Featherweight veteran Alejandro Perez has earned his spot the hard way.
Lightly regarded through the early stages of his career, it wasn’t until the Salinas, Calif. native endured a few defeats before he began to find himself as a fighter.
A mesmerizing one-round knockout of former touted prospect Antonio Escalante in March of 2011 had him hopeful momentum was swinging his way. Instead, it forced a label of being a dangerous, high-risk, low-reward type fighter. That led to only getting offers to fight at 130 pounds despite Perez being at his best at 126 pounds.
After stringing together a couple of victories over fringe contender Art Hovhannisyan and spoiler Derrick Wilson, Perez (19-3-1, 13 knockouts) got a call from Top Rank. He signed with the Las Vegas-based company last year. Now almost 10 years into his career as a pro, Perez is the house fighter rather than the “opponent.”
Saturday, Perez has a stay busy fight against Juan Carlos Martinez in Las Vegas at Texas Station Casino, televised by UniMas. Should he get through it without a hitch, a shot awaits against unbeaten and largely unknown contender Nicholas Walters on May 31. The bout is projected to take place in Macau on the same bill topped by Nonito Donaire’s challenge to WBA featherweight titleholder Simpiwe Vetyeka.
The turmoil Perez endured early on in his career helped build toughness and experience at a stage when many young fighters are coasting against listless opponents.
“It was really difficult at the beginning because I had no promoter working with me by my side,” Perez told RingTV.com after putting in a workout at Hollywood’s famed Wild Card Boxing Club.
“I had to be ready at all times no matter what, day or night, rain or shine, because they could have called me at any moment. I always tried to stay positive with a good mentality and no matter what, keep pushing forward.”
Arreola camp opens Tuesday in San Diego
Prior to his important bout against Seth Mitchell last September, heavyweight contender Chris Arreola and his team took off for Scottsdale, Ariz., for training camp, choosing to get away from the distractions that came with training at home.
What resulted was a one-round shellacking of the former footballer in a Showtime-televised main event. Arreola and his trainer Henry Ramirez did nothing but rave about how good their camp was in Arizona.
Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) faces Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) in a rematch on May 10 for the vacant WBC heavyweight crown at USC’s Galen Center. Arreola’s team was unable to secure lodging in Arizona this time around and will instead open up camp on Tuesday in San Diego, Calif.
Arreola and stablemate Josesito Lopez will train at the House of Boxing gym, Ramirez told RingTV.com on Monday. Lopez faces Aaron Martinez on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights on Apir 24 as he looks to get back into the mix for a big fight.
San Diego is less than two hours from the Riverside area where problems often plagued Arreola while he got ready for fights. The popular Mexican heavyweight had a hard time staying away from friends and good times, which is why Ramirez set up shop five hours away in Scottsdale.
With such an important fight just around the bend, one wonders whether or not Arreola’s focus will drift. Though San Diego is still a bit of a drive from familiarity, it is an area known for being a good time.
Hopefully, Arreola avoids those good times and instead focuses on the task at hand. Time is running out for the 33-year-old contender and another misstep could end his dream of becoming the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent.
Ramirez sells 3,600 tickets on first day for May 17 fight
2012 US Olympian Jose Ramirez sold 3,600 tickets the first day they became available ahead of his headlining bout on May 17 in Fresno, Calif., at the Selland Arena.
Despite a record consisting of less than 10 professional bouts, Ramirez (8-0, 6 KOs) has proven to be a hot commodity in the central California region where he grew up. Ramirez fights on Saturday in Las Vegas on the same bill as Alejandro Perez, but May 17 will mark his first appearance as a headliner.