by Cliff Rold
In a mild upset and entertaining surprise, 24-year old Jr. Featherweight Alejandro Perez (15-2-1, 10 KO) roared out of Steinbeck Country, Salinas, California, to turn out recently serious Featherweight contender Antonio Escalante (24-4, 15 KO) in a single round at the Sports Center in Fairfield, California, on Friday night.
Both men weighed in for the contest at the Jr. Lightweight limit of 130 lbs. The referee was Edward Collantes.
Escalante struck first, a pair of body shots landing while Perez tried to establish his jab. A right hand echoed off of Perez and Escalante seemed in control but a burst of offense off the ropes had Escalante on the seat of his trunks. Collantes ruled a slip as Escalante’s foot seemed to slide on the paint at ring center and, moments later, the footing of Perez would slide with Collantes giving him the benefit of the doubt as well.
The tense opening frame settled into its final minute with Escalante lazily sliding along the ropes with his hands too low as Perez pressed and landed a left and right. Escalante held on to stem the offense and landed a jarring right uppercut at the thirty-second mark. He would eat something far more than jarring moments later. With just about ten seconds to the bell, Perez blocked an Escalante left and exploded with a right hand Escalante never saw coming. He dropped as if shot, sitting up as Collantes count reached four.
Looking at the face of Escalante for a couple more ticks, Collantes saw a man who could not continue and halted the action at 2:57 of the opening round.
Both men entered the contest having lost in their last outing, but their activity level has been vastly different. Perez lost via decision to excellent prospect Rico Ramos in November 2009 and was making his first start since. Escalante was coming off a thrilling 2010 that saw him win a Fight of the Year candidate versus Miguel Roman only to end the year knocked out in three by former Jr. Featherweight titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon.
Perez should be able to count on an earlier return to the ring than 2013 after this.
Perez-Escalante was the main event of a four-fight broadcast.
Jr. Middleweight: Clint Colonel (4-1-2, 1 KO) SD6 Carlos Musquez (3-5-3, 3 KO)
Featherweight: Manuel Avila (3-0, 2 KO) TKO2 Frank Gutierrez (2-9-2, 1 KO)
Jr. Featherweight: Roman Morales (2-0, 1 KO) UD4 Danny Pantoja (0-4)
The card was televised on Telefutura as part of its “Solo Boxeo” series, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]