Top Rank promoter Bob Arum sounds 100% certain that the scheduled December 3 HBO pay-per-view rematch between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito will have to move, as he's confident that the New York State Athletic Commission will deny Antonio Margarito a license due to health concerns over his surgically-repaired right eye.
Here's what Arum told The RING about Wednesday's closed-door hearing:
"We had Margarito be treated by the biggest ophthalmological surgeon in the country, Alan Crandall, if not the world. He submitted an affidavit and testified by video conference at the hearing. We had another doctor who is the foremost sports ophthalmologist testify. And none of the commissioners asked them one question.
"After they finished testifying, we took a break, and Melvina Lathan, the chairwoman of the New York Commission, didn't realize that her microphone was still on. She said to another commissioner who stayed in the room, 'Do you believe this? I don't believe a word they said.' Can you believe that she would say that with two of the foremost opthalmologists, that they had anything to gain by this?"
Cotto (36-2, 29 KO) and Margarito (38-7, 27 KO) appear headed to Texas, either at Arlington's Cowboys Stadium or in San Antonio. Colorado and Mississippi have also expressed interest, but Margarito was indeed licensed by Texas yesterday, and overall, it's probably as ideal a location as you can get on two weeks' notice.
The entire card does not appear to be in jeopardy, and there's been no mention of any of the undercard fights -- Rios vs Murray, Jones vs Lujan, Wolak vs Rodriguez II -- being canceled due to the license situation or the likely relocation.
New York will make an official announcement at 11 a.m. EST on Friday, and we'll let you know exactly what goes down, and whether or not Top Rank is ready to make any announcement about where the card will be headed if, as appears inevitable, the fight relocates.