Former welterweight champ Antonio Margarito officially ended his 18-year professional career Thursday.
The fighter known as "The Tijuana Tornado" was a multi-time welterweight titlist, but saw his last days in the sport marked with controversy and suspicion, stemming from the well-documented "Plaster Gate" scandal involving his attempt to wear illegally doctored knuckle pads prior to his 2009 bout with Shane Mosley.
This is the official statement posted on Margarito's official Facebook page:
Dear Family, Friends, and Fans,
After twenty-two years of full dedication to the profession I love, I have made the decision to announce my retirement from boxing. 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.
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.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Michelle and my family for their support, encouragement, and most of all, their love. Not only did they give me their unconditional love and support during the good times, their love and support grew larger during the times that I was at my lowest. I also want to thank my team, Sergio Diaz Jr and Francisco Espinosa. They are not only my management, they are my family. For sixteen years, they guided my career and did what was best for me. To my trainers, without your drive and motivation, I would not have had the success. You were an integral part of my career. I thank you for your dedication. I want to thank my promoters, Bob Arum, Todd duBoef, and everyone at Top Rank. I am proud to say that I began and ended my career with a great promotional company. As a non-privileged child, I had dreams. I dreamt of giving my family a better life. I dreamt of owning a car, owning a home, traveling the world, and helping others in need. Bob, I thank you for helping me fulfill those dreams. Finally, I want to thank all of my fans for their love and loyal support. Without you, there would be no Antonio Margarito.
I leave the cuts, bruises, and sweat, but I'm not leaving the sport. I will continue in the sport that gave me so much, Now, however, it is time for me to give back to the sport.