|Wednesday, 21 September 2011 09:38|
NEW YORK: At first, Antonio Margarito just thought it was a good shot by Manny Pacquiao and his eye was merely swelling.
Then he learned after the defeat in November he had a fractured orbital bone.
"I never thought it was going to be a career-threatening injury until I was told in the hospital I had to have surgery," the Tijuana Tornado said through a translator. "That's when it all started sinking in that my career might come to an end."
It didn't, and Margarito returns to the ring Dec. 3 in a rematch against Miguel Cotto for the Puerto Rican star's WBA super welterweight title at Madison Square Garden.
As reported by Associated PRess (AP), the 33-year-old former welterweight champion considered retirement after the surgery to repair the fracture and another procedure about 2½ months ago to fix a cataract caused by the blow. But he was assured by doctors he could still fight.
He still can't shake talk about what happened in January 2009 when Margarito was found to have a plaster-like substance in his hand wraps before a loss to Shane Mosley.
At a news conference in Manhattan on Tuesday to promote their bout, Cotto showed reporters a photo on his phone of Margarito's hands after their fight that he suggested revealed an improper wrap.
Margarito insisted yet again that "I've always fought clean."
"After I beat him, everybody's going to see that," Margarito said.
Margarito stopped Cotto in the 11th round in a rousing fight in July 2008 to win the WBA welterweight title. Since then, both have been battered by Pacquiao, and Margarito missed more than a year because of the hand-wrapping scandal.
Promoter Bob Arum offered up a complicated plan to ensure both boxers' wraps were legal before the December bout. New York State Athletic Commission chairwoman Melvina Lathan said she was confident her inspectors could secure a clean fight without extra precautions.