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Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto fight is on for New York

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Margarito is granted a boxing license by the New York State Athletic Commission, which allows him to fight Cotto next month at Madison Square Garden.

November 22, 2011|Staff and wire reports
  • Antonio Margarito was granted a boxing license by the New York State Athletic Commission on Tuesday.
Antonio Margarito was granted a boxing license by the New York State Athletic… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

The New York State Athletic Commission capped a turbulent episode Tuesday by granting a boxing license to world super-welterweight title challenger Antonio Margarito of Tijuana.

Margarito is now free to fight Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto in a rematch Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Margarito's fate was unclear following invasive surgery on his right eye to remove a large cataract that developed after Manny Pacquiao broke Margarito's orbital bone in their November 2010 bout.

The New York commission declined to license Margarito after the boxer's eye surgeon approved his ability to fight again, last week ordering a special independent exam by ophthamologist Dr. Michael Goldstein on Monday.

The commission received Goldstein's report and took it under advisement during an hour-plus closed meeting, heightening the anxiety for promoters dealing with a fight scheduled in less than two weeks.

Last week, promoter Bob Arum said he was preparing to move the fight to alternative sites, reportedly including Arizona, Denver and Mississippi, if New York rejected Margarito.

Cotto, who lost to Margarito by 11th-round TKO in 2008, further amplified the importance of the New York decision Tuesday morning when he announced on a conference call with Arum that he would fight Margarito in New York or nowhere. Arum ordered the media conference call to end.

— Lance Pugmire

ETC: Roger Federer easily beats Rafael Nadal

No tears, no drama, no contest. The 26th episode of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's compelling rivalry turned out to be one of their most one-sided.

Federer took exactly 1 hour to win 6-3, 6-0 and qualify for the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals at London in his most comprehensive victory over the Spaniard.

Pinned behind the baseline, Nadal found Federer's forehand unplayable. From 2-2 in the first set, Federer won 10 of the next 11 games. He finished with 28 winners to Nadal's four.

"It was a great match for me basically from start to finish," said Federer, who broke down in tears after losing to Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open final but had no issues Tuesday at the O2 Arena. "I was able to do what I was hoping to do: dominate from the baseline, play close to the baseline, serve well, take his time away."

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga kept alive his hopes of reaching the last four by beating Mardy Fish of the United States, 7-6 (4), 6-1. Federer's win means Fish cannot advance.

The winner of Thursday's match between Tsonga and Nadal will claim the other semifinal place from Group B.

Nadal still leads the head-to-head series against Federer 17-9, but Tuesday's win extended the Swiss player's dominance indoors, where he has won all four of their matches.

The 30-year-old Federer, who is targeting a record sixth title at the season-ending event and a 70th overall, extended his winning streak to 14 matches following titles in Basel and Paris. He will play Fish in his final group match on Thursday.

Serena Williams will play sister Venus in an exhibition at Medellin, Colombia on Wednesday, her first match since losing the U.S. Open final two months ago.

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NBA players' union Executive Director Billy Hunter said Tuesday he expected that a Minnesota magistrate judge would mediate the players' lawsuit against the NBA, as the court did in the NFL's labor dispute.

Hunter specifically mentioned U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, the court-appointed mediator in the NFL talks. Boylan is not the magistrate assigned to the NBA antitrust suit, although the district judge has the discretion to appoint a different magistrate to mediate.

"What may very well be is the judge there directs the magistrate, as they did in the NFLPA case, to host a settlement conference, and that could possibly occur as early as next week," Hunter said.

One reason the players' lawyers decided to consolidate two suits against the NBA in Minnesota, he said, was that the district court there routinely uses magistrates to mediate cases.

Different groups of players filed separate lawsuits in California and Minnesota last week. On Monday, lawyers withdrew the California complaint and filed a consolidated, amended suit in Minnesota. Players attorney David Boies said at the time that the choice was made because cases move faster in Minnesota.

Hunter said Tuesday that the possibility of having a magistrate mediate also played into the decision, with the same goal in mind: resolving the labor strife quickly.

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Financial advisers and third-party runners may soon face NCAA oversight under a series of planned changes to the rules governing sports agents.

An NCAA proposal nearing approval would expand the definition of sports agent to include anyone who benefits from a college athlete turning pro or even enrolling at a particular school. The current definition of agent is limited to those who actually negotiate contracts on behalf of athletes.

The NCAA also expects to create a national registration system that would allow schools, state regulators and athletes to verify an agent's qualifications and legal status through a single database.

The proposed changes come after a 2010 season dominated by investigations into alleged agent contact involving players at schools such as Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

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The Boston Red Sox have appointed Mike Hazen and Brian O'Halloran assistant general managers. The moves were announced by new General Manager Ben Cherington.

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