Eloy Perez (23-0-2) (7 KOs), a junior lightweight who fights out of California.
2. Why Should I care?
He makes his HBO debut this weekend in a title shot against Adrien Broner.
3. Why Have I Never Heard of Him?
Good question. Even though he is signed to Golden Boy Promotions (one of the big boys), Perez has not been promoted that aggressively by the company. In the early part of his career, he fought out of Washington State, which is neither an area known for producing high-quality fighters, nor a robust boxing media market. In recent bouts, he has appeared on smaller televised cards in the Greater San Francisco Bay area.
4. Who trains the kid?
Max Garcia, based out of Salinas, California (that's John Steinbeck country for you literary types). Garcia's son, Sam, also assists in training Perez.
5. What does he throw?
Perez, a fighter with a conventional stance, throws four punches: a left jab, a straight right, a left hook and a hybrid left hook/left uppercut.
6. Describe his ring style.
Perez likes to start out at mid-range. He explodes with quick two or three-punch combinations. After his flurries, he immediately retreats back to mid-range. He almost always starts with his left hand, which could be a jab, a double jab, a left hook or his hybrid punch. Perez has "plus" hand speed, as well as very good accuracy and punch placement. He keeps his punches very compact and doesn't overcommit with them. Perez does go to the body with his straight right hand and, occasionally, with his left hook. He is most comfortable leading. Perez is well conditioned and has already gone the distance in six ten-round fights. On defense, he is hard to hit cleanly, as he eludes punches by stepping back when his opponent presses forward.
7. What was his amateur background?
He was 53-5 as an amateur. He won two California Golden Gloves tournaments and was the 2004 Ringside World Champion at lightweight. Perez turned pro at 18 and didn't compete in/qualify for some of the larger international amateur tournaments.
8. Wasn't Perez a sparring partner of Shane Mosley?
Perez has been a fixture in the California gym circuit, appearing often at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles as well as other well-known gyms in the state. He has been a sparring partner for the likes of Mosley, Robert Guerrero, Urbano Antillon and many others.
9. I don't recognize too many names on his record. Who have been his best opponents?
The biggest "names" he has fought have been Daniel Jimenez and Roger Gonzalez. Jimenez had previously faced former champion Jesus Chavez and future titlist Roman Martinez, as well as one-time prospect Vicente Escobedo. Gonzalez had been a past opponent of Yuriorkis Gamboa and Jhonny Gonzalez. Dannie Williams has been the best prospect that Perez has fought. Williams dropped Perez twice but Perez, who also scored a knockdown, prevailed in a close decision.
10. I noticed that he has only seven knockouts. Does he have any power?
Although Perez knocked out his last two opponents (Ira Terry and Jimenez), KOs are not a big part of his game. He's not feather-fisted, but, to use baseball parlance, he hits a lot of doubles and rarely goes for the home run. He has enough sizzle on his punches to take opponents out of their game plans and dissuade them from attacking, but he lacks true one-punch knockout power.
11. Perez has draws with fighters who were 7-4-2 and 7-7-1, how good can he be if he can't beat boxers with such pedestrian records?
In the early part of his career, one knock on Perez was that he could be outhustled. Those draws, which were in 2006 and 2007, tempered Perez's prospect status. In fairness to Perez, he has become more aggressive as he has matured. There has not been any recent discussion that he has fought down to the level of his competition.
12. So what makes the kid special?
In many ways, Perez is similar to a fighter like Tim Bradley, where the total package is more than the sum of its parts. He's short (5'6''), he doesn't hit hard, he has good, not great, hand speed, but he keeps winning. He has a lot of intangibles that work in his favor:
- He knows what he wants to do in the ring.
- He is well trained and conditioned.
- He is very accurate with his punches.
- He understands his strengths and limitations.
- He's gotten better as he has progressed.
13. What are his weaknesses?
Perez often faces significant height and reach disadvantages. However, he has been able to overcome these shortcomings fairly well with his controlled bursts into fighting range. Perez does not like to counterpunch. Often, he will literally wait until his opponent stops throwing to start his offense. He'll make his opponent miss and then follow up with punches, but he doesn't counter in a traditional way. Perez will sometimes trade, banking that with his superior hand speed his punches will hit the target first. However, if Perez's opponent is first, he will then focus almost exclusively on defense. The concern here is that if Perez faces an active fighter with a high work rate, he won't let his hands go enough.
In addition, he could do more work inside. He is content to throw his punches and quickly get out of the trenches. Sometimes, he would be better served to stay inside and inflict more damage. At times, he could land five or six shots, but he sticks with two or three. These are opportunities missed. Also, if he is down on the scorecards, he can't count on power to erase deficits or get back into a fight.
14. So how will he do against Broner?
It depends on which Broner shows up. If Broner is aggressive and active, Perez will spend too much time and energy on defense. It will be difficult for Perez to win enough rounds in this scenario. If Broner decides to be a counterpuncher, Perez will be competitive. Perez's punches are short and fast; he's not an easy guy to be countered.
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