SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ More than seven months after his first comeback was stymied with burglary charges, Tony Ayala Jr. is getting another chance in the ring.
His trial is still hanging over him, but Ayala will return to the ring July 31 in San Antonio against Santos Cardona, a 35-year-old middleweight from Puerto Rico, in a 10-round, non-title bout outdoors at Sunset Station.
It will be the first fight for Ayala (27-1 with 24 knockouts) since last July 28, when he lost to Yory Boy Campas by technical knockout at Freeman Coliseum. The loss was the first of Ayala's career and came in his sixth fight after his release from prison in New Jersey, where he served 16 years for the 1983 rape of a former schoolteacher.
When asked about the fight Tuesday at Zarzamora Street Gym, where he trains under his father, Tony Ayala Sr., the younger Ayala looked surprised.
``Dad, do I have a fight coming up?'' he said, turning to his father. ``This is the first I've heard about it. I've been told for the last six months that I have a fight only to have them all fall through. Now I have a reporter telling me I have a fight at the end of the month. Well, give me a green light and I'll be ready.''
The fight was confirmed Tuesday by Florida-based promoter Leon Margules and Bob Yalan, ESPN's director of boxing.
``Looks like it's a go,'' Margules said in Thursday's editions of the San Antonio Express-News. ``We've got a signed contract from Cardona, and we're going to be in San Antonio this weekend to talk about money with Tony.''
The bout will be televised live on ESPN2 as part of its new ``Tuesday Night Fights'' series.
Ayala, who was charged with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit assault, has been living under partial house arrest ever since he was charged in December.
His trial is set for Aug. 13.
Ayala was shot in the shoulder during the December break-in at San Antonio.
Talks with promoters had previously hit dead ends whenever Ayala's past and current legal status came up.