When talking about "ugly" stories in boxing, any number of things can apply. For the record, I don't put deaths in this category. Death is a subject a bit heavier than web site boxing awards. I think we had a clear "winner" this year for sure.
WrapGate: Margarito and Capetillo Sully the Sport
When January's welterweight title fight between Mexican monster Antonio Margarito and faded Shane Mosley was signed, many of us felt it was a foregone conclusion, or at least most likely that was the case. Mosley was old, and looked pretty bad in his September 2008 fight against crummy Ricardo Mayorga, a fighter he for all intents and purposes should have crushed. That was the way Mosley's old rival and current business partner Oscar de la Hoya dealt with Mayorga in 2006, and Ricardo certainly hadn't gotten better.
Though weight (154 pounds has never been Shane's strong suit) and out-of-ring distractions played a role in the Mayorga near-debacle, Mosley just didn't look like the Sugar Shane we knew.
Promoter Lou DiBella famously said after Mosley-Mayorga that if Mosley signed to fight Margarito, Shane would be put "in a pine box." DiBella had no interest in either fighter, either; he promotes neither of them. He was just saying what he felt, and many echoed the statement.
Mosley and Margarito showed up in January ready to go. Margarito had some trouble making weight, and Mosley was working with trainer Naazim Richardson for the very first time. He had also recently split with his wife and manager, Jin. Questions swirled around the fight.
And then the big one came.
As Margarito walked to the ring, HBO's Jim Lampley alerted the audience at home that there had been some controversy in the dressing room. Margarito's hand wraps had been called into question by Richardson, and needed to be re-wrapped several times before Mosley's trainer was pleased enough to go on with the fight.
The wraps were confiscated. It was weighing on the mind watching the fight, but once it got cooking, that fell by the wayside. Shane Mosley mauled and pounded on Margarito for nine rounds until both the referee and Margarito's corner came in to stop the onslaught at the same time.
A dazed Margarito could only look up, wondering what had gone wrong. At least, that's how it seemed in the moment.
After the fight, the wraps came back into play. That night, it was only speculation for most. In the coming days, the level of trouble got worse by the day, it seemed. Mosley's attorney said "flecks of substance" were found on the wraps. The California State Athletic Commission temporarily suspended the fighter pending investigation. The Billy Collins-Luis Resto disgrace was back on the minds of the sport.
On February 10, Margarito and trainer Javier Capetillo went before the CSAC for their hearing. When all was said and done, the defense seemed mostly to attempt to throw Capetillo under the bus, claiming Margarito did not "knowingly" cheat. But the verdict was clear: Margarito and Capetillo were both indefinitely suspended, their licenses revoked, with the ability to appeal in a year's time.
Margarito's entire career has since been called into question. Whether that's fair or not is another story. The fact is, that's the way it's always going to be. He's got a big, black cloud hanging over everything he's ever done in boxing.