Puerto Rican lightweight sensation Felix Verdejo, who had been out of action for the past few months due to an August motorcycle accident, is set to make his return to the ring in February.
Verdejo will fight on February 3 in his native Puerto Rico. Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti told ESPN that Verdejo will box an opponent to be determined in the scheduled 10-round main event of Top Rank's Solo Boxeo card on Spanish-language network UniMas at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"He's been doing conditioning work," Moretti said. "He went for a run over the weekend and a pit bull chased him and almost caught him. He needs to find a new place to run. But he's been medically cleared to fight. He's been doing conditioning for a few weeks and he'll start sparring in another week or so. He'll train through the holidays."
Verdejo suffered cuts and bruises to his face and arm and was in line for a world title fight against Terry Flanagan. When word got out that Verdejo would not compete for the remainder of 2016, Flanagan would defend his WBO lightweight belt against Orlando Cruz, another Puerto Rican, on November 26. Flanagan won via 8th round TKO to keep his belt and undefeated professional record.
Moretti said he believes Verdejo has grown and matured from this situation and understands the consequences of his actions.
"I think he's been humbled by the whole situation," Moretti said. "He's still young and young people make mistakes. But I think he realizes that when you're an athlete and have a promising career, you don't do things like ride motorcycles and jump off cliffs. Overall it was a humbling experience. Forget about losing your career. He almost lost his life and that's what hits home. We think it may be a motivating factor for him. He knows life is short and he has to do everything he can in and out of the ring to achieve his goals."
In his last fight, the 23-year-old Verdejo (22-0, 15 KO) knocked out Juan Jose Martinez in the fifth round. That fight was televised on HBO from Madison Square Garden in New York on June 11, the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in the city.
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