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Head to head: Agbeko vs. Perez

29
Oct

JOSEPH AGBEKO vs. YONNHY PEREZ

When: Saturday, Oct. 31

Where: Treasure Island, Las Vegas, Nev.

TV: Showtime, 9 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. PT (delayed)

Weight: Bantamweight (118 pounds)

Title(s) at stake: Agbeko’s bantamweight title

Also on the card: Antonio DeMarco vs. Jose Alfaro, 12 rounds, for vacant WBC interim lightweight title; Ray Austin vs. DaVarryl Williamson, 12 rounds, heavyweights.

AGBEKO

The essentials

Age: 29

Height / Reach: 5-5¾ (166 cm) / 65¾ (166cm)

Hometown: Bronx, New York (from Accra, Ghana)

Turned pro: 1998

Record: 27-1 (22 knockouts)

Trainer: Adama Eddy

Fight-by-fight: http://www.boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=22761&cat=boxer

The Ring rating: No. 4 bantamweight

Titles: Bantamweight (2007-present)

Biggest victories: Luis Alberto Perez, Sept. 29, 2007, TKO 7 (wins title); William Gonzalez, Dec. 11, 2008, MD 12 (retains title); Vic Darchinyan, July 11, 2009, UD 12 (retains title).

Only loss: Wladimir Sidorenko, May 18, 2004, MD 12

PEREZ

The essentials

Age: 30

Height / reach: 5-7 (170 cm) / 68 (173 cm)

Hometown: Santa Fe Springs, Calif. (from Cartagena, Colombia)

Turned pro: 2005

Record: 19-0, 14 KOs

Trainer: Danny Zamora

Fight-by-fight: http://www.boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=324300&cat=boxer

The Ring rating: No. 5 bantamweight

Titles: None.

Biggest victory: Silence Mabuza, May 29, 2009, TKO 12 (title eliminator).

Losses: None.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Skills: Despite their high knockout percentages, both Agbeko and Perez are essentially boxers who look to set up their power punches. Perez does so with better technique and fundamentals than Agbeko, who relies more on timing and athleticism to land his shots. All of Perez’s punches are delivered with textbook form. The Colombian also defends well with his high guard.
Edge: Perez

Power: Both fighters possess heavy hands. Perez’s power comes from his physical strength and technique. Agbeko’s power is more the result of his quick-twitch muscles. The Ghanaian is the more explosive of the two.
Edge: Agbeko

Speed and athletic ability: If Perez has a weakness, it’s his lack of speed and mobility. Agbeko, on the other hand, is very strong in this category. His energetic style is complimented by quick reflexes, very good hand speed and excellent hand-eye coordination.
Edge: Agbeko

Defense: One of the drawbacks of Agbeko’s aggressive style and athleticism is that he tends to get carried away with his offense, and in doing so, he often leaves himself open to counter punches. When boxing from a distance, Agbeko is able to avoid punches with his upper-body movement. Once he commits to launching his own attack, though, he often lunges forward and into his opponent’s shots. Perez is a more reserved boxer-puncher. He keeps his hands up and seldom over-commits with his offense. He’s also a very economical puncher, which reduces the opportunity to counter him.
Edge: Perez

Experience: Agbeko, a 10-year pro, has nine more pro bouts than Perez, a pro for only four years. However, their experience level is very close due to the titleholder’s inactivity (he didn’t fight at all in 2005 and 2006) and the Colombian challenger’s extensive amateur career. However, Agbeko has fought at least three world-class contenders (Wladimir Sidorenko, Luis Perez and Vic Darchinyan), while Perez has only faced one (Silence Mabuza).
Edge: Agbeko

Chin: Both fighters sport solid whiskers as neither has ever been down in the pro ranks. Agbeko’s chin, which survived the best shots of southpaw sluggers Luis Perez and Darchinyan, is slightly more battle tested.
Edge: Agbeko

Conditioning: Both bantamweights are ultra-dedicated gym rats who literally have to be held back by their trainers in order to prevent them from overtraining. Both have proven the ability to fight hard, fast-paced 12-round bouts, and both have come on strongly in the final rounds of such fights.
Edge: Even

Wear and tear: Neither fighter has ever taken a beating in the ring, but both push their bodies very hard in training and have absorbed a degree of punishment in their bouts against veterans (Oscar Andrade for Perez; William Gonzalez for Agbeko) and world-class fighters (Mabuza for Perez; Darchinyan for Agbeko). Agbeko, however, has more years as a pro, more pro rounds and more pro fights under his belt than Perez.
Edge: Perez

Corner: Both fighters have young, underrated trainers guiding them into Saturday’s fight. Both Agbeko’s trainer, Adama Eddy, and Perez’s coach, Danny Zamora, make sure their fighters always show up in tip-top shape (but never over-trained) and are equipped with a solid game plan.
Edge: Even

Outcome: Although Agbeko was impressive in his last fight, against Darchinyan, fans haven’t seen the best of the Ghanaian in recent months because his last three opponents have been southpaws. Agbeko should start fast with blazing combinations that we didn’t see in his recent bouts. The titleholder’s hand speed, upper-body movement and in-and-out movement will enable him to out-hustle Perez in the early rounds. However, Perez’s tight defense and counter-punching ability will keep the fight competitive and spare him serious damage. By the middle rounds, the challenger will begin to time Agbeko’s aggressive (sometimes wild) lunges with textbook straight rights followed by compact left hooks. Don’t be surprised if Perez stuns or wobbles Agbeko during one of their mid-to-late rounds exchanges. Agbeko’s heart and conditioning will enable him to survive any scare and the final rounds of the bout will be fought toe-to-toe, either in the center of the ring or with Perez’s back to the ropes. Even if Perez does back up, he will do so intelligently and effectively. The Colombian knows how to box in retreat and how to fight off the ropes with economical efficiency. Perez will land the cleaner punches down the stretch of a terrific 12-round fight.

Prediction: Perez wins a close (perhaps majority or split) decision in a minor upset.

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