By Francisco Salazar
(SANTA YNEZ, California) - Darleys Perez is best remembered for his loss at the hands of Yuriorkis Gamboa. After Friday night, he may be known for much more.
Perez scored his most impressive to date, winning a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision over Jonathan Maicelo at the Chumash Casino Resort. With the win, Perez retains the interim WBA lightweight title.
With the win on Friday night, Perez has now won his last four bouts in a row since the loss to Gamboa in June of 2013.
Maicelo was coming off a 10 round split decision win over Art Hovhannisyan on July 11.
Perez looked to box from the opening bell, keeping his distance from hard-hitting Maicelo. From the opening bell, Perez began to time Maicelo by landing lead or counter right hands to the head.
Undaunted, Maicelo was able to land a few left hands to the head of Perez. He was able to beat Perez to the punch on a few occasions, backing up Perez at times in the process.
Perez seemed to swing momentum in his favor in the fourth round. He continued to land consistently with right hands to the head, bruising up the left side of Maicelo's face in the process.
With each passing round, Perez was able to increase his punch output, landing more at will on Maicelo. In the later rounds, Perez began to land more left hooks to the head, puzzling Maicelo as he was not able to fend off any of Perez's offense.
Near the end of the 11th round, Perez dropped Maicelo with a left hook to the head. After Maicelo survived the round, he tried to mount an offense in round 12. However, Perez hurt him with a left hook to the head, almost dropping him to the canvas. Perez looked for the knockout, but Maicelo made it to the final bell.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Perez, 118-109, 118-108, and 120-107.
The Colombian-born Perez improves to 32-1, 20 KOs, while Maicelo, who hails from Callao, Peru, drops to 21-2, 12 KOs.
Heavyweight Jarrell Miller won a six round unanimous decision over Aaron Kinch. It was all Miller (11-0-1, 9 KOs) as he landed the more telling blows throughout the fight. It looked as though Miller would end matter early as he hurt Kinch numerous times through the first two rounds. Kinch (5-4-2, 1 KO) rallied in the third round, landing a few right hands to the head of Miller. Swinging momentum in his favor in the fourth round, Miller repeatedly scored with counter right hands to the head of Kinch. Miller was at his best landing punches over the top down onto Kinch. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Miller, 60-54, 60-54, and 60-53.
Welterweight Francisco Santana scored an emphatic and explosive first round knockout over Kendal Mena.
Santana entered the bout having won his last nine bouts in a row. Mena was making his United States debut and was fighting on a week's notice after Randall Bailey withdrew from the fight.
From the opening bell, Santana went on the attack, looking to set up hook or a cross. He would get that almost midway through the first round, when a left hook to the head dropped Mena to the canvas. Mena got up on wobbly legs and kept his hands down. Moments later, Santana unleashed a left hook that dropped Mena flat on to his back. Referee Jack Reiss immediately waved the fight over at 1:43.
Santana, who resides in nearby Santa Barbara, improves to 22-3-1, 11 KOs. Mena, from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, falls to 20-1, 11 KOs.
Flyweight Poula Estrada (2-0) won a four round majority decision over Kayana Rain, who was making her professional debut. Both had their moments in the close fight as the taller Estrada looked to counter from the outside. One judge scored the bout 38-38, while the other two judges scored the bout 39-37 for Estrada.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing