By Jason Pribila: Alejandro Perez has spent much of the last two years training at the Wild Card gym waiting for the call from an opposing promoter looking for his services to be an opponent. Much of the time at the gym had been spent sparring against friend Art Hovhannisyan. Eventually Perez got a call, and to his surprise it was an offer to face his friend.
Perez had twice fought on ShoBox, and each time he fought well, but not well enough to earn a decision. Unfortunately, he may have fought too well and became too risky for opponents looking for softer touches to pad their records. On Friday night at the Morongo Casino Resort in Cabazon, Perez illustrated why he has been avoided.
In order to secure a televised bout Perez had to move up to junior lightweight, and face a man he considered a good friend. Hovhannisyan had yet to taste defeat as a professional, and was looking toward a potential title shot by the end of the year. The ShoBox series is notorious for foiling fighters best laid plans.
Usually when fighters are matched up against familiar foes, we either get chess matches, or fights that seem to pick up mid-flight. On Friday we got the former. Perez went against form and began the bout by out-boxing Hovhannisyan from the outside.
Perez was docked a point for a low blow in round five. The deduction seemed to bring a sense of urgency and he became the aggressor. Hovhannisyan soon found success playing the role of matador. He took a step back and landed counter shots at the charging Perez. Several close rounds went by, and the bout’s outcome would be determined by whether or not judges favored the fighter who was coming forward.
When the judges’ cards of 96-93, 95-94, and 96-93 were read, Perez (17-3-1, 11 KO) had the biggest win of his career. Hopefully he could parlay this win into another meaningful bout this spring. Hovhannisyan falls to 15-1-2 (8 KO). His wedding plans in Armenia will likely move forward, but his title hopes in America have been temporarily derailed.