By Jake Donovan
Undefeated prospect Craig McEwan was given all that he could handle in his majority decision win over trialhorse Danny Perez in their ten-round middleweight bout on Friday night at the Pechanga Hotel and Casino in Temecula, California.
Scores were 97-93 (twice) and 95-95 for their Telefutura-televised main event.
Nothing came easy in the bout for McEwan, who weighed in at 161 lb for his second ten-round fight of his young career. The Glasgow, Scotland native – now fighting for Freddie Roach out of the Wild Card Gym – found himself in arguably his toughest fight since turning pro four years ago.
Such is often the case when fighters find themselves in the ring with Perez, traditionally a junior middleweight but moving up and weighing in at a career heaviest 161.8 lb. This bout was no exception, as indicated from the opening round, in which McEwan found himself contending with a cut just outside of his right eyelid.
The blood continued to flow throughout the fight, though McEwan’s corner did an exceptional job of disallowing the cut to ever become a factor.
What they couldn’t prevent was the determination of Perez, who did everything in his power to discourage the unbeaten rising star. The Californian’s most effective weapon was his overhand right, which he used to counter every time McEwan came in and overcommitted on any punch.
The tone was set early on, when Perez raced off of his stool in hopes of catching McEwan off guard. The strategy provided short-term success, though McEwan quickly turned things around and was momentarily able to avoid a brawl.
It only lasted so long, as Perez gathered his thoughts and came back strong every time McEwan threatened to pull away with the lead.
Roughhouse tactics were added for good measure, with McEwan twice being shoved to the canvas, including a hard push in the eighth round which resulted in referee Ray Colonna calling time to ask both fighters to keep it clean.
With the fight seemingly in the balance down the stretch, Perez remained in McEwan’s face in hopes of stealing a major victory and adding the scalp of yet another young prospect to his growing resume. With wins over Jose Luis Zertuche and Julio Cesar Garcia in recent years, Perez doesn’t always come just for the sake of playing the opponent role.
Still, McEwan remains at a stage in his career where he just doesn’t know how to lose. In this particular fight, he dug deep and let rip an impressive body attack, although it often left him vulnerable for right hands upstairs as Perez remained unfazed.
In the end, the judges were more impressed with McEwan’s busier workrate and more polished style. He improves to 19-0 (10KO), though picking up just his second win in a relatively slow 2010 campaign for the potentially great Scot.
Despite his A for effort, the end result goes in the books as a loss for Perez. He has now dropped three straight as he falls to 34-8 (17KO). While the losses start to pile up, Perez can take great pride in that he’s never been stopped in more than 14 years as a pro, and never for attempting to remain out of harm’s way.
IN OTHER ACTION…
One-time featherweight prospect Charles Huerta continues to travel the slow and deliberate road back to prime-time. The Los Angeles-based boxer started out strong, but had difficulties in fending off bantamweight journeyman Jonathan Arias before finally getting rid of him in the final round of their six-round co-feature battle.
The bout lacked any sort of flow whatsoever, with tons of punch-and-clinch sequences offered throughout their six-round affair. Huerta remained in control throughout, landing sharp combinations, but never enough to seriously put a dent in the iron-chinned Arias until the final round in which he floored the normally durable Dominican and followed up with a flurry along the ropes to put him away once and for all.
The official time was 1:47 of the sixth round.
Huerta advances to 14-1(8KO) with his third straight win since getting iced in less than a minute against Derrick Wilson just under a year ago. The knockout is his first in five fights.
Arias falls to 10-7 (8KO) with the loss, his first in more than a year. A six-fight win streak comes to an end, the longest of his career. The bout also marks the first stoppage loss.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com and an award-winning member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Contact Jake at JakeNDaBox@gmail.com