By Jake Donovan
Weeks after vacating his super flyweight title, Cristian Mijares looked comfortable in his first fight as a full-fledged super bantamweight. The former two-time champ had no difficulties in knocking out Colombia journeyman Jonathan Perez on Saturday evening in Zacatecas, Mexico.
The bout marked the first time Mijares has entered the ring since renouncing his super flyweight title reign, citing struggles to shrink down to the 115 lb. division. The move appeared to be a wise one for the Mexican southpaw, who for the first time in years looked filled out and fluid in his movements, competition notwithstanding.
As is usually the case when he steps up in class, Perez danced as hard as he could to make a fight of it but quickly found himself overwhelmed. Mijares peppered his well-traveled foe with combinations in the early going, content to put in some work but willing to go for the knockout if the opportunity presented itself.
It eventually would, though under somewhat bizarre circumstances.
Showing his stellar ring IQ, Mijares managed with mere seconds landed a combination, darted into position to avoid return fire and immediately come back with a right uppercut that had Perez on rubber legs.
The uppercut was the last punch Mijares threw during that sequence – and the fight itself. Perez tried to counter with a sweeping left hook, but overshot his target and fell to the canvas.
The sequence was ruled a knockdown, even though Mijares never landed another punch after the aforementioned uppercut caught Perez on the chin. Perhaps the way the visiting challenger fell to the canvas convinced the referee that it was a delayed-reaction knockdown. Or perhaps the faux right hook that Mijares threw as Perez was falling was enough to sell the sequence as knockdown-worthy.
Whatever the case, Perez wasn’t afforded the chance to rise up and defend himself as the fight waved off without another punch being thrown following the questionable knockdown.
Mijares picks up his sixth straight win as he improves to 43-6-2 (19KO). The Mexican enjoys a career rebirth after a three-fight losing streak had many calling for his retirement a couple of years ago.
He has instead once again proven the experts wrong, including a second title reign that begun last December. Mijares managed one defense – a decision win over Carlos Rueda – and was preparing for a summer showdown with fellow resurging super flyweight Raul Martinez, only to pull out and give up the title a few weeks ago after difficulty shrinking down in weight.
Perez snaps a two-fight win streak as he falls to 19-9(16KO). Whom he faces perhaps as much to do as where he faces them – all of Perez’ 19 wins have come in his native Colombia, while Saturday evening marked his ninth failed road trip in as many tries during his pro career.
With the win and the ease in which he was able to make weight, Mijares now seeks to begin life as a full-fledged super bantamweight contender.
The move comes at the right time as the division threatens to heat up. A title fight between Toshiaki Nishioka and Rafael Marquez takes place in Las Vegas early next month. Nonito Donaire is already threaten to bolt from the bantamweight division and former Mijares victim Jorge Arce turned back the clock with a knockout win over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr this past May.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].