LAS VEGAS — With a shot at top-10 featherweight contender Nicholas Walters looming on May 31, Alejandro Perez just had to fight a safe gameplan and stay out of harm's way in his main event Saturday night against Juan Carlos Martinez at Texas Station Hotel & Casino. Martinez, a compet journeyman used to taking fights on short notice, had other plans as he shocked Perez by winning a 10-round split decision over Perez.
Despite his bad looking record, Martinez (20-14-1, 7 KOs) came to fight, forcing Perez (19-4-1, 13 KOs) to brawl in an entertaining scrap that probably had his team uneasy with every exchange. Martinez came in off training with renowned trainer Joel Diaz while helping Timothy Bradley prepare for Manny Pacquiao. You don't get sparring much better than that.
"When you're used to fighting on a few weeks notice and you get a full training camp, it makes a world of difference," Joel Diaz told RingTV.com after the win.
"We knew Perez had a title shot setup, so I told [Top Rank matchmaker] Brad [Goodman], I'm gonna spoil your party, and that's what we did."
That training camp probably gave Martinez the confidence to move forward and trade with Perez, who at 126 is a fearsome puncher. Perez is far from being the most defensively adept fighter out there, which allowed Martinez to force a firefight. Though Perez landed the more telling blows early, Martinez got in his shots, too.
Perez saw a point deducted in the final round, but it prove irrelevant as two 96-93 scores in Martinez's favor overruled the 96-93 in favor of Perez.
2012 US Olympian Jose Ramirez (9-0, 7 KOs) of Avenal, Calif., took a round and a half to dispose of Kansas City's Boyd Henley. Henley (10-4-1, 9 KOs) was game but severely outgunned, ultimately getting stopped at 2:32 of the second.
Ramirez's next fight is on May 17 in Fresno, Calif., to which nearly 4,000 tickets were sold in the first day. That card also features Diego Magdaleno and will be televised on UniMas.
Returning to the ring for the first time since losing his titles to Juan Francisco Estrada last year in Macau, Brian Viloria looked a bit rusty as he won a ten round unanimous decision over unheralded Juan Herrera of Puerto Rico.
Viloria (33-4, 19 KOs) showed the effects of a long layoff, needing a few rounds to get things going. Viloria's accuracy began to pick up in the third, but defensively he allowed Herrera (9-8, 4 KOs) to land too many shots that were leapt in with. Viloria slowed down a bit down the stretch but Herrera wasn't the kind of opponent meant to push him in the late rounds. Scores were 98-92 twice and 97-93 for the former champion.
Unbeaten blue chip featherweight Toka Kahn-Clary impressively stopped the usually tough Chris Lopez of Tampa, Fla., in four rounds. Providence, R.I.'s Kahn-Clary (11-0, 8 KOs) didn't hesitate to trade with Lopez (7-2, 2 KOs), who came right at him. Kahn-Clary utilized his mobility to keep Lopez at the proper distance, ultimately dropping Lopez at the end of the third. Lopez was still badly hurt and was stopped after an unanswered barrage at 0:18 of round four.
Photo / Manny Murillo