Sports Journalism Institute

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‘Tijuana Tornado’ aims to be city’s idol

Antonio Margarito (right) and Miguel Cotto trade blows in the July 2008 WBA welterweight title fight that Margarito won. Photo by Getty Images.

By Ivan Orozco
Class of 2005

MONTEBELLO — He won’t forget it.

Tattooed in Antonio Margarito’s mind is the moment he received the devastating news.

It was October 1999, on the eve of his bout against Buck Smith, when Margarito was summoned to take a phone call at the front desk of a Holiday Inn in Fort Worth, Texas. His older brother, Manuel, had been gunned down in his Tijuana home.

Dazed, Margarito walked the streets of Fort Worth that night. He returned to the hotel at 3 a.m. By then, he had decided to fight. He rested enough to stop Smith with a body punch in the fifth round. Margarito, 30, still doesn’t know how he did it. But he’s sure his brother was there in spirit.

“I always think about him,” Margarito said. “He was there with me in every fight. I don’t know why, but every time a fight nears, I begin to think about him. I always dream he’s alive and he’s there with me cheering me on. It’s weird. It always happens. I just wish he was here to enjoy what I’m enjoying.”

Read the full story on the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Web site.