Perez retains NABO belt
Ringside by Rocco Morales
Photography by “Big” Joe Miranda
NABO Junior Featherweight Champion Eloy Perez (19-0-2, 5 KOs) successfully defended his belt with a 10-round majority decision Friday night in a largely lackluster fight against Dominic Salcido (19-2, 9 KOs), at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.
Perez, fighting for the fourth time this year and coming off an exciting and impressive victory just two months ago over the solid Derrick Campos, was unable to get the counterpunch-minded Salcido to engage in battle for the first five rounds of the fight.
Instead, Salcido was content to fight from a distance, only attempting to land an occasional counter right cross whenever Perez would dart in and out with his frequent jabs. Only after the sell-out crowd of 1,700 fans lost all patience and began booing loudly did the fighters respond with more action. Once Salcido came out of his near-comatose state, he was actually able to do pretty well in the second half of the fight, landing his power shots frequently, particularly his overhand right which he began using as more than just a counterpunch.
Perhaps it was a case of ring rust for Salcido. Not only was he fighting for just the second time in the last 13 months, but he was facing his toughest opponent since being stopped in six rounds two years ago by the world class Vicente Escobedo.
Whatever the case, it resulted not only in a lackluster fight, but also resulted in Salcido giving away any chance at beating the very skilled 23-year-old Perez.
Perez, meanwhile, by use of his lightning fast jab, various angles, good upper body movement and overall ring generalship, was able to sweep the first half of the fight and then do just enough to hold on for the victory.
It was more a matter of the judges generous scoring for Salcido, however, than it being a razor thin victory for Perez. By scores of 96-94 (twice) and 95-95, Perez retained his NABO belt.
As the No. 2 WBO contender and backed by Golden Boy Promotions, Perez is looking at a title shot against WBO Super Featherweight Champion Ricky Burns in the near future.
Gomez goes the distance
In semi-main event action, the very popular and hard-hitting Frankie Gomez was taken the distance for the first time in his young career by solid veteran Ramon Montano in a six-round junior welterweight contest.
In contrast to the uninspiring main event, both fighters here laid it all on the line, much to the liking of the capacity crowd.
The 18-year-old Gomez, already in his seventh appearance in less than seven months as a professional, did everything in his power to keep his knockout record perfect, but the gritty Montano had no intention of finding a soft place to lie in the middle of the ring and instead slugged it out for six rugged rounds.
Nevertheless, given that Montano represented a big step up in class compared to his first six opponents, Gomez performed admirably well, put his punches together well, never lost his cool and won a comfortable unanimous decision victory, sweeping two of the three judges scorecards to raise his record to 7-0 (6 KO) while dropping Montano to 17-8-2.
Wilder survives scare
Undefeated heavyweights were also featured in separate bouts. In what looked like it would be a blowout on paper, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, Deontay Wilder, was nearly shocked by unheralded veteran Harold Sconiers who entered the bout as a loser of 15 of his previous 18 bouts, but who was riding a two-fight winning streak, including an upset over Andre Purlette.
Everything went according to script in the first round with the 6'7" Wilder knocking down Sconiers twice, each time with the referee appearing to call and end to the bout only to then indecisively allow the fight to continue after seeing that Sconiers was still able and willing to fight.
Wilder entered this fight not only undefeated but a victor by knockout in each of his previous 12 bouts and 10 of those fights ending by way of first round knockout.
Sconiers, however, decided that merely surviving the first round was not enough and was able to box Wilder pretty evenly in the second round before catching him with a hard punch and flooring him. Wilder rose on very unsteady legs and if not for the bell sounding immediately, may have suffered a much worse fate. Instead, Wilder was able to get his legs back under him in the third round while Sconiers was either unable or uninterested in taking further advantage. Sconiers then did what he came to do – lose – in the fourth round after being floored twice more by Wilder, the final time by a solid shot to the forehead that turned him into a bobblehead and floored him against the bottom rope prompting the referee finally to decisively call an end to the fight.
With the victory, Wilder not only exposes a possible glass chin for the first time, but keeps his knockout streak alive in improving to 13-0 (13 KOs) while Sconiers falls to 17-21-2 (8 KOs).
Mitchell blows through Brown
In other heavyweight action, undefeated contender Seth Mitchell faced much softer competition and much less resistance from blown up cruiserweight Derrick Brown. Although Mitchell may have been able to knock down Brown simply with a puff, he did throw a few punches in knocking Brown down three times in the very first round. The former All-American linebacker for Michigan State University, Mitchell, who turned pro just two-and-a-half years ago, improves to 19-0-1 (13 KOs) while Brown falls to 13-6-3 (4 KOs).
Huerta takes care of Cordova
Talented featherweight Charles Huerta wasted little time in dispatching his inexperienced opponent Felipe Cordova whom, although undefeated coming in, was not only making his third appearance as a professional but had a tall order as he was fighting for the first time since February 2006. By way of first round knockout, Huerta improves to 15-1 (8 KOs) while Cordova drops to 2-1 (1 KO).
Caballero remains undefeated
The loudest ovations of the night were saved for local favorite, Randy Caballero, an amateur 2008 US National Champion with over 150 amateur victories to his credit, who was making just his fifth fight as a professional.
It mattered none to the raucous crowd that Caballero has yet to fight an opponent with a winning record or that he was meeting Missael Nunez who was coming in with a 4-9-2 record. Bad record or not, however, it was still the most experienced opponent that Caballero had yet met and this experience was enough to keep Caballero from keeping his knockout streak alive.
Instead, by way of unanimous decision victory, Caballero raises his record to 5-0 (4 KO) while Nunez drops to 4-10-2, much to the delight of the crowd.
Fantasy Springs Casino Resort in Indio, California, played host to the event presented by Golden Boy Promotions and broadcast on Telefutura's "Solo Boxeo Tecate" series.