Plus see how the “Tijuana Tornado’s” eye is healing!
After Antonio Margarito’s December loss to his rival Miguel Cotto, many thought that would be the last fight for the Mexican warrior known as the “Tijuana Tornado.” The beleaguered boxer has had his own “tornado” of critics, haters and naysayers after his controversial hand wrap scandal during the infamous Shane Mosley bout back in 2009. With his boxing license revoked by the California State Athletic Commission, the former champ came back after a year of inactivity to fight in Mexico, Texas and New York, where he was granted a license to box.
Many say he should be banned from boxing for good; others say the disgraced former hero should stop fighting period, fearing further and permanent damage to his eye.
Not listening to anyone, the slugger (38-8, 27 KOs) is set to square off on July 21 against Colorado’s Abel Perry (18-5, 9 KOs) at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona. Originally slated to fight on May 26, the match was rescheduled after Margarito suffered a minor injury. But the Top Rank star and ex-champion is used to coming back from injuries. During his November 2010 battle versus Manny Pacquiao, Margarito’s right eye took an unbelievable dose of punishment resulting in a fractured orbital bone and cataract surgery.
The boxer’s mentality has always been one of “going out on his shield.” Tony says he will continue to fight and the upbeat boxer hopes to put his eye issues and hand wrap scandal behind as he looks to the future. I caught up with the 34-year-old at the weekend’s special grand opening for the Cleto Reyes Boxing Equipment store in San Diego. He joined the pro fighters in attendance and was presented with a commemorative glove by Alberto Reyes, of the legendary Mexico-based company. Margarito, who has beaten Sergio Martinez, Miguel Cotto, Kermit Cintron, among others, also proved to be a fan favorite with his loyal supporters clamoring for autographs and photos.
As the friendly pug obliged, he signed red Cleto Reyes gloves for the long stream of fans waiting to meet the fighter. As he carefully signed each item (with a drawing of a tornado in his signature), Margarito appeared upbeat and relaxed as he met with those waiting in line.
In my exclusive new video interview with the ex-WBC, WBA and WBO world titlist, hear what he has to say about the Mayweather-Cotto bout (“It went exactly as I thought it would”), the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley showdown (“Pacquiao is superior and will get a knockout”) and thoughts on getting back in the ring this summer. Training in Tijuana, Tony says he’ll be ready to fight in July after taking some medicine to heal his leg injury.
As he takes off the dark glasses, Margarito reveals how his eye has healed and also gives a heartfelt message to all his fans who have stuck by him through all the controversies. It wasn’t so long ago that he was once on top of the world, loved by fans around the world. As chooses to continue to fight, the scorn continues for the fallen fighter. But with plans to lace up once again, Antonio Margarito wants to be center ring one more time. A prizefighter by trade, boxing is all he knows. Grateful for his most loyal fans’ support, with a big smile Tony says: “Thank you to all. I’m ready for my next fight and I’m counting on everyone to be with me!”
Check out the new interview here as the “Chatter Box” takes on the “Tijuana Tornado”! A special thanks to author Araceli Martinez-Rose (“El Negocio del Dolor”/”The Business of Pain”) for her translation during my conversation with the Mexican puncher.
Michele Chong has been involved in the sport of boxing for over a decade. Her “Chatter Box” column covers a variety of subjects in both professional and amateur boxing, and features exclusive one-on-one interviews, recaps of fight events, shows and tournaments, book/film reviews and much more.
Inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, she is also a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, Golden State Boxer’s Association and the Burbank Boxing Club. Michele is also involved in many non-profit and charitable organizations.