Photos by Sumio Yamada
HUGO CAZARES vs WILFRIDO PEREZ
Mexicos aggressive and hard-punching Hugo Cazares tops the bill at the MGM Grand the night before the De La Hoya-Mayweather showdown when he defends his WBO junior flyweight title against a little-known Colombian named Wilfrido Perez, who has won 23 and drawn three of his 27 bouts but is stepping up to a whole new level in the Telefutura Solo Boxeo main event.
Cazares, 29, is a difficult, dangerous opponent for anyone. He can box, fight and bang, and his constant switching from the orthodox to the southpaw stance can be confusing for the other man especially as the Mexican fights with equal adeptness from either side.
I have not seen Perez and nothing on his record gives a clue. There have been a couple of head-clash endings one hopes a collision will not result in an unsatisfactory termination to Fridays bout and he has been 12 rounds once.
Perhaps significant is the fact that Perez is moving up in weight from the 105-pound division to challenge for the title at 108, and three pounds can mean a lot at the bottom end of the weight divisions.
My first thoughts were that Cazares will blow out Perez, maybe not taking too much longer than the one round it took him to flatten Domingo Guillen last June.
However, my research shows me that Perez has a good amateur background: he lost to Ivan Calderon in the Americas Olympic qualifying tournament in Tampa, FL. A boxer with international amateur experience usually has sound technical ability. Whether Perez will be strong enough to hold off Cazares for very long is another matter.
The sportsbook lines I have seen on this fight have an over/under of 8.5 rounds with the under a big favourite. I think Cazares will stop Perez and I have a feeling this is probably a six-round fight, but without having seen the Colombian I cannot be sure. Colombia has turned out some excellent boxers in the lighter weight classes and Perez might be better than I am giving him credit for being. Still, if Perez goes as far as nine rounds I will be pleasantly surprised