RingTV.com caught up with unbeaten junior lightweight contender Eloy Perez, who was recently named NABO Fighter of the Year and will defend that organization’s belt against Ira Terry at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, Calif., Friday night on Telefutura.
Perez (22-0-2, 6 KOs), who turned 25 on Oct. 25, is coming off an impressive second-round knockout of Daniel Jimenez (20-4-1, 12 KOs), who had won three straight bouts before falling to Perez in their Solo Boxeo Tecate main event on Sept. 2.
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, Perez also has a victory over feared lightweight prospect Dannie Williams (19-1, 15 KOs), a winner of seven consecutive bouts, five of them by knockout, since being out-pointed by Perez in a thrilling 10-rounder in September of 2009.
Perez had been considered to face Adrien Broner (21-0, 17 KOs) for the vacant WBO 130-pound belt next month before the deal fell through, according to Perez’s manager, Kathy Garcia.
Instead, Perez will stay busy against Terry (24-6, 14 KOs), a prospect-turned-journeyman from Tennessee.
The 24-year-old opponent is tryinig to end a four-bout losing streak against Perez.
But as much as he is an accomplished boxer who appears to be on the verge of taking advantage of a big break, Perez is also a young man who overcame bullying as a child through sports such as wrestling, football, baseball, and, most notably, boxing.
RingTV.com: So can you tell me how you got into boxing?
Eloy Perez: Well, I was bullied. I was kind of chubby and bulky as a kid. I had a low self-esteem, you know. I was just that kind of a kid. I was bullied growing up and made fun of.
I had an anger problem myself, and I was mean. I would get into fights, you know, over, like, the tire swing at a playground or something like that. I just got into fights. I was probably around in the fifth grade or something.
I was probably 11 or 12 years old. Then, you know, I started to become a bully myself. So my dad, Eloy Sr., and my dad’s friend, Jim Douglass, my old manager, they took me to the gym.
I went and started to box and I lost the weight. My self-esteem rose. Everything just started to fall into place. Girls wanted me. All of the girls that I wanted they started to notice me. [Laughs.]
In school, I was more popular. I used to have really long, nappy, curly hair, but I got a haircut. So my life changed through boxing, and the rest is history.
RingTV.com: What other sports were influential in your life?
EP: I wrestled and I boxed. I liked wrestling because of the competition and I got pretty good. I went to state my freshman year. In football in high school, I was the running back on offense.
I was little, but I had speed and I had stamina, so I just used my size and my quickness to my advantage. I was a decent running back, and on defense, I was an outside linebacker. I was a free safety also.
RingTV.com: So how big is this fight with Terry?
EP: You know, I don’t know too much about Ira Terry, but I know that he’s gotten knocked out a couple of times during his last few fights. But I take everybody seriously.
I am not a world champion, and I want to be a world champion, so I can’t afford to lose. Nobody wants a loss on their record. I don’t like it. The promoters don’t like it. They certainly don’t want a loss on your record.
I know that I am just getting better and better. I’m working on what I need to do for the future. I want to face better and better competiton.
RingTV.com: Where does the win over Williams rank, and do you feel that you demonstrated surprising power in your last fight with Jimenez?
EP: Williams came in and he fought, I mean, that was a great fight for me. I think that Williams had 10 knockouts among his 12 wins and he was undefeated at the time. I knew that he was good because he had no losses.
That fight made me who I am. He came to fight. S–t. He dropped me twice, I dropped him once. That kid was so strong. He was a great fighter. Daniel Jimenez, s–t, he’s been in with some great fighters and great champions.
But those are the types of fights that I have to win, and win impressively if I can. The difference for the Jimenez fight was the training camp. I really wanted to work on displaying my strength and my power.
It’s always been there. I feel like I have to come forward more to get where I want to be. I’ve learned a lot and gotten a lot of support from my team in that reguard.