Manny Pacquiao Appealed For Antonio Margarito In Nevada
When Antonio Margarito failed to be reinstated for a boxing license by the California State Athletic Commission on Aug. 18, Manny Pacquiao, his prospective opponent, and Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, went to bat for the exiled former champion with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Unable to fight on American soil since his license was revoked by the CSAC following a hand-wrapping scandal stemming from his January, 2009, ninth-round knockout loss to Shane Mosley, Magarito, whose suspension officially ended on Feb. 11, had tried to file for a license in Nevada.
But the NSAC directed Margarito to return to the CSAC for a ruling, where, after a nearly six-hour hearing, the Mexican-born fighter was turned down, yet again, by the CSAC, even as he was then free to apply at any of the other state commissions, with Texas being the first one.
That's when Koncz tried to appeal to officials from the MGM Grand/Mirage Hotel and Nevada commission director, Keith Kizer, on behalf of Pacquiao and Margarito.
"Manny and I personally made an effort to get Antonio Margarito licensed there in Las Vegas," said Koncz. "We spoke to the commission last week. I went and spoke to Keith Kizer, indicating that we would love to fight in Las Vegas."
Kizer was more direct.
"[Michael Koncz] told me that Manny wants to fight in Las Vegas, and nowhere else," said Kizer.
But unlike the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which did not require a hearing, Margarito would have had to endure another hearing before the Nevada commission before being licensed.
So on Thursday, after just four days of review, Margarito (38-6, 27 knockouts) was granted a license by the Texas organization to fight Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) for the vacant WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) title at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
"We're happy that Antonio Margarito got licensed in Texas. It takes a lot of the stress away about whether or not the fight is going to happen," said Koncz of Margarito, who denied knowledge of the illegal plaster-like substance discovered in his wraps and confiscated before facing Mosley, blaming it all on his former trainer, Javier Capetillo.
"We made an effort to get him licensed in Nevada in a time of economic need and suffering for the state of Nevada," said Koncz. "The MGM Grand people treated us very well over there. But you know, Nevada is losing all of the tourism and profits every time we fight somewhere else."
The current WBO welterweight (147 pounds) titlist, will be after his eighth crown in as many different weight classes. Pacquiao is returning to Dallas Cowboys Stadium, where, on March 13, he unanimously decisioned Joshua Clottey before more than 50,000 fans in the first-ever boxing event at the venue.
Margarito is coming off of May's 10-round, unanimous decision over Roberto Garcia in a junior middleweight clash fought in Mexico, which licensed him for the bout.
Koncz said that the terms for the bout have been agreed to on both sides, adding that he expects Pacquiao to officially sign for the fight "when he arrives in Los Angeles on Monday night."
Top Rank Promotions has scheduled a press tour to start on Tuesday in Los Angeles, with stops in New York on Wednesday, and, Dallas on Friday.
"We're happy that [Cowboys' owner] Jerry Jones stepped up to the plate, and that he will, again, host a Manny Pacquiao fight," said Koncz. "I give credit to the Texas commission for doing the right thing. Margarito was suspended for one year, and he served that one year. He shouldn't be crucified and punished anymore. Now that it's done, we're going to make the best of it."