Eloy Perez Targets Salgado Title Showdown For 2012

By Ryan Maquiñana

SALINAS, CA – In a non-title affair, NABO junior lightweight champion Eloy Perez kept his unbeaten record intact Friday night with an abrupt sixth-round stoppage of Ira Terry in a bout that served as the main event on Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo Tecate series.
Only eight weeks removed from a two-round blowout of Daniel Jimenez in his adopted hometown of Salinas, Calif., Perez returned to the same city to add another foe to his knockout total, this time at Sherwood Hall.
“My team wanted me to wait longer before I pressed it, but I went for it,” Perez said in the locker room after the fight.  “The ref thought he took too many hard shots.  I was just on [Terry] too much, so he ended it, and I thought it was right.”
After an uneventful first round, Perez, 131, began to open up his offense in the following frame, backing Terry, 129, into the ropes on the strength of a double left hook. 
Despite having been knocked out in each of his last four fights and taking this fight on short notice, however, Terry showed no signs of folding, returning fire and even scoring at times, especially with a short counter right hand over the top.
“He did catch me a couple times, but he didn’t hurt me,” Perez said.  “Give him credit.  He came to fight.”
Unfortunately for the Memphis native, Terry’s shots seemed to have little effect on Perez, who continued to press the action and happened to get the better of the exchanges, clearly taking every round from two through five.
The sixth was a carbon copy of the previous four rounds, with Perez leading off and Terry having spurts of success once the hometown fighter unloaded. 
It was during one of these sequences where Perez, walking his opponent down and leading with the left hook to the body and to the head, had Terry backpedaling back into the ropes from one side of the ring to the next. 
As Terry covered up, his foe teed off on him, landing the majority of ten unanswered punches that prompted referee Dan Stell to call a halt to the bout at 1:22 and Perez to carry nine-year-old Sy Sherman, who is battling liver cancer, on his shoulders in celebration.
From this writer’s perspective, while Terry might have done himself a disservice by not responding to Perez’s volleys, he did not seem noticeably hurt and the stoppage appeared somewhat premature.
That said, Terry’s recent history of failing to make the distance in his previous four bouts might have had a hand in Stell’s hasty choice, one that did not sit too well with the visiting fighter. 
“To me, I could read that the referee was looking for an opportunity to stop the fight, especially after the second round,” Terry said.  “I felt like it was too early.  He tried to hold me on the ropes like I was hurt.
“We were going back and forth, and it was [Perez’s] time coming at me.  I was pretty much resting, and I was going to catch him, tire him out in the later rounds.”
Either way, the final result stands.  Perez now moves to 23-0-2 (7 KOs) and is on quite a hot streak—two straight knockouts, recent NABO Fighter of the Year honors, and a debut in Ring Magazine’s top 10 junior lightweight rankings.
“I’ve taken my time, I’ve put in my time, I’ve been criticized, but I don’t care,” Perez shared.  “I’ve got a great managing team with the Garcias.  I’ve got one of the best promotional companies in Golden Boy.  I’m just excited for 2012.”
Earlier in the week, Perez’s team revealed that he might pursue IBF 130-pound champ Juan Carlos Salgado, and then if he were to secure the belt, a fight with Golden Boy stablemate and budding rival Adrien Broner, who has a Nov. 26 date with Vicente Rodriguez for the vacant WBO strap.
“I would like to fight Juan Carlos Salgado, so whatever I need to do and whoever I need to fight to make it happen, let’s do it,” Perez proclaimed.  “It would be great for the Mexican fight fans and the boxing world.”
Terry, meanwhile, dropped to 24-7 (14 KOs), and is mulling over a move down to featherweight.
In the co-feature, Walnut Creek, California’s Paul Mendez, 171, redeemed himself after dropping a split decision in his last outing on TeleFutura against James Parison by earning a lopsided unanimous nod over the gritty Loren Myers, 172, who traveled north from Fresno.
Mendez dominated the fight over six rounds, landing several combinations and showing flashes of the fighter who caught the Bay Area boxing media’s eye as the chief sparring partner for Andre Berto last month.
The value that Myers brought to the fight was in his durability and cast iron chin. Despite getting tagged repeatedly with left hooks, right crosses, and uppercuts due to a lack of head movement, Myers refused to take a knee at any point in the fight.  He also found a home for his overhand right, but its consistency was sporadic at best.
