After today's attempt at getting re-licensed failed miserably in California, word is already out that Antonio Margarito and Bob Arum will head to Texas in an attempt to seek licensing.
Margarito is expected to ask Texas for a license as soon as this week in the hopes of being granted one in order to fight with Manny Pacquiao at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Nov. 13.
"We're very optimistic Texas will grant the license," said Margarito's promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank. "But that is up to them.
The sobering reality of this for celebrating fans who are happy to see the California State Athletic Commission firmly deny Margarito's application for a boxing license is that the fight with Manny Pacquiao will still happen. One way or another, it's still going to happen.
We talked earlier about the fact that Texas has in the past been willing to license fighters who have been denied in other states, including Evander Holyfield and Edwin Valero. Texas also does not have the greatest reputation for a boxing commission overall. Their judges have been often criticized, as have their referees. Simply put, Texas has a reputation as being a bit of a wild west in boxing, where things aren't always as fair as they could be.
But the Texas commission will have a hell of a thing on their hands with this one from an immediate PR standpoint. Holyfield wasn't licensed because he'd performed so poorly in New York that the NYSAC banned him. Valero wasn't licensed because of an old brain injury that came from a motorcycle accident years before, leaving him to fight almost all of his matured pro career in Japan.
Margarito is a different case. He has now had his license revoked by California, and 18 months later has been turned down when applying for a new license. He also appealed in Superior Court, and the judges there sided with the California commission last year. You can also add that in February, the Association of Boxing Commissions issued a statement saying they felt Margarito's suspension (which was then eligible for a new hearing) should be upheld.
This puts Texas in a tough spot. They'd be going against two rulings by the CSAC and support from the ABC and Superior Court in Los Angeles on those rulings. If they license Margarito, is that commission prepared to have their credibility perhaps not just questioned, but seen as irreparably damaged and even completely invalidated?
The Pacquiao-Margarito fight would be a big deal for the Texas commission. It will make a lot of money in a bad economy, even after this ruling. Margarito does have his supporters, too, and it's not wise to forget that. Still, Texas would be taking an enormous PR risk by licensing Margarito. Not because Margarito might cheat -- no matter where he fights, his wrapping process is going to be watched intensely from here on out. But because those who felt before that Margarito should not be reinstated are now validated by the second ruling from California. Twice, a commission has declared that Margarito should not be fighting anymore.
Margarito is licensed in Mexico, yes, where things are relaxed, for lack of a better word. California won't have him. Will Texas have the sand to take him in?
We'll find out soon enough. And even if they don't, you should still stay prepared for the Pacquiao-Margarito fight.