Alexis Rocha made a lot of fans with his latest performance, though at the expense of irritating his own team.

The 25-year-old southpaw extended his win streak to five in a row following a ten-round, unanimous decision win over Tijuana’s Jesus ‘Ricky’ Perez. The entertaining battle of welterweight bangers saw Rocha prevail by scores of 100-89, 100-90 and 99-91in their DAZN co-feature Saturday evening at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California.

"This was a tough mother," Rocha told DAZN's Chris Mannix. "I thought I was gonna get him out of there in the second round but he stuck around." 

Rocha all but guaranteed a knockout, insisting to anyone who would listen that he was not at all interested in settling for a points victory. The streaking welterweight from Irvine, California opened the bout with the determination of a fighter eager to make it an early night. Perez—who hadn’t fought since December 2019, prior to the pandemic—struggled to adjust to Rocha’s superior power, absorbing an alarming number of uppercuts and straight power shots upstairs.

The amount of punishment doled out in round two already drew a visit from the ringside physician and concern from Perez’s corner. The exam and subsequent lecture came after Rocha put on a body punching display, repeatedly landing with his left hand downstairs and then coming back upstairs with his right hook.

Perez warned to turn the tide or else his corner would stop the fight. The bruising slugger from Tijuana heeded the advice, charging forward and enjoying success in round three. Rocha was still landing the more telling blows but failed to play defense as Perez found a home for his overhand right.

Rocha returned to his jab and defensive angles in round four. The adjustment set up right hooks to the body, which Perez absorbed and at times responded with winging right hands. A left uppercut by Rocha caused Perez’s nose to gush blood with a little more than one minute to go in the round.

A drastic momentum shift came in round five. Perez still had plenty of fight left in him, walking through the power of Rocha to find unexpected counterpunching opportunities. Rocha landed a left to the body but came up well short upstairs. Adding insult to injury, Rocha left his chin exposed for a counter left hook by Perez, who spent the closing seconds of the round cornering the heavily favored Rocha.

The second half continued the trend of fun—and unexpected—two-way action. Rocha snapped back the head of Perez with a left uppercut but continued to irritate his corner by playing with his food and allowing Perez back into the fight.

Rocha planted his feet and drove home a left uppercut early in round eight. The shot was followed by a ripping right hook to the body, both of which Perez absorbed and continued to come forward. The same trend continued throughout rounds nine and ten, though with Rocha slowing considerably but still beating the determined Perez to the punch.

Even in defeat, Perez is expected to find plenty of work in 2023 and beyond. He entered the night on the heels of the longest layoff of his career and in his first fight in the U.S. He dedicated the opportunity to all Mexican day laborers in search of a better way of life, an opportunity he afforded himself following Saturday’s valiant effort despite falling to 24-4 (18KOs).

Rocha caps a banner 2022 campaign with his fifth win in a row since his October 2020 points loss to Rashidi Ellis. Saturday’s win runs his record to 21-1 (13KOs), coming in a year that included a breakout ninth-round knockout of Blair ‘The Flair’ Cobbs this past March 19 in Los Angeles.

Headlining the show, former IBF junior lightweight titlist Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz (32-2-1, 15KOs) faces unbeaten 135-pound contender William Zepeda 26-0, 23KOs) in a scheduled twelve-round bout above the lightweight limit.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox