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Felix Verdejo joins Ismael Salas ahead of return

Verdejo has not fought since scoring a decision over Bryan Vasquez in April

Terence Crawford v Amir Khan Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Former Prospect of the Year Felix Verdejo has joined forces with legendary Cuban trainer Ismael Salas in an effort to reignite his faded star.

Verdejo (25-1, 16 KO), who parted ways with former trainer Ricky Marquez “in the middle of a legal dispute,” says that for the first time since starting his career, he “feels like he has control of his career.”

Salas has trained an enormous number of champions throughout his ~40 years of coaching, including Yuriorkis Gamboa, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Erislandy Lara, Jorge Linares, three-time Olympic gold medalist Felix Savon, Kazuto Ioka, and more. If “Diamante” was looking for someone with a pedigree, he’s found one.

The question is whether that will be enough for the 26-year-old. At one time, Verdejo looked like Miguel Cotto’s heir apparent as the boxing pride of Puerto Rico, only to lose luster after a motorcycle accident and string of uninspiring performances. Things came to a head in March of last year when Antonio Lozada stopped him in the last round of their fight, since which he’s fought just twice.

The potential might still be there. but it’s now or never.

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