by Cliff Rold
25-year old Welterweight Vernon Paris (28-1, 16 KO) of Detroit, Michigan, made it two in a row in rebounding from a knockout loss to Zab Judah last year, earning a unanimous decision despite a determined effort from 28-year old Manuel Perez (19-9-1, 4 KO) of Denver, Colorado, on Friday night at the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan.
Both men came into the bout below the division limit of 147 lbs., Paris at 146 and Perez at 145 ˝.
Perez, his hands held high in front of his face, stayed in front of Paris and pressed the fight through the first four rounds. Paris popped the jab but it was Perez landing the better stuff at short range, digging short lefts and finding some rights over the top. Paris responded with stiff right crosses but too often was responding rather than leading.
Backing to the ropes in the fifth, Paris absorbed a salvo to the body, fired back with a right hand, and then was nearly forced through the ring ropes as Perez bulled forward. Perez, working Paris to the ropes again, landed a flush right but couldn’t keep his man there.
Using the ring, Paris was having stronger sixth but still couldn’t avoid the Perez right hand. In the seventh, Paris buckled a charging Perez with a left inside late in the round. Perez ended the round bleeding from the nose, swelling around the left eye, and maybe leading in the contest.
Paris carried the momentum into the eighth, boxing well and landing some eye-catching shots. Perez was being outboxed again in round nine but found an assault in the final minute, clean blows finding the face of Paris.
He found it again in the first minute of round ten, whacking Paris with a right near the ropes. Game, Paris shook it off and responded with a hard flurry and then went to circling the ring and using his jab. Paris landed a series of touching shots in combination with the action at center ring. While Perez tried to wail to the body, Paris kept tattooing him with quick, scoring punches to close what appeared a lopsided closing stanza.
The late surge was more than enough for the local man, Paris winning by a reasonable 96-94, 97-93, and an oddly one-sided 98-92.
The televised portion of the card began with a solid contest between veteran Lightweights.
34-year old Cornelius Lock (21-6-1, 13 KO), 132, of Detroit, Michigan, overcame two debatable knockdown calls to earn a unanimous decision over 26-year old Lonnie Smith (14-5-3, 10 KO), 132, of Las Vegas, Nevada.
The two men were well matched but it was Lock who controlled the action for most of the night. In consecutive rounds, four and five, Smith was awarded knockdowns on what appeared to be a tangle of legs and a bit of a trip. Lock wasn’t hurt either time and seemed to come back and win the remainder of each frame. In the final round, Smith was deducted a point for spitting out his mouthpiece, a problem that seemed to stem from the shots he was taking. The fight had gotten away from him and his best moments, debatable or not, were well behind. Lock carried the fight on earned scores of 97-91, 96-92, and 95-92.
The card was televised in the U.S. on ESPN as part of its “Friday Night Fights” series, promoted by Greg Ahrens.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org