Don't Call It a Comeback (Because He Didn't Really Go Anywhere)
The Los Angeles Times reports that Antonio Margarito had successful cataract surgery, and a rematch with Miguel Cotto could be back on, but not for the original September 17 date.
Margarito recently said he was taking the rest of 2011 off, but not retiring. Now it appears he could be back by the end of the year. Bob Arum has set aside dates of October 1 and December 3 for a possible Margarito vs Cotto rematch, which is a big-money fight with a lot of controversy and passion behind it.
Because of the operation, Margarito, 33, is scheduled to receive final clearance in two weeks to begin sparring around July 1, Arum said.
The promoter has reserved fight dates on Oct. 1 and Dec. 3 for a possible rematch against Cotto.
"I'm not closing the door on [fighting] this year," Margarito said. "Without a doubt, I believe I'm ready to fight someone like him. I'll fight anyone as soon as the doctor says it's OK to fight."
Margarito (38-7, 27 KO) is likely on the last legs of his career no matter how you slice it, though. At 33, he's aging, and even though surgery is successful, it's not something that is going to be easy to protect in the ring, especially given Margarito's, erm, "defense."
Plus, even without the surgery, this is not the Margarito of 2005-08 anymore, when he was one of the most dominant stars in the sport. His win over Cotto (36-2, 29 KO) in July 2008 was the last significant win of his career, followed by a horrible loss to Shane Mosley, then a year-long suspension by the California State Athletic Commission for alleged glove tampering, a relatively easy comeback win in Mexico, and then the face-breaking loss to Manny Pacquiao last November.
Margarito's rematch with Cotto might well be his last money date. Apart even from time off and just his birth date, he's also taken a lot of punishment over his career, even in fights he won. Kermit Cintron blasted him, and though Margarito appeared near invincible against the Puerto Rican in both of their fights, those shots did do damage to him physically. Fighters who fight like Margarito don't last forever. The end is near no matter what, but it doesn't appear to be here just yet.
Top Rank Signs Mercito Gesta
Steve Kim reported yesterday that Top Rank has signed Filipino 135/140 prospect Mercito Gesta (21-0-1, 11 KO) to a four-year deal. Gesta, 23, will debut for Top Rank on July 9 (the Rios-Antillon show). Gesta has a long way to go, like most 23-year-old fighters, but he's a real prospect.
- Rafael Marquez now appears likely to return on June 18 in Mexico, facing Nicaragua's Eusebio Osejo (19-9-2, 7 KO). Marquez has been mentioned as a future opponent this year for Toshiaki Nishioka and Yuriorkis Gamboa, and was originally slated to fight on Top Rank's June 4 card, an appearance that was scrapped.
- Pongsaklek Wonjongkam will defend the flyweight world championship on July 1 against Takuya Kogawa. Kogawa has a fairly empty 17-1 (10 KO) record, and has never fought at flyweight -- he's not moving up, but down from 118 and 115. The last time most saw Pong, it was the win over Koki Kameda, and he's opted to mostly fight bums since then in the Thai tradition. He and Edgar Sosa are currently involved in some kind of eternal dance of desire and avoidance.
- Speaking of veterans fighting nobodies, Omar Narvaez is back at it on June 11 against Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr, a 20-year-old Mexican fighter with a record of 12-1-1 (7 KO). The WBO believes in this as a "world title" fight. Right on, WBO. Right on. I guess that fight with Cesar Seda was a little too "real" for Narvaez, who is one of those guys who really can box on the rare occasion he chooses to prove it by fighting legit competition, sort of like Chris John for years, but probably not quite as good as John.
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