Margarito: The New Duk Koo Kim?

Please check this illustration out first, the pic is copyrighted so I can only link to it:

Dr. Carey . . . . [O]perates on bones involving the inside of the orbit and its rim. [Orbital bone] fractures may result in deformities of the face, poor movement of the eye, double vision, or cause the eye to sink back into the orbit.

These remarks are made with the understanding that disaster can always strike in a boxing ring, and that that is something the boxers, and we, choose to live with. Insofar as everything possible is done to prevent it, it seems acceptable. Sometimes, however, you can see it coming a lot more clearly than others. And if you can see it coming, maybe you should duck.

One of the scariest thing about Antonio Margarito fighting is the impact it could have, not just on him, but on boxing. Consider, if you will, what a worst-case scenario brain injury/death in the ring on PPV in front of millions of viewers would have. And then think about the following.


We can‘t know, and neither can any doctor--they can only give a highly educated guess-- how bad Margarito’s eyeball really is. It may look bad, and still be OK. Or, more likely, it may look bad, and be bad:

1. in terms of his ability to see adequately for in-ring use, which is a higher level of use than even driving a car and

2. In terms of its ability to withstand punches without causing blindness/highly impaired vision in that eye. If he goes blind in that eye, that’s not good, but it’s not the end of the world--many people are blind in one eye and do fine, It’s an irresponsible risk to take on purpose, imo, but it’s arguably AM’s risk to take, and it’s not a catastrophic injury, although it’s not a mere bagatelle, either.


Much worse are the potential orbital bone fracture implications. Arguably, this too is Margarito’s risk to take, but is it a risk boxing should take? There are a lot of "ifs" here, but they don’t seem like farfetched "ifs" at all. There is a "firewall" of bone protecting the brain behind the openings on the face--the interior orbital bone with regard to eyes--but it’s thin. In normal life, it’s not necessary for it to be thick: Usually, nothing goes there, and the exterior orbital bones, which are also thin but way thicker than interior orbital bone, offer enough protection.

Boxing rings aren’t normal life. Margarito’s orbital bone has already been fractured, and re-fracture is by no means out of the question--a solid flush punch is probably all it would take. If the orbital bone re-fractures, there won’t be much stopping Cotto’s fist from coming in like a train and shattering it, driving bone and eye tissue into the brain with horrendous implications. We’re not talking normal-life accidents, bumping-it-on-a-door type of thing here, we’re talking about 15gs of force pounding a previously fractured thin, delicate bone, with not a lot to stop it from smashing on through. And if it does, we, and he, have unthinkable disaster to deal with, morally and emotionally for us, and, for him--it really doen’t bear thinking about.

The death of Duk Koo Kim damn near killed boxing, a setback from which it has never fully recovered. Just imagine what such an occurrence would do now, when the sport has finally started to rebound 28 years later. If you don't care about Antonio Margarito, maybe care about boxing. Because if we have worst-case scenario here, there might not be much more boxing.

I wouldn’t want to be the referee for this fight for anything.

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