Junior welterweight standout Vernon Paris boxed well enough to win a unanimous decision against game Manuel Perez in a Friday Night Fights main event in his hometown of Detroit on Friday.
Paris (28-1, 16 knockdowns), who was in his second bout since being stopped by Zab Judah last March, won by scores of 96-94, 97-93 and a way too generous 98-92. ESPN2 commentator Teddy Atlas scored the fight a draw and most observers thought the bout could have gone either way.
Perez (19-9-1, 4 KOs), a well-traveled young veteran from Denver, stalked forward throughout the fight throwing combinations whenever he was in range. The 28-year-old fighter landed hooks and the occasional right hand when in close.
However, Paris was able to control the tempo of the bout with lateral movement and a busy jab that he landed to Perez’s head and body. The 25-year-old boxer-puncher flurried often when Perez was squared up in front of him.
In the co-featured bout of the ESPN2 broadcast, veteran featherweight Cornelius Lock outpointed Lonnie Smith in a 10-round lightweight bout despite suffering two questionable knockdowns in rounds four and five.
Lock (21-6-1, 13 KOs), who won by scores of 97-91, 96-92 and 95-92, went down from a blocked shot in the fourth when his lead southpaw foot was tangled with Smith’s lead foot. He was “dropped” again when he was off balance and missed with a shot of his own in the fifth.
However, Lock, the far more polished and experienced fighter, was the busier and more accurate of the two. The 34-year-old Detroit native outlanded Smith 184-101 in total punches, 166-70 in power shots, according to CompuBox stats.
The two went toe-to-toe for much of the 10th round, a stanza that Smith (14-5-3, 10 KOs) was docked a point for spitting his mouth piece out for the fourth time during the bout.