By Mark Staniforth
One year after his title challenge to Vitali Klischko was hastily abridged by a knee injury, Odlanier Solis is back in training and purportedly ready to make good on his ambition of world domination.
Caution is best advised when discussing the imminent reappearance of the elusive Solis, who has already seen two provisional comeback dates come and go, amid some rumours he may be lost to the sport.
Those rumours were hardly surprising, given the lackadaisical attitude Solis was often accused of bringing to his training camps and final preparations, in spite of performances which suggested he had talent in abundance.
In the year since crumbling in the first round against Vitali, and with his knee long since healed, Solis has watched a succession of no-marks try and fail to challenge the Klitschkos, and seen his own name slip further from the headlines.
Belatedly, Solis believes the time is right to make his mark once again.
"The last 12 months have been hell with a lot of setbacks but now I'm ready to go again," he said this week.
Solis is currently working in the US at the camp of Miguel Cotto, who is preparing for his super-fight with Floyd Mayweather.
Solis added: "It adds extra motivation to work with such a great champion, but we are both focused on our goals."
Solis is slated to return to the ring in Texas on May 19. His ambition remains as clear as it was when he fled his native Cuba in a bid to turn his world amateur domination into lucrative professional success.
In a division devoid of talent, Solis has every chance. Some good judges gave him every chance against Klitschko, and the fact remains he was denied the opportunity to launch a real challenge by his freak injury.
This is where Solis' reputation let him down, hardly helped by his subsequent mysterious extended absence. The inference is clear: that if Solis' knee had not given way, his heart would have done so soon afterwards.
Solis' German promoter Ahmet Oner remains convinced by his man's talent. Oner said: "Solis is a special fighter and I still believe he is the biggest force in the heavyweight division besides the Klitschko brothers.
"In the last weeks and months I have heard lots of people talking about the heavyweight division and discussing different kinds of names for Klitschko challengers or heavyweight hopes.
"I never heard the name Odlanier Solis. People overlooked him because he has been out of action for quite a while but I am sure his comeback fight will put him right back on the map.
"When Solis stays healthy and doesn't suffer any more injuries, I am sure that he will be world champion very soon.
"We will go after Wladimir Klitschko immediately. But of course, we would be ready for a rematch with Vitali as well."
Mark Staniforth covers boxing for PA Sport.
Tags: Wladimir Klitschko , Vitali Klitschko , Odlanier Solis