By Jake Donovan
Randy Caballero rode the momentum from a 2nd round knockdown to thrill his hometown fans with a wide unanimous decision win over Manuel Roman in their Shobox main event Friday evening at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
Scores were 97-92 and 96-93 (twice) in a bout that saw Caballero in control throughout but still forced to work every step of the way.
Caballero was making his 11th performance at the casino resort in his birth town, long ago developing as a house favorite. The 21-year old didn’t disappoint at any juncture and even threatened with an early knockdown after scoring a clean and hard knockdown of Roman in the second round.
The sequence proved to be an aberration, as Caballero quickly reverted to form of boxing for the most part and punching with authority only when he felt necessary.
Roman was game throughout the fight but was severely overmatched in the skill department. Still, his determination was actually well-received on the final scorecards, with the ringside officials clearly rewarding the Mexican’s aggression.
Caballero fought a disciplined fight, playing to the crowd on occasion but also not taking any foolish risks. Roman turned up the intensity late in the bout, but proved too little and way too late in the end.
The win is the fourth distance fight for Caballero in his past five ring appearances as he improves to 16-0 (8KO). Roman falls to 15-2-3 (6KO), though is just 1-2-2 in his past five contests.
Michael Perez began the year as one of boxing's hottest prospects. A considerable amount of luster was removed following his knockout loss to Omar Figueroa earlier this year on Shobox. His stock has possibly dropped a little more even in victory, taking a disputed split decision over Fidel Maldonado in their 10-round co-feature.
Maldonado won 95-94 on one card, but was overruled by tallies of 95-94 and a terribly scored 97-92 verdict in favor of Perez.
The bout saw several dips and valleys throughout, both in terms of action and momentum. Perez controlled the real estate early on, but Maldonado turned things around for as long as his stamina and skin would hold up. An inadvertent headbutt left Maldonado cut over his eye, but he braved through the pain.
Both fighters had their moments in a slower paced second half, but Maldonado made a statement in the end with an emphatic knockdown of Perez shortly before the final bell to end the fight.
The two-point 10th round was enough to win one card, but the other two judges scored on auto-pilot and had Perez up by a considerable margin prior to the round.
Perez has now won two straight as he advances to 17-1-1 (9KO). Still, there is a lot of work to be done if he hopes to return to past accolades.
Maldonado - dejected as the final scores were read - falls to 13-2 (11KO). The loss is his second straight, though he left with the full support of the crowd on hand.
In off-camera action, Ryan Caballero - Randy's younger brother - made his pro debut with a four-round decision over Manuel Machorro (0-7-1). Scores were 40-36 (twice) and 39-37.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: