Best night of pro career: Got up from two knockdowns to drop talented foe Dannie Williams (12-0, 10 knockouts) in the wild early rounds of their 10-round thriller and then outclassed his fellow prospect with a sharp jab, smart pressure and counter punches down the stretch of their special attraction at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills last September.
Worst night of pro career: Struggled with journeyman Carlos Vinan (7-4-2, 1 KO), who held Perez to an eight-round split draw in Sacramento in August of 2007. Perez outboxed Vinan but gave ground to the tough guy and allowed himself to be outworked.
Next fight: Faces 5-foot-11 Mexican veteran Gilberto Leon (23-7-2, 7 knockouts) on the Shane Mosley-Floyd Mayweather Jr. undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 1. The bout will be televised live on all cable systems offering the HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast, including iN-Demand, DISH Network and DirecTV.
Why he’s a prospect: Perez combines impressive athletic ability with a strong work ethic and old-school boxing technique. He had a solid amateur career highlighted by two California state Golden Gloves titles and a gold medal at the 2004 Ringside world championships (men‘s senior open 132-pound division). He has developed into a versatile young pro who is as comfortable slipping shots and counter punching from a distance as he is pressure fighting and attacking the body in close. He’s defeated fellow prospects (Williams, Juan Santiago and David Rodela) in his last three bouts.
Why he’s a suspect: At times Perez focuses too much on defense, allowing himself to be out hustled (as he was in the two draws on his record). Other times he forgoes his excellent jab and defensive prowess to stand and trade with opponents, which made for difficult fights with harder punchers like Williams and bigger men like Rodela. At 5-foot-6, he is almost always at a height disadvantage. Lacks one-punch power.
Story lines: A hyper-active child born in the small one-street town of Rochester, Wash., Perez was introduced to the sport in his early teens to help keep him out of trouble. A natural athlete, he quickly developed into one of the better amateur boxers in the Pacific Northwest around the same time he was a standout running back on his high school football team. He turned pro on his 18th birthday and engaged in five bouts before he graduated from Rainier High School in Rainier, Washington. (He fought in his sixth pro bout the day after graduation). Local legend has it that Perez rushed for 228 yards in a high school game the day before he won his third pro bout. In mid-2006, Perez caught the attention of boxing trainer Max Garcia, who brought young pro to Salinas, Calif., to spar former fringe contender Jesus Rodriguez. Garcia was so impressed than he brought in legendary boxing sage Don Familiton to help instruct Perez. The late “Coach Familiton,” then 77 years old, instilled an old-school boxing foundation and philosophy to the youth, who was eager to learn and continues to develop and advance under the guidance of the Garcia clan, who moved Perez to Salinas, Calif., a tough little central coast town that has adopted him.