Antonio Margarito could be making a return to the ring in the weeks ahead… (Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images )
Boxer Antonio Margarito has undergone cataract surgery to repair what was considered a career-threatening injury to his right eye that he suffered in a lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao in November.
Margarito's promoter Bob Arum, concerned about the fighter's future before the May 19 operation, now says a "miracle" turn of events will allow the former welterweight champion to return to sparring in five weeks. Arum also hopes that Margarito can have a rematch with world super-welterweight champion Miguel Cotto later this year.
"I'm very happy," Margarito said in an interview.
Before surgery, the vision in Margarito's right eye was so blurry he didn't risk driving. After getting struck by a Pacquiao left uppercut that shattered an orbital bone, Margarito was told by a doctor that corrective surgery to repair a large cataract would end his career.
Arum sought another opinion, arranging for Margarito to visit the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah, where Arum had previously undergone his own eye procedure.
Because of the operation, Margarito, 33, is scheduled to receive final clearance in two weeks to begin sparring around July 1, Arum said.
The promoter has reserved fight dates on Oct. 1 and Dec. 3 for a possible rematch against Cotto.
"I'm not closing the door on [fighting] this year," Margarito said. "Without a doubt, I believe I'm ready to fight someone like him. I'll fight anyone as soon as the doctor says it's OK to fight."
Keith Kizer of the Nevada Athletic Commission said Margarito probably would have to undergo a routine eye examination and, given his surgery, another inspection by a retina specialist before he is cleared to fight in Las Vegas.
Cotto represents the last great triumph for Margarito. In July 2008, Margarito unloaded a series of heavy blows that caused the then-unbeaten champion Cotto to stop fighting in the 11th round.
Six months later, Margarito and his trainer were embroiled in a scandal when the California State Athletic Commission removed plaster-caked inserts from inside the boxer's hand wraps minutes before his fight against Shane Mosley at Staples Center.
Margarito's license was revoked for one year.
Margarito wasn't relicensed to fight in the U.S. until Texas cleared the way for him to fight Pacquiao.
But Margarito was left badly beaten up in a unanimous-decision triumph by Pacquiao.
Margarito said he had a previously diagnosed small cataract in his right eye before the Pacquiao bout, but it "got real big" after the Pacquiao barrages. "I'm sure it had to do with that fight," he said.
Now, with the doctor's good news, Arum is planning a major pay-per-view bout involving Margarito. Both Margarito and Cotto will be ringside June 4 for the HBO-televised Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sebastian Zbik middleweight title fight at Staples Center.
"Cotto is a huge pay-per-view draw," Arum said.
Cotto, the twice-beaten 30-year-old, recorded 250,000 pay-per-view buys in his March title victory over Ricardo Mayorga, his promoter said.
"People want to see [Cotto and Margarito] go at it again," Arum said.