Antonio Margarito to fight May 26
Former welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito, who suffered a 10th-round knockout loss to Miguel Cotto in a junior middleweight title challenge on Dec. 3, is set to return.
Margarito will face an opponent to be determined in a scheduled 10-round bout on May 26 at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz., Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said Monday.
The weight for the bout, which will air on Spanish-language network Azteca America, will be "somewhere between 154 and 160 pounds," Moretti said.
Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs), 34, of Tijuana, Mexico, is coming off a punishing loss to junior middleweight titlist Cotto in their grudge rematch on Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
It was revenge for Cotto, who lost a welterweight title to Margarito via 11th-round knockout in a controversial 2008 fight -- because in his next bout, Margarito was caught trying to fight Shane Mosley with loaded hand wraps. Many believe Margarito got away with it against Cotto.
In the rematch, Cotto busted up Margarito's surgically repaired right eye, forcing the ringside doctor to instruct the referee to stop the fight moments into the 10th round.
Margarito's eye was badly swollen and cut. It was the same eye that he suffered severe damage to in a lopsided beatdown against Manny Pacquiao in his previous fight in November 2010.
Against Pacquiao, Margarito suffered a broken orbital bone and a detached retina. Because of the eye injury, the New York State Athletic Commission did not want to license Margarito, although it ultimately did after a high-profile showdown between the commission and Top Rank.
Moretti said Margarito's eye is OK, despite how bad it looked after the Cotto rematch.
"Everything is fine," Moretti said. "He went back to his doctor and got everything checked out after the Cotto fight."
New York medically suspended Margarito after the Cotto fight pending his eye being cleared.
"In the Cotto fight, the eye was only cut and swollen. No other damage," Moretti said. "After the fight New York put him on the medical suspension list but then took him off of it because he got cleared medically in January."
If Margarito can rebound, he is in line for another major fight. Top Rank has talked about a possible fight this fall with middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., assuming Chavez defeats Andy Lee on June 16.
"That is certainly one potential fight," Moretti said of a fight with Chavez. "But the main thing is to get Margarito back in the ring, see how he looks and take it from there. Before any of that, he's got to win. He still has a big name and if he wins and looks OK there are other 154- and 160-pounders who will look at him. He will appeal to a lot of those guys, including Chavez."
Margarito has lost three of his last four fights -- to Cotto, Pacquiao and a ninth-round knockout loss to Mosley, who took his welterweight belt in a one-sided fight in January 2009.
Because of the hand-wrap scandal stemming from the Mosley fight, Margarito had his license revoked by the California State Athletic Commission and he did not fight for 16 months. He returned to fight in Mexico, winning a decision against Roberto Garcia in May 2010, which set him up for the fight with Pacquiao.