- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito has an opponent for his ring return on May 26: Abel Perry.
The scheduled 10-rounder will take place at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz., and is supposed to air on Spanish-language network Azteca America.
After making a few scattered junior middleweight fights in his career, Margarito will face Perry (18-5, 9 KOs), 33, of Colorado Springs, Colo., at middleweight, according to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti.
Top Rank is bringing back Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs), 34, of Mexico, in what is supposed to be a soft fight to see if he has anything left after he was destroyed in three of his past four fights -- not to mention his lengthy layoffs because of a bad right eye and the license revocation stemming from the infamous loaded hand wraps scandal.
"Perry is capable, he's won a bunch of fights in a row, and it is not embarrassing," Moretti said. "He should be a good test to see where Margarito is at this stage."
To many, Margarito looks like a shot fighter after he took such massive punishment in his recent bouts.
In December, Margarito was pummelled into a 10th-round knockout by junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto in their grudge rematch. Cotto pounded Margarito's surgically repaired right eye into a bloody, swollen mass, forcing the fight to be stopped.
Margarito suffered worse damage to the eye and his face in his previous fight, a shutout decision loss to Manny Pacquiao, who broke his orbital bone and detatched his retina. Margarito was also dominated and knocked out by Shane Mosley. It was in the dressing room just before the ring walks that Margarito was caught with loaded hand wraps.
Margarito's only win in the past four fights was a decision against low-level fighter Robert Garcia, which followed a 16-month layoff because of the license revocation.
Perry has won five fights in a row since losing a six-round decision to former "Contender" champion Grady Brewer in May 2011.
"With Margarito, it's just a matter of getting him back in the ring and winning and seeing how he looks," Moretti said. "He's fighting at middleweight, 160 pounds max, and I think then it's just assessing the next move after that. He still has a big name, so we'll see this fight and go from there. It's a rebuilding thing, and we will see where it leads to."
Top Rank has talked about a possible fall fight between Margarito and middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (a massive mismatch in my view).