(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
The California State Athletic Commission voted 5-to-1 against giving Antonio Margarito a new license to box today, putting a scheduled November 13 fight against Manny Pacquiao into serious question.
The case wasn't a particularly complex matter, as state attorney Karen Chappelle argued that Margarito, 32, was not rehabilitated, did not show remorse, and with 18 months to familiarize himself with his case, had also failed to do that. One central point was Margarito having sparred and trained in Oxnard, Calif., with new trainer Robert Garcia, which by California rules is illegal for any unlicensed fighter. Both Margarito and Garcia said they had no knowledge of that rule.
"Petitioner has been given every chance, every opportunity to come clean, and to admit to wrongdoing. And to demonstrate his capacity for truth and veracity. He had an opportunity to do so at his initial revocation hearing. He had an opportunity to do so when he went to Nevada. He had an opportunity to do so in Texas. He had an opportunity to do so today," said Chappelle in her closing statement.
The real big thing here is that it adds a wrinkle to the proposed Margarito/Manny Pacquiao bout. The bout was planned for Texas but in order for that to happen Margarito needed his license reinstated in California as Texas likely won't allow for him to be licensed in their state with an outstanding suspension or denial of license.
For MMA fans this shows that California, after years of being a bit of a joke in terms of their organization, is serious about fighter behavior. We don't yet have a case of an MMA fighter loading his hand wraps but we know that California is going to treat dangerous behavior with a great deal of seriousness. And if I can speak personally, I'm very proud of the five that gave a "no" vote.