COMMENTARY | When your life becomes the plot of a bad telenovela and the nest egg in your bank account more closely resembles a robin's egg, there's only one thing for a humbled former boxer to do - Return to the ring.
According to reports, former world welterweight champ, Antonio Margarito is seriously contemplating a return to the ring.
Margarito, best known for the infamous "Plaster Gate" scandal of 2009 and a handful of suspicious but solid wins before that, has been inactive since a doctor stoppage loss to Miguel Cotto in December of 2011.
Prior to that, Margarito's last significant win came against the very same Cotto in 2008 when "The Tijuana Tornado" battered his Puerto Rican rival into submission over eleven electrifying rounds. In his very next bout, against Shane Mosley, The Plaster Gate scandal was touched off when Margarito was found to be wearing doctored handwraps in a pre-fight inspection.
A plaster-less Margarito was stopped in nine one-sided rounds by Mosley that night and would never again come close to regaining his media-hyped status as boxing's "most feared man." Subsequent outings saw him sustain serious damage to his right eye in a blow-out loss to Manny Pacquiao and then the doctor's stoppage in a rematch with Cotto.
According to Edgar Gonzalez of MyBoxingFans.com, Margarito's personal life has necessitated an influx of money and a return to the ring"
"Rumor is that his divorce with Michelle, who is currently pregnant by a family friend, has become a nightmare, granting Michelle a multimillion settlement forcing the "Tijuana Tornado" to sell several of his assets.
With Margarito's new baby with his new girl, Lorena Vidales, he wants to take on a big-money fight to help him financially."
Regardless of whether this real life soap opera is true or not, a return from Margarito will be a hard sell to many commissions. He has legitimate permanent eye damage and a 1-3 record since 2008. Still, if he really wants to fight, some commission, somewhere (cough, cough, Texas) will license him.
Word has it that Margarito is looking for big money bouts with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Saul Alvarez to help him out of his tight spot.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, former two-time heavyweight champion, Riddick Bowe is on the verge of his own ill-advised comeback. Instead of boxing, though, the 45-year-old Bowe is in Thailand, scheduled to make his Muay Thai debut June 14.
Bowe, who will have just one month of training before stepping into the ring with Russia's Levgen Golovin for the WBC and WPMF super heavyweight titles, is delusionally optimistic about the challenge.
"I want to make history as the first fighter who wins the heavyweight titles in both professional boxing and Muay Thai," Bowe told the Bangkok Post. "I have watched Muay Thai bouts but actually I was only introduced to it three months ago."
Promoter of the June 14 card, Somsak Sunatvanichkul, had also tried to sign Evander Holyfield for the event, but apparently even a cash-strapped "Real Deal" had more common sense than Bowe.
"I am now working to bring [Mike} Tyson to fight in Muay Thai later this year," Sunatvanichkul said. "There is a 70 percent chance that he will be here."
And before scoffing at the idea of an "Iron" Mike Tyson donning the Thai mongkon, remember that in this article we're talking about the return of a basically one-eyed fighter and a Muay Thai championship debut from a boxer who hasn't been in real fighting shape since the first term of the Clinton administration.
In boxing, there will never be a shortage of cash-strapped, desperate fighters or shady types willing to exploit them. After Margarito and Bowe get trampled in their futile battles to stay afloat, it's a sure thing there will be many other former champs waiting for their own chance to be humiliated.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: My Boxing Fans, The Bangkok Post
- Sports & Recreation
- Antonio Margarito
- Miguel Cotto
- Riddick Bowe