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Antonio Margarito ready for Jorge Paez Jr. fight

Antonio MargaritoBy Dan Ambrose: Former IBF/WBA/WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs) has received his medical clearance to resume his boxing career. Margarito, 37, will now be returning to the ring next month on March 5 against 28-year-old Jorge Parez Jr. (39-7-2, 23 KOs) in a 10 round fight at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City.

Margarito passed an eye exam on his surgically repaired right eye, which he suffered a fractured orbital bone in his 12 round decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2010. Margarito has had three separate eye surgeries on the eye since that fight.

The last fight Margarito had was in December 2011 in losing to Miguel Cotto by a 9th round stoppage. The fight was stopped because of Margarito’s surgically repaired eye swelling shut. That forced the ringside doctor to recommend that the fight be halted.

“I’m ready to return after four years. I have no economic problems,” said Margarito via “I just want my children to see me fight, to know who their father is.”

If Margarito doesn’t need money, then he would likely be better off staying retired rather than launching a comeback that is surely going to end badly for him. Facing Paez Jr. in his first fight back might be enough to end Margarito’s comeback after first fight, because Paez Jr. is a decent fighter. He’s not ranked in the top 15 by any of the boxing sanctioning bodies, but he’s still a sold 2nd tier fighter that is young and more than good enough to cause problems for Margarito.

Paez Jr. has lost two out of his last three fights in the last year in defeats to unbeaten fighters Jose Benavidez and Carlos Ocampo.

Top Rank could have a fairly big fight for Margarito in the future if he can get past Paez Jr. and possibly another tune-up fighter. It would be in Margarito’s best interest to fight only welterweights, and preferably ones that aren’t that fast of hand. It would be really difficult to imagine Margarito doing well if he were put inside the ring with Tim Bradley.

Someone fast like that would give Margarito all kinds of problems with his hand speed.
It would be surprising if Margarito is able to find the success that he had between 2002 and 2008. Unless Margarito is able to find the punching power and the high work rate that he had in those years, it’s going to be difficult for him to find the same kind of success that he previously had.

Margarito’s high rate was a big factor in the success that he had. He was often able to throw 100+ punches per round in many of his fights, and that put a lot of pressure on his opponents.

Margarito has past wins over Cotto, Kermit Cintron, Golden Johnson and Joshua Clottey. Margarito has been beaten by Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Paul Williams, and Daniel Santos.

Margarito has lost three out of his last four fights since 2009. His career really went downhill in the Mosley fight in 2009. That was the fight in which Margarito’s hand wraps were found to have a substance inside of them before the fight.

It’s possible that Margarito could do well in his comeback if he’s able to fight with the same intensity and with the same high work rate as he did in the past. If his punching power is still the same, and if he hasn’t lost any hand speed, then he’ll be a big problem for many fighters in the 147lb division. I’m not so sure that Margarito has the same skills that he had in the past. It’s more than likely that Margarito’s hand speed has dropped off, his power declined, and his work rate not as good as it was before. If that’s the case, then it’s going to be very important that Margarito’s chin can hold up from the punishment he’s going to be taking in his fights. But more importantly than Margarito’s chin is his surgically repaired right eye. That’s going to need to be able to take shots without swelling closed like it did in Margarito’s last fight against Cotto. You can bet that Margarito’s opponents will be targeting his eye to try and get a stoppage by swelling it up.

The Margarito vs. Paez Jr. fight will be shown on beIN Sports Espanol in the United States on March 5.

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