Fernando Vargas, who has been serving a nine-month suspension for testing positive for steroids, will return to the ring July 26 against Fitz Vanderpool at the Olympic Auditorium.
Although Vanderpool (24-4-4, 13 knockouts) is the No. 1-ranked contender in the World Boxing Council's 154-pound division and is ranked 13th by the World Boxing Assn., the fight is considered a tuneup for Vargas, who has been inactive since losing on a technical knockout to Oscar De La Hoya in September.
Vargas' handlers would like to see him fight twice more after July, leading up to a possible rematch against De La Hoya in May 2004.
A urine test taken after the first De La Hoya fight revealed the presence of the steroid stanozolol in Vargas' blood and he was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in November retroactive to the date of the fight. He was also fined $100,000.