Antonio Margarito makes comeback on Saturday night
By Dan Ambrose: After four years out of the ring, 37-year-old Antonio Margarito (38-8, 27 KOs) will be fighting this Saturday night against 28-year-old Jorge Paez Jr. (39-7-2, 23 KOs) in a 10 round bout at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. Margarito-Paez Jr. will be televised on Saturday on beIN Sports Espanol.
The start time is at 11:00 p.m. ET. Margarito reportedly isn’t making his comeback for need of money.
Margarito last fought in 2011 in losing to Miguel Cotto in a big money rematch at Madison Square Garden in New York. The fight was stopped after the 9th round due to Margarito’s surgically repaired right eye closing up.
Cotto targeted Margarito’s eye in that fight and was able to close it up with his heavy shots. Margarito retired from the sport shortly after that loss. The fact that he’s back after four years makes you wonder whether he’s in need of money. Margarito made good money in his career in winning the IBF/WBA/WBO welterweight titles.
Margarito’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank will be watching his fight on Saturday. Arum is interested in setting Margarito up in a big fight in the United States if he shines on Saturday against Paez Jr.
“I got to see how he looks. I got to see what weight he’s fighting at,” Arum said to ringtv.com. “If he wins and Gilberto [Ramirez] wins, you can do a big pay-per-view in Cowboys stadium. “Gilberto can face Chavez maybe. That fight would be really big.”
Chavez Jr. vs. Ramirez won’t be big if Chavez Jr. loses to WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack next month. The two of them are supposed to be facing each other in April, and it’s going to be a really tough fight for Chavez Jr.
Margarito lost his last two fights to Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. Margarito’s loss to Pacquiao was a particular costly one in 2010, as that was the one in which Margarito suffered fractured right orbital bone. He also suffered a detached retina and a cataract.
The fight should have been halted early on once Margarito’s eye began to swell up. However, Margarito chose to tough it out and fight the entire 12 rounds. He ended up taking a real beating in that fight. That was when Pacquiao was still in his prime and not the fighter that Floyd Mayweather Jr. toyed with last May in their “Fight of the Century” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Margarito’s right looks in bad shape after his surgeries, and it’s surprising that he’s willing to continue fighting with the way it looks. You’d hate to see Margarito suffer permanent damage to that eye by him continuing to fight. His right eye looks sunken in slightly and it doesn’t look anything like his left eye.
The odds of the 5’11”Margarito becoming a factor in the 147lb division are slim at this point. If Margarito was only making a comeback for the fun of it to have a few fights, then it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. But Margarito believes he can capture a world title at 147, and he wants to take on the big names like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and fight Cotto again. Margarito has very little chance of getting a fight against Cotto and Canelo. His chances of winning a world title at 147 at this point in his career are zero.
Margarito will be turning 38-years-old this month, and that’s a pretty ripe age for someone in the 147lb division. There aren’t too many older fighters at the top of the welterweight division at Margarito’s age. Floyd Mayweather Jr. was a rare case until retiring last year at the age of 38. The 44-year-old Shane Mosley launched a comeback recently, but he still hasn’t faced a live body since making his comeback.
It’s not likely that Mosley would be able to compete against the best in the welterweight division if/when he decides to face one of them.
“I am ready to return after four years,” said Margarito via ESPN.com. “I have no financial problems. I want my kids to see me fight. They know who their father is.”
It won’t be a surprise at all if Margarito loses to Paez Jr. tomorrow night. Paez Jr. is a pretty good fighter, and he’s not a push over for anyone. Margarito is taking a big risk in fighting someone this good in his first fight back from a long 4-year absence from the ring. In hindsight, Margarito should have faced someone weaker than this that he could just bowl over with his slow looping shots.