Does Michael “The Artist” Perez have another run in him toward title contention? Is Marcelino Lopez a legit fighter with whom to be reckoned in the junior welterweight division?
These questions will be answered tonight as Perez and Lopez square off at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. The 10-round junior welterweight bout will headline a “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” telecast, which will air on ESPN2 (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
“True crossroads fights almost always spell high action because both fighters have so much to gain – and to lose,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “Both Perez and Lopez have achieved a lot in their careers but, to catapult themselves into title contention, each has to get a win here.”
Perez (24-2-2, 11 knockouts) was considered a lightweight contender at one time, having put together an unbeaten streak of 10 fights, including wins over Fidel Maldonado Jr., Miguel Acosta and Martin Honorio.
That streak was snapped in a title elimination bout in his most recent bout on Sept. 30, when he was stopped after the sixth round by two-division title challenger Petr Petrov.
On paper, Perez has faced the better opposition than Lopez, a fringe contender from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Lopez (32-1-1, 17 KOs) made his U.S. debut in his most recent bout in October of 2015, knocking out gatekeeper David Rodela in round three.
Lopez has won his last three bouts since suffering the only loss of his pro career at the hands of Pablo Martin Barboza in July of 2014.
Opening the ESPN2 telecast tonight will be a 10-round welterweight bout between unbeaten Rashidi Ellis and John Karl Sosa.
Ellis (17-0, 12 KOs), who resides in the Boston area, dropped fellow welterweight and Golden Boy Promotions stablemate Eddie Gomez twice before knocking him out in the opening round on Dec. 16.
Sosa (13-2, 6 KOs) last fought on May 20, losing to Gomez by unanimous decision over 10 rounds. The Caguas, Puerto Rico resident has lost his last two bouts.
The rest of the Golden Boy Promotions card will feature unbeaten prospects and fighters hoping to rebound from defeats in their previous fights.
Gomez (19-2, 11 KOs) will also appear in the ring tonight, when he will square off against Dennis Dauti (14-1, 7 KOs) of Greece in an eight-round welterweight bout.
Another fighter hoping to rebound from a recent defeat will be Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. Coming off a knockout loss to Sullivan Barrera on Dec. 16, Shabransky (17-1, 14 KOs) will face Larry Pryor (10-15, 5 KOs) in an eight-round cruiserweight bout.
Hard-hitting junior middleweight Travell Mazion (10-0, 10 KOs) faces Juan Jesus Rivera (28-17, 18 KOs) in a six round bout.
Opening the Golden Boy Promotions card will be a four-round bout between New York state light heavyweights Jimmy Garcia (4-0, 2 KOs) against Albert Tulley, who be making his pro debut.
ESPN3.com will live-stream the card in its entirety, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.
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