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NATURAL
SELECTION

Unbeaten Eloy Perez
knows the stakes
in first 'hometown' fight

 

  Darwin would have loved pro boxing. Its tantalization stems from a never-ending survival-of-the-fittest struggle. Its only objective is to establish the Alpha dog. And true to the realities of natural selection, the process comes at enormous cost to every other animal in the pack.

 

 Undefeated, world-ranked Salinas boxer Eloy “The Prince” Perez hopes to take a major step toward his eventual coronation as king of the super featherweight (130-pound) weight division Friday night at the Salinas Sports Complex, where he’ll fight Puerto Rico’s Daniel Jimenez in the 10-round main event of a six-bout professional boxing card.

 

 The 24-year-old Perez (21-0, with 2 draws and 5 knockouts) will be defending his North American Boxing Organization championship in a main event that will be televised worldwide by the Telefutura Network on same-day tape-delay, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Pacific.

 

 His 30-year-old brings a 20-3 record, with 12 KOs, that includes career-jolting conquests of Vicente Escobedo and Angel Recio (both undefeated when they fought him), and, most recently, Marcos Leonardo Jimenez, who was 16-1 before he was KO’d by Jimenez.

 

 The blemishes on his record? Jimenez dropped his pro debut at age 19, fought to a draw in his next bout, then went 17-0 until he finally absorbed the only other losses of his career  to undefeated Roman Martinez (who won a world title 16 months later) and Jesus Chavez (a two-time, two-division world champion).

 “He’s no bum. He’s lost to champions – people I’d like to fight – so for me to beat him, and look great doing it, would be a major step toward getting on the big stage that I want to be on,” Perez said. “And he’s at a point in his career where he can’t lose to me. He’s coming here knowing he has to win.”

 And the stakes for Perez? He’ll be risking an undefeated record, a World Boxing Organization ranking as the No. 4 super featherweight contender in the world, and a likely world title shot in 2012, not to mention his NABO belt. A defeat would be devastating.

 

 Now, turn up the pressure another notch: Perez will be fighting for the first time in front of a hometown crowd – a notorious double-edged sword. The adrenaline will be pumping extra hard – often a good thing – but the obligation to impress the locals has been the downfall of countless fighters. Mistakes are easy to make if your focus isn’t perfect, and mistakes derail careers. A baseball or football team gets a 0-0 record at the beginning of every new season, but a loss in boxing is a permanent blemish -- evidence of vulnerability.

 

 And, have no doubt, Perez feels a duty and a pressure not only to win, but to impress.

 

 “Fighting in my new hometown (he was reared in Washington) amps up the excitement,” he said. “I feel like I need to show the crowd what I’m all about. I’m feeling like I need to bring something new, and I’m going to bring it. I’m going to show the fans some things I’ve never shown before.”

 

 Hidden between those lines you’ll find the word, “knockout.” Perez has only five KOs, thanks mostly his dedication to the hit-but-don’t-get-hit boxing philosophy of his trainers, Max and Sam Garcia, and Dean Familton. In his last two fights, he hasn’t lost a single round – a dazzling statistic – but fans, promoters and TV networks pay to see KOs. Perez absolutely wants to deliver one on Friday.

 

 Super bantamweight Roman Morales (6-0, 4 KOs) of San Ardo and middleweight Rudy Puga Jr. (pro debut) of Salinas also are part of the six-bout show. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the fights begin at 7 p.m.

 Tickets, priced from $35 to $125, may be purchased in advance (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) from the box office of the Salinas Sports Complex, or by calling Garcia Boxing (831-261-0532). They also are expected to be available at the gate Friday night.

 Thursday’s weigh-in for all fighters is free and open to the public at Chapala Mexican Restaurant, 438 Salinas Street in Salinas, beginning at 5 p.m.

 



Previous columns by Dennis Taylor
CLICK HERE: A shadowboxer grabs the spotlight
CLICK HERE: The meltdown of Floyd Mayweather
CLICK HERE: Logic screams that Mosley is just a pawn
CLICK HERE: To join the all-time greatest, Floyd needs a worthy challenge
CLICK HERE: Big Brother is waiting for Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero
CLICK HERE: Superstar! Andre Ward emerges as the new American Idol.
CLICK HERE: You with the cellphone ... wave bye bye!

CLICK HERE to contact Dennis Taylor


 

 


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