By Francisco Salazar
SANTA YNEZ, California - Junior lightweight Joe Perez dropped Rufino Serrano once en route to grinding out an eight round split decision victory Friday night.
Serrano, who was the quicker and more polished fighter of the two fighters, allowed Perez to initiate exchanges in attempt to counter.
At the end of the third round, Perez, who resides in San Diego, landed a counter right hand to the chin, dropping Serrano to the canvas. Serrano was saved by the bell to the end the round.
Perez attempted to follow up in round four, but was not as assertive or aggressive as he should have been, allowing Serrano to regain his senses from the knockdown in the previous round.
Serrano, who resides in nearby Santa Maria, was tactically the better fighter in the second half. Perez attempted to load up on one punch, allowing Serrano to initiate and get the better of the exchanges between the two fighters.
Perez must have been affective in two of the judges' scorecards, as he won by wide scores. One judge scored the bout 76-75 for Serrano, while the other two judges scored the bout 78-73 and 77-73 for Perez, who improves to 12-3-1, 9 knockouts.
The 28-year-old Perez has now won seven of his last eight bouts.
Serrano, who had not fought in about 15 months, drops to 15-7, 1 KO.
The four round featherweight bout between John Dato (5-0 1 NC, 3 KOs) and Antonio Rodriguez was ruled a No Contest after the fight ended at 1:56 of the opening round after referee Sharon Sands ruled Dato landed a punch behind the head of Rodriguez, which dropped him to the canvas. Rodriguez (12-22-1 1 NC, 5 KOs) stated he was not able to continue.
In a battle of journeymen fighters, junior lightweight Manuel Romero won a four round split decision over Raymond Chacon. Romero was the aggressor, throwing more punches, but the southpaw Chacon (7-32-1) countered with effective hooks and crosses. One judge scored the bout 39-37 in favor of Chacon, but the other two judges scored the bout 39-27 for Romero, who goes to 3-5-3, 1 KO.
Welterweight Gerardo Alvarez (1-0-1) won a close four round unanimous decision over Nohelin Hernandez, who was making his pro boxing debut. Alvarez dropped Hernandez with a right hand to the head in round two, but began to slow down considerably from fatigue. Hernandez was the busier and more effective fighter during the final two rounds, but was on the short end of the judges' scorecards, who scored the bout 38-37 in favor of Alvarez.
Lightweight Angel Flores (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Mario Aguirre after the end of the second round. Flores dropped Aguirre (2-14, 2 KOs) midway through the second round. Aguirre fought back, but Flores pounded Aguirre with vicious right hands to the head. On the advice of Aguirre's corner, referee Jack Reiss stopped the bout, saving Aguirre from further punishment.
In lightweight action, Rudy Ochoa won a one-sided four round decision over Johnny Estrada (0-5). The southpaw Ochoa was the busier and more effective fighter, producing blood from Estrada's nose by the second round. Estrada was game, but Ochoa constantly had him on the defensive. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Ochoa, who improves to 6-0, 3 KOs.
The 'World Fighting Championship 91' card was the first fight card to take place at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez since January of 2015.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing