Antonio Margarito has been denied a license to fight in New York by the New York State Athletic Commission, reports Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, forcing his highly anticipated rematch with Miguel Cotto on Dec. 3 to be moved from Madison Square Garden. According to two posts on Mannix's Twitter account, an announcement will come at the end of the day and Texas, Denver and Mississippi are being considered as alternate sites.
Margarito, if officially denied a license as expected to be announced later today, was turned down due to medical reasons stemming from the eye injury he sustained in his brutal Nov. 2010 loss to Manny Pacquiao. Margarito sustained a broken orbital bone in the fight, an injury some of his handlers thought would be career-ending. However, he had cataract surgery done in the spring, a procedure that seemingly saved his fighting career.
As Scott pointed out yesterday, this would not only be a real shame but is something that could turn into a disaster because of the short notice. As someone in the New York area, I was seriously considering going to the fight and am very disappointed that it's being moved to another venue and market. The Garden just seemed the perfect place for this fight, with Cotto always able to pack the building thanks to the large Puerto Rican population in and around the area. Tickets were reportedly moving very well, as a sell out was anticipated. On top of that, good luck to Top Rank in finding a venue that will come close to matching the atmosphere The Garden would have had for this fight.
I'm sure at this point that's not high on their priority list, but it's unfortunate nonetheless.