The last time Erik Morales was on a significant boxing card, it ended with his fifth loss in six fights and him announcing retirement.
As he prepares to walk into the MGM Grand Garden Arena ring in Las Vegas on Saturday night for a pay-per-view junior-welterweight bout opposite Argentina's heavy-hitting Marcos Maidana, Morales is set to discover whether his comeback is remembered as just another sad cash grab or one more thrilling boxing redemption.
Morales is the last man to beat Manny Pacquiao, a former three-division world champion who also counts victories over fellow Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera and Carlos "El Famoso" Hernandez.
Both boxers weighed in at 140 pounds Friday, right on the limit.
The merciless Maidana (29-2, 27 knockouts) is out to redeem himself as well. In December, he suffered a decision loss to junior-welterweight champion Amir Khan in which he shrugged off an early knockdown and brutally hammered Khan in the late rounds of the 2010 fight of the year.
Morales won three obscure bouts last year in Mexico after falling from the boxing map with his 2007 "retirement" lightweight title loss to David Diaz. He spent eight weeks training in the mountains of Mexico for Maidana.
"I didn't make a mistake picking Maidana," Morales said this week. "I am going to prove it to you guys … that I wasn't crazy."
The card also includes an interim lightweight title bout between Gilroy's Robert Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 KOs) and Australia's Michael Katsidis.