By “Old Yank” Schneider: Unclean hands are that middle ground between guilt and innocence; a middle ground that leans toward guilt.
“My God, what have we done?” was the official pilot log entry of Captain Robert A. Lewis, the co-piolot of the Enola Gay. He, the normal comander of the plane, along with his crew had just dropped a bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Nearly 70% of the buildings were flattened; 80,000 people were killed “instantly” and, by the time the death toll from radiation sickness was in, nearly 140,000 people were dead within a year.
Boxing has just had a bomb dropped on the sport and Antonio Margarito and his trainer Javier Capetillo are sitting in the pilot and co-pilot seat in this version of the Enola Gay. At the very least, at this stage of the game these two sports personalities appear to have unclean hands.
But the California State Athletic Commission may very well have unclean hands in this bombshell as well.
“Innocent until proven guilty” are fine words for a legal system to live by. But the court of popular opinion is not ruled by a legal system or the Constitution of the USA.
As of this moment in time here is a review of what has been reported:
Nazim Richardson (Shane Mosley’s trainer), was the man in the Margarito dressing room that was supposed to witness the wrapping of Margarito’s hands. Amazingly, one of Margarito’s hands was already in the glove and signed off by the representative of the California State Athletic Commission when Richardson appeared in the room. The Commission official was reported to be joking with the Margarito entourage while speaking Spanish when Richardson arrived.
Nazim Richardson was reported to be seriously concerned about how Margarito’s one remaining out-of-glove hand had been taped. He insisted that the tape be removed. While the tape was being removed, flakes of a “plaster-like” substance began to fall from Margarito’s hand.
After a bit of a battle, Richardson gained the approval of the Commission representative to have Margarito’s “gloved hand”, ungloved and unwrapped. The same “plaster-like” substance was found on the “gloved hand”.
Richardson made a call for legal representation to be brought into the room. An attorney for the Mosley camp arrived and the questionable substance was bagged in front of the attorney and placed into the custody of the Commission official.
Margarito’s hands were reported to need three attempts at wrapping before Nazim Richardson and the Commission official were finally satisfied.
On Monday morning, at about 8:00 AM Pacific time I phoned Bill Douglass of the California State Athletic Commission. He was reported to be tied up in a meeting. This man is under a lot of pressure to get this right. “Glove loading” is considered by insiders and outsiders alike as one of the most loathsome rules violations in existence in the sport of boxing. The reasoning is straight forward. Any man subjected to blows from loaded gloves is essentially the victim of assault. The case law here is already proven; Luis Resto was jailed for assault after using loaded gloves on Billy Collins in a bout in 1983. Fighters, trainers, fans and individuals of decency all see loaded gloves as a heinous crime. In a sport already seen as legalized brutality, Bill Douglass and the California State Athletic Commission better get this one right!
By the time Monday evening had arrived, I’d placed several calls into the Commission and had an opportunity to gather a lot of information from several sources – inside and outside of the Commission.
Several eye-witness sources close to the controversy have described the substance removed from the Margarito dressing room as “plaster-like”, “plaster of Paris”, “a substance designed to harden after getting wet”. The sources making these descriptions are very credible.
To add injury to insult, the Margarito Camp has not done themselves any favors. They said that the substance was the result of “pre-treated gauze”.
What? Pre-treated? Pre-treated with what?
Now the Margarito camp has made it clear that they pre-treat gauze? For how many bouts have they been “pre-treating” gauze? Do they have samples of this pre-treated gauze? Can they demonstrate to the Commission how they pre-treat the gauze? Will their “samples” and “demonstration” match what the Commission bagged the night of the bout?
And why did the Commission representative not catch this.
One insider reported that the pre-treated gauze may have been treated with plaster and then dried. When used as a wrap it would still bend, but contain dried plaster that could be wetted after application. It would give an outward appearance of being perhaps old, dusty gauze that would or could be easily passed by the untrained eye. But once re-wetted, it would activate the dried plaster and bond to each layer below and form a loaded glove.
All of these parties are innocent until proven guilty. But the court of public opinion may have already spoken. At the very least, there are a group of folks in this controversy that appear to have unclean hands.