The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Kevin Iole Delenda By Request

Oh, this man. This man.

It’s a classic retardicle, in which the most obvious thing about it is the utter lack of thought and preparation which went into it; the absence of care and logic shines through in almost every line. Let’s pick a few and lowlight them:

– The first chunk of the article, ironically, lays out the case against Margarito reasonably well including noting rightly that the man has shown no regret, has engaged in the worst sort of ridiculous excuse-making by blaming his trainer, Javier Capetillo, and almost certainly had engaged in this behavior before- a proposition for which there’s in fact physical evidence, Iole tells us.

– “Margarito’s sleaziness aside, though, none of it matters. Prior to the Mosley fight, there were zero complaints about his hand wraps.”

Nope, logical non-sequitur. It DOES matter. The failure of- say- Shane Mosley’s opponents and the NSAC to catch his known and admitted steroid abuse does not excuse him, any more than the failure of Miguel Cotto et al. to catch Margarito’s hand wraps excuses him. Cheating is not redeemed just because the cheat is good at it. What’s more, why exactly would they say something? Margarito has only fought two rematches in his career (Daniel Santos, Kermit Cintron). If he were using the same handwraps, loaded or unloaded for each of those two fights, would either man have noticed a difference? And in any case the moral onus here is not on opposing fighters and their trainers to find this crap any more than it is on them to dodge low blows, wipe illegal substances off of gloves or anything else along that line. It’s a good idea, but the responsibility is still with the cheat.

– “And it’s important to note that, unlike Luis Resto against Billy Collins in 1983, Margarito did not wear the illegal knuckle pad into the ring against Mosley.”

Iole had JUST WRITTEN that not only was he convinced that Margarito had been using these illegal wraps for years, but there was physical evidence that he had done so. Did the man not read his own column? More importantly, yes, there is a difference between Margarito and Resto: because Margarito’s provable crime was attempted not committed and there was never any attempt to press charges civil or criminal, Capetillo and Margarito have avoided the serious formal legal penalties which Panama Lewis and Luis Resto received; and that’s fair enough. But those determinations have zero-absolutely zero- to do with the determinations of athletic commissions about what is best for boxing and for boxers as a whole.

It’s amazing that this argument needs to be restated, but here it is: if you re-license Margarito now, you reward him for cheating illegally in a way which ran the risk of maiming opponents for life. It is only by the fame and success Margarito gained through cheating that he is valuable enough to promoters to be worth booking on a major stage at this point in his career, and the money he has made before and after this suspension is far more than he will have lost by only one year on the self. Iole himself must agree with this, if he takes seriously his own argument about how Margarito’s KO percentages back the idea that he’s been cheating for the majority of his career- KOs mean impressive wins, and impressive wins mean money. All of which is to say, if you sit him out for the lone year and allow him back now- especially as he appears headed for a major cash-in fight with Manny Pacquiao- then you are by extension incentivizing every single struggling boxer out there to cheat in the same way that Margarito did. You tell them: the odds of your being caught are small, if you are caught the punishment is not so severe, and in any case there will be foolish media members there to carry water for you and argue in your favor. In a sport which still is a way out of crushing poverty for many people around the world, how many will look at that precedent and say: that’s a good enough deal for me?

Bluntly put: if you re-license Margarito now or favor doing so, on some level the blood of the next person injured by this sort of cheating is on your hands. The whole reason commissions were established and laws written about the regulation of this sport was, in theory, so that there would be a serious and crushing consequence to this sort of behavior. If this doesn’t trigger those sanctions, why even have commissions?

– “He served his punishment. He did not, as Arum threatened he would, fight in Mexico while under the California suspension. He did the crime and he served the time.”

For the love of God, no he didn’t. First off he deserves zero credit for NOT circumventing his suspension. Second off, it was NOT A ONE YEAR SUSPENSION. It was a revocation with the chance to re-apply in California for a license after one year. It took me three seconds to find that at AOL with Google, for fuck’s sake. The upshot is, he has the right to re-apply for a license in California after one year, but that does not in any way shape or form imply that the commission has an obligation to grant him one at that time, nor that they have an obligation to roll over and allow Texas to do so first. The commission has the right and the duty to go beyond mechanistic methods of determining its policies and decision and get to the heart of what’s right; if they didn’t they’d have rubber-stamped Capetillo falling on his sword to save Margarito a year ago, and we wouldn’t even be having this conversion. That being the case, it is their responsibility to take into account many factors in determining whether or not to re-license Margarito. The fact that after all this time he still hasn’t admitted his guilt fully, that he isn’t re-applying for a license in the state where his was revoked and his suspension instituted, that he’s waited for the commission in California to once again be in too much turmoil to do their jobs properly (look up the name Bill Douglas), that he spent this last year with his promoter railing at the “corruption” and “injustice” of the initial suspension, and above all the seriousness of his crime all tell heavily against him. Take all of that into consideration alongside the need for the punishment to have meaningful deterrent effects, and the answer is clear.

