Versus the likes of Wilson and Hovhannisyan, Perez was brought in as the underdog by promoters who had no attachment to him. This weekend, he faces Riovalle (a journeyman with a record of 35-14-2 with 25 stoppages) in a fight that is designed for him not only to win but to make him look good. These opportunities simply don’t come along unless you have a promoter behind you willing to invest in these types of cards.
“It’s very tough, to a point where my trainer and myself, we’ve been doing it on our own,” lamented Perez, 17-3-1 (11). “Looking for fights here or looking for fights over there. Me, actually becoming the opponent for other fighters that they want to put up. Consequently, they haven’t made it past me.”
Perez understood that as he went into these bouts, the cards were stacked against him. He wasn’t brought in there to win but through it all, he remained undeterred after decision losses to the likes of Rico Ramos and Diego Magdaleno.
“Myself, I always keep my mind set on what I want. I’m a person, besides being a fighter, who always finishes what he starts and never takes his finger off what his goal is. So my goal is to become something in this sport, meaning world champion one day, and I’m just staying focused, always in the gym. Every day, you’ll see me in the gym,” he says.
An interested observer of Perez’s last two bouts was Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman, who got in touch with him after his victory over Hovhannisyan. Perez may not be a world-beater but he’s an honest grinder who usually makes for good television with his come-forward style. Goodman believes he’s the type of boxer who gives you quality rounds regardless of who he faces.
The matchmaker says, “The funny thing is I’ve always had a good relationship, even when he was fighting on Golden Boy [Promotions] shows and Gary Shaw shows. I would always text him and wish him luck and all that. We’ve always had a very, very good relationship in the sense it was more of a friendship than a business. So we have a lot of respect for each other and he knows I’m a fan of his and now that he’s with Top Rank, the whole key is to keep winning and capitalize on a big fight.”
Perez actually had a short-lived relationship with Top Rank back in 2004 as he turned professional out of Salinas, California. “I’m very excited. I’ve always been a fan of his even before we signed him the first time around and I think he’s just a very, very capable guy that can compete at a very high level at 126 or 130,” said Goodman, who added, “but hopefully, this time around, everything works out for the best. Saturday night is going to be a good fight and he knows each and every fight, starting from Saturday, is going to be bigger and better than the next one.”
One thing that Perez yearns for is a busier schedule. After sitting out all of 2010, he fought twice in 2011 and performed just once in 2012. This outing at the Hollywood Park Casino will be his the second of 2013.
“Most definitely,” stated Perez. “That’s something we came up in agreement with. Just stay more active. That’s something they’re looking into because they know that’s what I need: more activity.”
Perez is as hard-working a boxer as you’ll ever see. It’s not uncommon to see him back at the gym just a few days after he fights. The problem has been that his paid outings have been so rare in recent years. In short, he was a professional sparring partner whose best years were wasted away in the gym.
Goodman promises, “He’s going to fight again in October or something, then, maybe if he’s lucky, in December. It’s very possible he can fight two more times by the end of the year. But it’s not really about activity or anything like that. He’s the kind of guy that fits in. Not calling out names or anything like that - but obviously he is the opponent - but if Nonito Donaire moves up to 126, he’s the kind of guy that fits into these plans. Now, it’s up to him to go out there and do it. It’s a big fight, Nonito’s a great fighter but these are the kind of opportunities that Top Rank can give to [Perez]. Now it’s up to him to capitalize.”
The victory over Hovhannisyan was for the NABO junior lightweight title but you get the sense Perez’s optimum weight class is featherweight.
“I can make 126,” Perez insisted. “This next fight will be at 130. I feel great right now. I feel a big change and I feel really good. I’m having no trouble making weight. So after this fight, we’ll talk to our promoter and see what we come up with. We’ll either move down to 126 or stay at 130. We’ll see.”
Either way, Perez believes his career has new life.
“Most definitely, I can say I’m reborn. Alejandro Perez’s new chapter has begun.”
Top Rank, which has pay-per-view cards coming up on October 12th in Las Vegas (when Juan Manuel Marquez faces Tim Bradley) and November 23rd in Macao (when Manny Pacquiao returns against Brandon Rios), is starting to fill out some of their undercard slots.
The fight for the vacant WBO featherweight title between Orlando Salido and Orlando Cruz will end up on the Bradley-Marquez card. Then the bout between Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade for the vacant WBO junior middleweight crown will take place in support of Pacquiao vs. Rios.
Here’s the latest edition of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly (and our apologies for the technical snafus - which you can blame on Skype).
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