Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona, New York - In a crossroads bout, Michael Perez (25-2-2, 11 KOs) bounced back from last year's knockout loss to Petr Petrov with a ten round split decision over Marcelino Lopez (32-2-1, 17 KOs), who fought for the first time since October 2015. The scores were 96-93 for Lopez, 97-92 for Perez and 96-93 for Perez.
Lopez came out very aggressive, pushing Perez back with pressure and power punching. Perez was using a lot of movement, staying away, working the ring and catching Lopez when he came inside. By the third round, Lopez appeared to be firing on all cylinders but not landing anything flush. Perez was boxing, but not doing that much damage.
Perez did well in the fourth, but allowed himself to get hit with some heavy punches in the final twenty seconds. In the fifth they were trading punches on the inside, but the harder shots of Lopez were key. Perez was battling back in the sixth, using his boxing ability and not allow Lopez to plant his feet to fire big shots.
During the eight round, a big hook sent Perez down on his back. Perez got up, wasn't that seriously hurt. Lopez was focusing on the body, digging with hard hooks and looking for more shots upstairs. There was a cut opened up above the right eye of Perez in the ninth as Lopez continued to rally. Lopez came out firing in the tenth and final round. Perez was boxing and staying on the move until the final bell.
In a battle for the IBF North American welterweight championship, Rashidi Ellis (18-0, 12 KOs) had to go through some tough moments to win a ten round majority decision over John Karl Sosa (13-3, 6 KOs). The scores 95-95, 97-93 and 97-93.
Sosa came out winging some big shots, but not landing. The hand speed and tricky style of Ellis was finding the mark quickly. Sosa was game, throwing and being a little wild but Ellis was able to avoid the punches with his quick defensive skills.
At the start of the second round, Sosa rocked Ellis with a combination and then a moment later he rocked him again. Ellis was doing a lot of holding and getting warned by the referee, but Sosa allowed Ellis to recover with the constant holding. Things were evening up in the third, as Ellis was working his way back in the fight.
By the midway point in the fight, Sosa was allowing Ellis to control the action and he was being way too predictable with the same in-ring movements. Sosa came back with hard shots to once again rock Ellis in the eight, with hard uppercuts and hooks. During the ninth, Ellis was once again getting worked over and stood his ground in the closing seconds to trade toe to toe shots with Sosa.
The two boxers had their moments in the tenth and final round. Both boxers were swinging away at close range, but both were tired and had little power left in their shots.