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Ricardo Mayorga returns February 22, planning MMA debut in 2013

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Boxing veteran Ricardo Mayorga is returning to the ring on February 22, and is also planning an MMA debut soon.

Al Bello

Former welterweight and junior middleweight champion Ricardo Mayorga will return to the ring on February 22 in Managua, Nicaragua, and is also planning to make his debut in mixed martial arts soon, according to a report at BoxingScene.com

Mayorga, who will turn 40 later this year, hasn't fought in two years, since being largely dominated by Miguel Cotto in March 2011 in Las Vegas. One of the more controversial and entertaining fighters of his generation, he shot to fame in 2003 when he stunned the world by stopping reigning and unbeaten welterweight champ Vernon Forrest in three rounds, coming off of Forrest's two wins over Shane Mosley. At the time, Forrest was considered a pound-for-pound elite fighter, and Mayorga was just supposed to be chum for him on his new HBO contract.

Since beating Forrest, and then edging him in a rematch, Mayorga's career has been up and down. He lost his title to Cory Spinks in 2003, and then embarked on a win one, lose one run that continued for seven years, beating Eric Mitchell, Michele Piccirillo, Fernando Vargas, and Michael Walker, and losing to Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Mosley, and Cotto. He was stopped in all four of those losses.

As for MMA, Mayorga (29-8-1, 23 KO) has been down that road before. He signed with a group called Shine Fights in 2009, and in 2010, was scheduled to fight credible MMA veteran Din Thomas. Don King then stepped in and stopped that fight -- and the entire card -- from happening, but this time Mayorga reportedly has King's blessing, which is nice given that King has nothing to do with Mayorga at this point, and Mayorga's boxing career is all but officially over.

Personally, I've always enjoyed Ricardo in the ring. He's a tough brawler and makes for the type of lowbrow fun that anyone can enjoy. It's not likely he's got a major future in either sport, but having him around might still be worthwhile, just because he is who he is.