The fight was stopped due to severe bleeding from a cut over Perez’s forehead ruled to have been caused by an accidental clash of heads, and the decision went to the cards at Barclays Center.
Perez is 18-1-2 with 10 knockouts, and Smith, 14-4-3 with 10 stoppage victories. Judge Joe Pasquale had it for Perez, 67-66, but judges Julie Lederman and Carlos Ortiz Jr. scored it a draw at 66-66.
Initially, referee Charlie Murdock raised Smith’s hand as if he had won, as Perez walked to his corner in protest.
“The guy kept head butting me from the first round on,” said Perez. “In the first round, he nailed me in the left eye. Fourth round, he cut me up here above my right eye. In the sixth, he got me in my temple.”
“To me, it’s all about points and not rushing forward. It’s about getting in clean shots and getting points. In round one, I hurt my left hand. I kept trying to throw my jab, but my hand hurt. I’m going to take a little break and rest my body and recuperate and the get back in there.”
In an earlier bout, Bronx junior middleweight Eddie Gomez (13-0, 9 KOs) used consecutive left hooks to rock and stop rival Javier Gomez (14-11, 10 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico, in just 87 seconds at Barclays Center on Saturday night.
Javier Gomez tried to rise and continue, but referee Arthur Mercante Jr. had seen enough and wrapped the beaten fighter in his arms.
Also, Staten Island light heavyweight Marcus Browne (3-0, 3 KOs) scored an early knockdown before cornering and hammering Cincinnati’s Josh Thorpe (1-3) into submission for a first-round knockout. Read the report here.
Eddie Gomez and Browne fought on Saturday night’s undercard to a main event featuring 48-year-old former RING light heavyweight and middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins challenging IBF 175-pound titleholder Tavoris Cloud.
Hopkins-Cloud marks only the second-ever boxing event at Barclays, with the third scheduled for April 27 and to feature the live Showtime telecast of a defense by RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia (25-0, 16 KOs) against former titleholder Zab Judah.
Earlier, Brooklyn junior middleweight Frank Galarza (9-0-1, 5 KOs) dropped his man twice in the second and final round of a knockout over Guillermo Ibarra (7-2, 4 KOs), of Los Mochis, Mexico. View the report here.