Margarito returns on loaded Cotto-Mosley undercard
Former welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito, who lost his belt to Paul Williams via close decision in a hard-fought battle July 14, will return Nov. 10 against an opponent to be named, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com.
The fight, likely against Golden Johnson, will be one of the featured HBO PPV bouts on the loaded Miguel Cotto-Shane Mosley welterweight title undercard at New York's Madison Square Garden.
Margarito's addition adds to an already strong card topped by one of the most anticipated fights of the year.
In his first major test, blue chip junior welterweight prospect "Vicious" Victor Ortiz will fight former titleholder Carlos Maussa, Arum said.
In a previously announced fight, lightweight world champion Joel Casamayor (34-3-1, 21 KOs), in his first fight since signing with Golden Boy Promotions, returns from 13 months off to defend his title against top-10 contender Jose Armando Santa Cruz (25-2, 14 KOs).
The card is being co-promoted by Top Rank (Cotto's promoter) and Golden Boy (Mosley's) under a deal made possible by their June settlement of the various lawsuits they had against each other, most notably over the promotional rights to Manny Pacquiao.
Golden Boy is responsible for Casamayor-Santa Cruz and Top Rank for the other two televised bouts, but regardless of which company has which fight, Arum said it was important to put together a stacked card so fans get value for their money.
"This is the time to really capitalize for boxing," Arum said. "We know the main event is spectacular. We know we will have a very good audience, so instead of giving the fans [garbage], we're giving them great fights and very interesting fights. We want people to say the card was worthwhile and that it was worth the $50 we paid. We have to give the fans a whole card of good fights for their money."
Arum promotes Cotto and Margarito (34-5, 24 KOs), and if they both win, they could fight each other next.
"If Cotto wins and Margarito wins, and Oscar [De La Hoya] and Floyd [Mayweather] are not available to fight Cotto, the next option is Margarito," Arum said.
Johnson (25-7-3, 18 KOs), who is mulling an offer to fight Margarito, hasn't boxed since last November, when he scored a dominant 11th-round TKO of Oscar Diaz in an upset.
Ortiz (19-1-1, 14 KOs), who is just 20, is on the fast track and will face Maussa (19-4, 17 KOs), who knocked out Vivian Harris to win a title in 2005 and then lost by ninth-round knockout in his first defense to Ricky Hatton. Maussa also has lost to Cotto.
"Victor Ortiz, of all the young guys, is our best prospect," Arum said. "Cotto and [middleweight contender Kelly] Pavlik were our up and coming stars four years ago. Ortiz is our up and coming star now. I look to him as a promotable future star the same way I looked at Cotto and Pavlik.
"I believe Ortiz will have a title fight next year, but [Maussa] is a tough guy to fight, an awkward guy. You can't go to sleep on him. Look what happened to Vivian Harris, and Cotto struggled with him a little bit. Victor is a young fighter and Maussa is a very legitimate test for him at this point."
In untelevised matches, Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com that he plans to add junior welterweight contender Demetrius Hopkins (27-0-1, 11 KOs), the nephew of light heavyweight champion and Golden Boy partner Bernard Hopkins, and 2004 U.S. Olympian Rock Allen (11-0, 7 KOs) to the card.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.