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Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Lacy to fight Verdin in comeback bout

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Former super middleweight titlist Jeff Lacy, out of the ring for nearly three years, announced on Tuesday that he is returning on Nov. 30.

Lacy (25-4, 17 KOs) is slated to face Martin Verdin (20-16-2, 11 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round super middleweight fight at the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino in Baton Rouge, La.

"I'm anxious to get back in the ring," Lacy said in making the announcement. "I've been training diligently for this fight and see this as the first step to becoming a world champion again."

That seems unlikely given the way Lacy's career was going when he walked away in 2010, having lost three of his last four fights.

"We're very excited to promote Jeff's return to the ring. He's been training for the last few months in Florida and is in excellent shape," promoter Matt McGovern of World Fighting Championships said.

Lacy, 36, of St. Petersburg, Fla., lost a lopsided unanimous decision to 2000 U.S. Olympic teammate in a super middleweight title eliminator in November 2008. Then Lacy struggled to a majority decision win against journeyman Otis Griffin in April 2009. Later in 2009, Roy Jones Jr. knocked out Lacy in the 10th round. After more a than a year off, Lacy returned in December 2010 and lost a clear decision to big underdog Dhafir Smith, who was 23-19-7 going into the fight.

Perhaps one of the reasons for Lacy's long layoff after the fight with Smith was the emotional January 2011 death of his older brother, Hydra Lacy Jr., who had been in chronic legal trouble before dying in a shootout with St. Petersburg police officers during which two officers were also killed and a U.S. marshal wounded.

Lacy won a vacant 168-pound world title by stopping Syd Vanderpool in the eighth round in 2004. Lacy defended the belt four times before going to Wales to face undefeated Joe Calzaghe in a title unification fight in 2006. Calzaghe, the underdog, laid a beating on Lacy, dropping him in the final round and winning a landslide unanimous decision. Lacy was never the same after that brutal beating.

Verdin, 37, of Dulac, La., a club fighter who will be facing his most recognizable opponent, is 2-0-1 in his last three fights, but two bouts were against sub-.500 opponents and the other came against an opponent making his professional debut.