at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Los Angeles – Mexico's Antonio Margarito, the former world welterweight champion who was suspended for 16 months after plaster was found in his gloves, retired on Thursday after an 18-year pro boxing career.
Margarito, 34, becomes the third notable fighter in four days to hang up his gloves, following Shane Mosley and Winky Wright out of the ring and into retirement with a posting on his website and Facebook page.
“After much thought and extended conversations with my family and team, we have all agreed that the time to hang up my gloves and begin a new chapter in life has arrived,” Margarito said.
“I always told my family and team that I would walk away from boxing when I felt I could no longer compete at the level I believed I needed to be in order to be successful.
“Although the passion and drive are still there, I have to accept that my time to walk away has arrived.”
Margarito won the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown in 2002, and won eight fights in a row in the division until losing the crown to American Paul Williams in 2007.
Margarito won the International Boxing Federation welterweight title in 2008 and took the World Boxing Association welterweight crown in 2009 by stopping Puerto Rico's previously undefeated Miguel Cotto in the 11th round.
But before Margarito's next fight, plaster was found in his hand wraps before he faced Mosley and after a re-wrapping, Margarito was stopped in the ninth round.
Then came a 16-month ban and, after a comeback victory over compatriot Roberto Garcia, two final defeats, a unanimous 12-round decision loss at the hands of Filipino star Manny Pacquiao in 2010 and a stoppage last December after 10 rounds against Cotto due to swelling around the Mexican's right eye.
“I leave the cuts, bruises, and sweat, but I'm not leaving the sport,” said Margarito. “I will continue in the sport that gave me so much. Now, however, it is time for me to give back to the sport.” – Sapa-AFP