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New York boxing board says Antonio Margarito must have eye exam

BOXING

Antonio Margarito's rematch with Miguel Cotto is in doubt after the New York State Athletic Commission orders Margarito to undergo an eye exam.

November 18, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • Boxer Antonio Margarito suffered a fractured orbital bone during his loss to Manny Pacquiao in November 2010.
Boxer Antonio Margarito suffered a fractured orbital bone during his loss… (Jaime Lopez / Getty Images )

The New York State Athletic Commission on Friday ordered a commission-authorized eye doctor to examine Antonio Margarito's right eye, raising doubts about whether the Tijuana fighter would be issued a boxing license for his scheduled rematch against Miguel Cotto on Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden.

Margarito, who is training in Mexico for his bout against world super-welterweight champion Cotto, will appear for the exam, his promoter, Bob Arum, said.

"We don't know when yet," Arum said Friday, shortly after the decision was announced by commission Chairwoman Melvina Lathan. "Obviously, we'll go through the exam.

"We now have to work out the parameters of who the doctor is, how he'll be picked. We want him to be picked mutually."

Former world welterweight champion Margarito suffered a fractured orbital bone and developed a large cataract from his punishing loss to Manny Pacquiao in November 2010. For months, there was talk that Margarito's career was over.

Arum, however, sent Margarito to an eye specialist at the prestigious Moran Eye Center in Utah, where a surgeon removed the cataract and said the fighter's vision would be strong enough to return to the ring.

"There's no longer an automatic rejection for cataract replacement surgery," Arum said. "We're confident [Margarito] is fine. [He was treated by ] the best eye doctor in the world."

Yet Arum and others close to the fight were braced for New York to reject Margarito's bid for a license. And the promoter has discussed moving the HBO pay-per-view bout from New York — where Cotto is an enormous draw — to Texas, Denver or Mississippi.

The New York commission is also facing intense scrutiny over its decision, in part because Madison Square Garden is empty many nights because of the NBA lockout and because the Cotto-Margarito bout is expected to be a sellout.

Margarito has said he's experienced no problems with his eye in training, and his surgeon from Utah, along with another expert, told the commission at a Wednesday hearing that he is fit to fight.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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