everywhere in the world. He was upset with the possibility of Margarito avoiding his punishment by going over to Mexico to fight. Arum was not upset with Cotto's comments and said his fighter was entitled to his own opinion on the matter.
A few days later, Cotto once again lashed out and took aim at Top Rank over their support of Margarito.
"I find it unbelievable that a company like Top Rank would put money ahead of the well-being of a human," Cotto told Primera Hora. "[Top Rank] knows that Margarito and his group knew what they were putting on the hands. Boxers climb into the ring to demonstrate our physical and athletic abilities and it's a lack of consideration to play with the health of another."
Cotto's contract with Top Rank is running out at the end of the year. He told the Los Angeles Times that he plans to explore his options at the end the year. It marked the first time that Cotto spoke out about a possible jump to a new promoter. Cotto has been with Top Rank since his pro debut.
"I'm just going to stay with them until the contract is finished," Cotto said. After that, we're going to sit with the company and talk."
When the paper asked Cotto if he could picture himself with a new promoter in 2010 - he quickly told the paper - "yes."
Arum was contacted by The Times and said that he explained to Cotto why he continues to support Margarito. He believes that cooler heads will come out of the situation and everything will work itself out.
"We stand by our fighters," Arum said. "No amount of monetary gain can make me throw Antonio Margarito under the bus. I've explained it to [Cotto]. I've explained it to people around him. It will all work out. Don't worry about it. This controversy will pass."
While Cotto has never come out and said it, he hints in almost every interview that Margarito may have used illegal hand wraps during their fight last July in Las Vegas. Many believe that Cotto's suspicions may be a big reason as to why Top Rank's support of Margairto is causing a real issue for Cotto.
"I'd like to think he fought me in the clean way. He didn't use anything and he just had a good night against me and he beat me," Cotto said. "You saw my face. I had a lot of swelling. But the only who can answer this question is Margarito himself."
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