RingTV.com caught up to Eloy Perez for a Q&A concerning his HBO-televised clash with WBO junior lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner on Feb. 25, which stands to be the 25-year-old, Salinas, Calif., resident’s most difficult challenge for a number of reasons.
Not only is Broner (22-0, 18 knockouts) a skillful, talented boxer-puncher seeking to improve his already-impressive knockout ratio, but the 22-year-old is also a brash, cocky trash-talker whose mouth promises to test Perez’s poise as well.
Heading into the fight — which will take place at at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., on the undercard of a main event featuring junior welterweight Devon Alexander against Marcos Maidana — Broner has already taunted, “don’t go and get no popcorn,” because, “it will end early.”
In his last fight, Broner took only 1:43 to vanquish Martin Rodriguez for the WBO’s vacant belt, ending the former titleholder’s unbeaten streak at 13-0-1, with nine knockouts.
“That was okay,” said Broner of his victory over Rodriguez. “In this next fight [against Perez,] I’m going to have fun.”
The talk is nothing new for Perez (23-0-2, 7 KOs), who “was bullied growing up and made fun of” as “kind of a chubby, bulky” child, spurring his introduction into boxing.
“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,” said Perez.
“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. In school, I was more popular.”
And in the ring, Perez started to win.
THE RING’s No. 9 junior lightweight, Perez was recently named NABO Fighter of the Year, and is coming off his second straight knockout, scored in the sixth round over Ira Terry on Oct. 28.
Prior to that, Perez scored September’s impressive second-round stoppage of Daniel Jimenez, who had won three straight bouts before falling to Perez.
Perez has also vanquished prospect Dannie Williams (21-1, 17 KOs), who has since won nine consecutive fights, six of them by knockout, since falling in a thrilling 10-round unanimous decision in September of 2009.
Perez had been considered to face Broner for the vacant WBO 130-pound belt before facing Terry but the deal fell through. Broner also has to his credit a first-round stoppage of Jason Litzau in June, and a unanimous decision over Mexican former titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon in March.