– “Margarito is now trained by the classy former world champion Roberto Garcia. There’s never been a taint of controversy surrounding Garcia, who is an honest, ethical man. Garcia will play by the rules.”

Right, sorry, did I miss Kevin Iole’s article 3 or 4 years ago about how Javier Capetillo was trouble, and how we shouldn’t trust him?

– “A boxing license is a privilege, and no one has the right to one, but Margarito fulfills all requirements for one and should be given it when he applies in Texas.”

If a license is a privilege, and no one has a right to one, what exactly do you have to do in Iole’s world to not merit that privilege? I would say one basic requirement for a license is or should be not having a history of using weapons against your opponents in the ring, but I’m crazy like that.

I have to be honest: I’ve always thought Iole was 25% banal truths, 50% banal maybes, and 25% screeching stupidity. I haven’t thought well of him. I think a whole hell of a lot worse after reading this parade of incompetence. The man writes about boxing for a living, and yet it’s clear he’s never seriously thought about this issue for a moment of time- not even long enough to realize that it’s not just about Margarito and punishment, it’s about the rest of the sport and deterring others from following in his footsteps. To me that level of basic understanding of the disciplinary process is the minimum level of knowledge required to even have an opinion worth respecting on an issue like this, so for my part at least, I’m done with reading any of Iole’s articles from here on out. Fuck him.

And let it be said: I am not generally in favor of massively harsh penalties in sports, except for that behavior which directly leads to the risk of major unnecessary bodily harm. What Margarito did was different from steroids, different from the fabled Panama Lewis “mixed bottle”, different from deliberate low blows or even thumbs to the eye, different than Evander Holyfield leading with his head, different than Mike Tyson biting people. It was, for all intents and purposes, carrying a weapon into the ring and assaulting someone with it. If you will forgive that, excuse that, condone that- if you look at what Luis Resto did to Billy Collins, then look at Antonio Margarito and think “well he tried to do the same thing, but I guess he got caught so it’s ok to let him off easy”- then you are wholly unworthy of respect.


January 27, 2010 - Posted by | Boxing


  1. Well done sir.

    This is what is called “Blowing Your Iole Fuse”. Once you do it’s great because you never have to read a dreadful article of his again.

    It’s tempting because sometimes his articles are featured on Yahoo’s main page which really pisses me off. It makes them look good when in actuality they suck.

    I blame Yahoo for all of this. They employ that UFC promotional zombie shit head who is on good terms with the UFC. Yahoo must have some sort of secret deal w/ the UFC as shown by them changing their MMA tab to the UFC tab. Funny enough, from a Canadian destination, the tab still shows MMA. (I work for a Canadian company and can see that.)

    Also funny, on Dana White’s twitter one time he “tweeted” Meltzer!! Which was a picture of Meltzer either giving a thumbs up or fist pumping White or something. Now when was the last time White ever talked or thought highly of a writer?

    I was never able to read Iole’s boxing articles after he argued that Pacquiao DLH was a disgrace. I always thought it was his boxing articles that were truly a disgrace.
    Hopefully THIS will be the last article you read by him because this is another atrocious piece of Iole shit.

    I mean, who has a name like that anyway? 75% vowels plus 25% consonants = 100% piece of shit.

    Comment by KenOnBass | January 27, 2010 | Reply

  2. Yeah, I really think I’m done with Iole now. I stopped reading his MMA stuff a while back because it was blander than damp whitebread, but his boxing stuff… it used to be amusingly bad to me, but the Margarito thing is my breaking point. At some point media guys owe a responsibility to the sports they cover not to advocate dangerous shit, and he’s failing big time in that regard here.

    I saw the Meltzer thing, which is hysterical if you know the in-gag it seems to be a reference to. Yahoo in general suck, but I will defend Dave- his newsletter is amazing, and I think he gets the special treatment in large part because he’s earned it- he’s been covering the sport since UFC1 (hell, since RINGS, Pancrase and UWFi really) and was even a judge at one point, and he’s got friends on all sides of the promotional battles including Scott Coker & Frank Shamrock. The sad thing is, with the Yahoo editing the majority of what makes his stuff so great gets left out in exchange for better copy editing. It’s a real shame.

    Comment by theshipbesinking | January 28, 2010 | Reply

  3. Indeed, well done!

    Comment by Tony M | January 28, 2010 | Reply

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