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24 MAY 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Marc Livitz

Eloy Perez Interview

By: Marc Livitz: Undefeated super featherweight prospect Eloy “The Prince” Perez took part in a brief interview on Friday with SecondsOut. Perez (23(7)-0-2) of Salinas, California is scheduled to face the WBO super featherweight world champion, Adrien Broner, who is also undefeated (22(18-0).

The highly anticipated bout is part of the televised undercard for the Devon Alexander versus Marcos Maidana bout, which will take place on Saturday, February 25 in St. Louis, Missouri (HBO, 10PM ET / 7PM PT).

Perez began his professional career in Washington state and fought there exclusively from mid 2005 through early 2007, after which he relocated to west central California and settled in the city of Salinas. There he met the individuals whom he credits for much of his success in and out of the ring, trainer Max Garcia as well as his family. Perez is currently training in Oakland, CA. The fifteen minutes or so spent on the phone this afternoon was a pleasant one, as Eloy Perez was very candid and humble.

The interview began with questions over how his training camp was progressing in Oakland, to which he replied, “Great. Everything has been going to plan so far and I will be at my absolute best in a month’s time. Sparring has gone well and I am focused on the (Feb) 25th. I am always training and keeping active year round, although once the fight is done, I do take one week off at times to do whatever I like.”

Perez’s opponent on February 25th, Adrien Broner is recognized as a very powerful fighter, as he possesses an 82% knockout ratio in his 22 professional fights. Broner captured the vacant WBO super featherweight title last November by way of a third round knockout of Vicente Martin Rodriguez in Cincinnati, Ohio. Perez himself earned both the WBC USNBC as well as the WBO NABO super featherweight titles in separate victories in September and December of 2009, respectively. He also fought as an amateur over fifty times. Perez was asked what he thought of Broner and what challenges he would be facing once he steps into the ring in St. Louis. “He’s the champ for a good reason. Yes, he’s big, strong and fast, but no matter what, I can take and I will be prepared.”

The WBO super featherweight title has at times been held by such fighters as Oscar de la Hoya, the late Diego Corrales and Acelino Freitas. Eloy commented about joining up with the fraternity of these great boxers and what the championship would mean to him. “There’s been ups and downs, but as long as you are on the right track and continue to reach for the top, it’s all worth it. You understand that when you start something like this, you have to finish it. Yes, it would be a major accomplishment. It’s been a very long journey and your body changes, but you must keep on sacrificing to make it to the top.” With the exception of one bout in Oregon in 2008 and two fights in Las Vegas in 2010, Eloy Perez has fought his entire career in either Washington state or California.

All things considered, did Eloy have any worries about fighting outside of what may have been a comfort zone which he had established over the years? Perez was quick to dispel any such assumptions. “Yes, I’ve been happy with where I’ve been fighting, but I am prepared to fight anywhere. I know that I must adjust and this is what separates champs from contenders. You always need to focus on the prize”, Perez said.

Although Perez is clearly squared in on February 25th, opportunities are clearly present in the lightweight division (just five pounds north), where mainstays such as Juan Manuel Marquez as well as fairly new faces Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Brandon “ Bam Bam” Rios and Antonio DeMarco would await him. Perez has no immediate plans to make the jump just yet. “Honestly, I’d like to stay at 130 (lbs) to unify and clean out the division. I want to compete at that kind of level and I’ll move up eventually.” Eloy’s contest on February 25th will be the first time for many viewers to see him fight, as the bout is nationally televised. Perez acknowledged the HBO telecast would be a chance for him to showcase his talents for a large audience and looked forward to the confrontation that awaits him next month. “I know that this could be my one shot and I’m sure that I’ll give it my best. I’ve been training hard in the gym and I am prepared for a war”, said the super featherweight challenger.

Out of curiosity as a writer and a fight fan, I asked Eloy if he had any thoughts on the evening’s main event, which will see St. Louis native Devon Alexander face Marcos Maidana of Argentina. His answer assured this reporter that he is only worried about the fight which only involves him, as he replied, “Of course, I’m grateful to be on HBO. It’s a big chance and I intend to jump on it.”

Perez listed Shane Mosley as his favorite fighter and had nothing but words of high praise when asked to comment on the impact the Garcia family has had on his life. Eloy said, “The Garcias are great people. They got me to where I am and we are very close. Yes, we have our ups and downs, but we get through it. They have been a blessing. They have set very high standards and I’ll show the results of all of my hard work.”

One of the most inspirational yet somewhat unnoticed acts of kindness and companionship in the sports world has been Eloy’s friendship with nine year old Sy Sherman, who has been battling cancer. The two met last year and Eloy made him his honorary corner man (Sy is the official carrier of Perez’s championship belts). Perez spoke highly of his young friend and the feelings of encouragement that he exudes, as well as his current medical condition. “He’s doing good and always staying strong. There’s is no more chemo because the doctors can’t find the cancer. He’s a gladiator and he’s always smiling. He makes you feel that no matter what happens in your life, you can get through it. Nine yrs old is just too young to have to go through something like this. I was climbing trees at nine years old.”

Eloy Perez maintained his class and candor throughout the question and answer session today and he had the following statements to close the interview. “First off, many thanks to the Garcias for keeping us together as a team. I’ll be ready and focused on the 25th. We all pray for Sy and we’ll give it our best. I’d like to say thanks as well our nutritionist Linda Rodriguez and my publicist Rachel Charles”.

January 23, 2012

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