Former welterweight titleholder Antonio Margarito is ending a more-than-four-year retirement.
Margarito will fight Jorge Paez Jr. on March 5 in a scheduled 10-round junior middleweight bout at the Mexico City Arena, Zanfer Promotions announced on Tuesday night.
Margarito has not been in the ring since his surgically repaired right eye was badly damaged in his December 2011 fight against Miguel Cotto, which Cotto won by 10th-round knockout to retain a junior middleweight world title and exact revenge in their animosity-filled rematch.
Margarito's eye had been initially damaged 13 months earlier in a one-sided decision loss to Manny Pacquiao. Margarito required surgery to repair a torn retina and to remove a cataract after that fight and nearly was not licensed to fight Cotto because of the eye.
Margarito also comes with the additional baggage of a 2009 incident at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in which he was caught in the dressing room with hand wraps that contained elements of plaster before his fight against Shane Mosley.
Margarito had his hands rewrapped and ultimately was knocked out in the ninth round of a one-sided fight in a huge upset as Mosley took his welterweight world title.
The California State Athletic Commission revoked Margarito's license, and he was not allowed to fight again for 16 months before returning to his native Mexico.
Now Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs), who turns 38 on March 18, will embark on another comeback in Mexico against countryman Paez (39-7-2, 23 KOs), the son of former lightweight titlist Jorge Paez Sr.
Paez Jr., a much smaller man than Margarito, is 1-2 in his past three fights, including a 12th-round knockout loss to Jose Benavidez Jr. challenging him for his interim junior welterweight belt in May 2015.
Margarito approached promoter Top Rank a few months ago about making a comeback. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum agreed to give him a chance as long as his eye passed a medical exam. Margarito will fight Paez on a card being put on by Fernando Beltran's Zanfer Promotions, which has very close ties to Top Rank.
Arum said that if Margarito looks good, he would then work to get him licensed in the United States with the aim of getting him a bigger fight.
"Let's see how he does with Paez first before we make a big effort to get him licensed in the United States," Arum told ESPN.com. "Paez is a good test for a guy who's been out of action as long as Margarito has been."
Arum said he has already spoken informally with the California commission about relicensing Margarito despite the infamous hand-wrapping scandal there seven years ago.