Antonio Margarito(38-8, 27 KOs) will return to the ring March 5th against Jorge Paez Jr.(39-7-2, 23 KOs) of Mexico.
Margarito has been inactive since his 10th round TKO loss to rival Miguel Cotto in December of 2011, in which referee Steve Smoger was advised by ringside doctors to stop the fight to prevent Margarito from any further damage to his severely swollen, surgically repaired right eye.
Just 13 months prior to the Cotto fight, Margarito was beaten badly by Manny Pacquiao in a 12-round unanimous decision loss which resulted in a broken orbital bone for “The Tijuana Tornado”. The injuries inflicted upon Margarito in the Pacquiao fight were so bad that the New York State Athletic Commission almost refused to grant him a boxing license for the rematch with Cotto.
The former welterweight champion, Margarito, has continued to pursue a career in boxing and has been very outspoken that he wants another chance in the sport despite his injuries. Zanfer Promotions, who will be promoting the card on March 5th, will grant him his opportunity.
Margarito’s comeback bout is set to take place at the Mexico City Arena, in Mexico and is scheduled for 10 rounds in the jr. middleweight division.
The 37-year-old hopes that a victory over fellow Mexican Jorge Paez Jr., who is 1-2 in his past 3 fights, will prove that his injuries are behind him and bring himself back into consideration for a matchup with the sport’s bigger names.
Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank who previously promoted Margarito’s career, agreed that he would give the slugger a chance at a comeback in the United States if he passed all medical exams and looked good in the fight with Paez.
Arum would love to be able to use a guy like Margarito, who is a name that hardcore and casual fans recognize, in a matchup with any of his talented but sparse stable of fighters between 147 and 154 pounds.
As desperate as Top Rank may be for names at welterweight and jr. middleweight, even Arum knows that it is far from a guarantee that Margarito can make the comeback successful.
“Let’s see how he does with Paez first before we make a big effort to get him licensed in the United States,” Arum said toESPN.com. “Paez is a good test for a guy who’s been out of action as long as Margarito has been.”