Scores were 60-54 across the board for Mendez, who jumped to 7-2 (2 KOs), while Myers descended to 8-14-1 (2 KOs).
“I only had five days notice before I took this fight, but I’m happy to win this time out, especially with [Myers’s] chin being able to take everything,” Mendez said.  “I just listened to my trainer Daniel Coca.  He told me to set everything up behind the jab.
“To be honest, I was a little worried that a cut I had opened up over my left eye in the Parison fight would re-open like it did during sparring, so I had to fight carefully.”
The youngest fighter on the card, 19-year-old Ulises Soriano of Richmond, Calif., came away victorious in his pro debut, outhustling San Francisco’s Jhonnathan Zamudio on two of the judges’ scorecards en route to the majority decision.
Easily the fight of the night, the two fought more like warriors than two guys with a combined one pro bout (a draw) heading into the scrap.
A 38-38 tally was overruled by two cards reading 39-37 for Soriano.
“It was a really tough fight, but I came out with the win,” said the victor with the trunks marked “D.F.” in homage to his amateur club.
Due to the war of attrition tilting Soriano’s way, the East Bay pugilist can celebrate a 1-0 start to his career.  Zamudio still remains winless at 0-1-1.
With Pablo Sarmiento and Boris Grinberg in his corner and promoter Sampson Lewkowicz looking on in attendance, undefeated Russian heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov, 233, unleashed his southpaw attack and offensive firepower to overwhelm Tokyo’s Masataka Takehara, 229, in the very first round.
In a good old-fashioned bullying, Abdusalamov repeatedly backed Takehara into the ropes with pressure.  While the Japanese fighter attempted to do the same, his wide punches had little effect on the Russian, who landed a lead straight left hand in response that had Takehara momentarily reeling back on the defensive.
After cutting the ring off, Abdulsalamov finished the job, landing two looping left hooks to the body over Takehara’s pawing left jab.  Finally, when Takehara tried to slip and dodge the Russian’s onslaught, another looping left hand caught the crouching Japanese pugilist on the temple, sending him down and out.
Official time was 2:38, as the 30-year-old Abdusalamov, a two-time national champion at Russia in super heavyweight, ran his knockout streak to 11 in 11 pro bouts.
“No, I didn’t expect [the knockout] to come quickly,” he said, with his words translated by Grinberg.  “He’s a very good fighter, very sneaky.  He faked me a couple times.  I thought I’d knock him out close to the distance, like in five or six rounds.”
“We fight again on November 20 in my show at Texas Station Gambling Hall and Hotel,” Lewkowicz said.  “[Middleweight champion] Sergio Martinez was 31 when he arrived to his country.  He’s been one year here before Sergio, so when he’s 34, they’ll be equal.  You have a new star for the heavyweight division.”
As stated, Abdusalamov ascended to 11-0 (11 KOs), while Takehara tumbled to 6-6-3 (2 KOs).
Another Salinas fighter, Rudy Puga Jr., 170, made quick work of Jose Jesus Hurtado, 171, after a vicious attack to the ribcage from the former had the latter reeling before one final Puga barrage led to referee Ray Balewicz calling for the inevitable stoppage at 1:52.
“It felt good to fight in front of my family and friends again,” Puga said.  “I hit him with a left hook to the body, and when I saw his legs buckle, I took it as a signal to get after him and finish the job.”
Puga, a former U.S. National Team member in the amateurs, moved to 2-0 (2 KOs), while Hurtado, who made the trip up north from San Ysidro, fell to 3-5 (3 KOs).
To close an entertaining Friday fight night, former two-weight world champion Carina Moreno, 112, of nearby Watsonville returned to the win column with a hard-earned unanimous decision in a rematch with Las Vegas-based Sharon Gaines, 111.
While Gaines gave a game effort and even won a couple rounds on the cards, Moreno did just enough work on the inside when the combatants traded shots to pull the fight out on the cards.
Scores were 58-56 twice and 59-55 for Moreno, who rose to 22-3 (6 KOs); Gaines goes to 11-13 (3 KOs).
“I hope to get a couple tune-up fights before getting a rematch with [WBA/WBO light flyweight champ] Yesica Bopp of Argentina,” Moreno shared.  “It just feels good to be back, but after this fight, I still plan to go back to 108 or 105 pounds.”
The card was promoted by Golden Boy in association with Don Chargin Productions and Paco Presents.
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel.  E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.
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