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[Previous entry: "Luciano Perez Heads Weigh-In Results for Tonight's 'Night of Fire' Fights!"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "'Hooters' Hosts Press Conference, Joining Boxing Legends and Future Champs!"]

03/12/2005 Archived Entry: "Perez Endures--and Dishes Out--‘Night of Fire’ in Bloody Split Draw with Jones!"

Perez Endures--and Dishes Out--‘Night of Fire’ in Bloody Split Draw with Jones!

By Juan C. Ayllon

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Jones holds a surging Perez desperate to knock him out (Mike
Coletto photo)

CICERO, ILLINOIS – Depending on how you viewed it, popular welterweight knockout artist Luciano “El Gallo Bravo” Perez (148.5 lbs., 12-1-0, 11 KO’s) either dodged a bullet, got gypped or did just fine in garnering an exciting, split decision draw against fast and slippery Robert Lewis Jones, Jr. (150 lbs., 6-1-0, 2 KO’s) in front of a raucous and appreciative crowd at the Concordia Theatre. A very close and hard fought battle, Perez threw the harder and more hurtful blows, while Jones landed the greater preponderance of punches. Thus, cases could be made for each point of view. It was that close.

According to promoter Dominic Pesoli, Jones was a last minute substitute when, two days before the fight, Perez’ scheduled opponent, Germaine Sanders, dropped out due to illness. Pesoli added, "Luciano was sick, too, but he still fought." Fortunately, Pesoli said, Jones “…was training for a fight in Las Vegas next week,” and picked up the fight.

Clearly, Jones trained well, as in round one, he appeared to do enough to win the round by out-boxing, with wispy, snake-like jabs and several crisp right hands while Perez mainly stalked, missing several cumbersome swings to the head.

In round two, Jones landed some sharp rights over the top. Bleeding from a cut high on his scalp—apparently suffered from a clash of heads in round one—Perez sought to pound his faster adversary into oblivion. As the round came to a close, Perez rocked Jones with a couple raking blows, the right probably doing the brunt of the damage. Jones held on and survived.

In round three, the two showed more respect for one another. Both landed hard rights, with Perez rocking Jones a couple of times, but Jones holding well.

Round four saw action in spurts, but those spurts were further and further apart as Perez seemed somewhat reluctant to press matters, as Jones was quick to counter over the top with jabs and fast right hands. Perez scored the heavier blows, but Jones appeared, once again, to land more.

In round five, Luciano landed a thudding right and movements later Jones countered with a sharp right hand of his own. Perez tore into him with both fists, forcing a brawl. Jones landed another a big right. Defiantly, Luciano dropped his hands and invited an exchange. Jones responded with gusto, bouncing hard lefts and rights off Perez’ head. This merely provoked Perez, as the two exchanged in close, in a give and take battle. The edge in power belonged to Perez, but again, speed and volume belonged to Jones.

Jones nodded his head to Luciano as round six began. Jones danced and peppered. Growing increasingly confident, Jones rolled his head, loosened up and went to work. Circling and moving side to side, he played matador to Perez’ bull. Catching Perez coming in, he landed a right that knocked Perez a couple steps back. Perez landed a big right, but Jones took it well. To the silent disappointment of the crowd, Perez was being out-sped, out-punched and out-boxed. Moreover, a slight swelling on the ridge of his brow over his left eye was growing from the right hand punches he was taking to the head.

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Jones (L) ties up Perez

In the seventh round, Perez pressed forward with a heightened sense of urgency. He landed a jarring right to the head that forced Jones to clinch. As the two wrestled in close, Perez tossed Jones to the ground. The ref ruled it a slip. After action resumed, Perez landed a big right along the ropes. Attacking, Perez landed another big right. At rings center, the two fought in close, with Perez rocking Jones with yet another concussive right to the head. Following him to the ropes, Perez was most effective, landing another clubbing right over the top and tearing in with both fists. He landed a short uppercut to Jones’ chin as the bell rang.

As the eighth and final round got underway, Perez landed some very heavy rights. Both bled profusely from the head—Perez from the deep cut on his scalp and Jones from a deep gash over his left brow—as Perez steamrolled forward and Jones receded. Perez landed about three heavy rights as he surged to finish matters on the ropes. The crowd roared lustily as Jones sought to smother the heavy incoming blows and held for dear life as Perez surged. Perez landed a right uppercut that appeared to stagger Jones. Scores were 77-75 Perez, 78-74 Jones and 76-76 for a split draw.

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Luciano Perez and Robert Lewis Jones pose for the camera following their split decision

Asked how he felt afterwards, Perez said, “Okay…so-so. Ever since the first round, when I got cut with a head butt, I didn’t feel right. I felt a little dizzy, no power. But, I’m okay.”

World-class cut man—as well as fight manager—Jim Strickland said, “That fight was wild! I thought that this kid [Perez] did enough to win, though. This is pro boxing. You score more for effective punches. You score some points for aggression, too. This isn’t amateur boxing where you simply score on number of punches landed for points. That’s the way pro boxing is: landing the more effective punches. The number of punches thrown were close enough that his [Perez’] blows—the more damaging blows—should have won him the fight.”

Fighter Kenneth Kingsley, who fought earlier in the evening, said, “Jones should have won; they don’t know how to judge. Maybe they [Perez' team] won two rounds. Jones got screwed.”

8 Count Publicist Bernie Bahrmasel was more philosophical, saying, “They both fought their hearts out; they both deserved to win. So, maybe that’s not so bad.”

Exciting light heavyweight John Roman William (177.5 lbs., 14-5-0, 7 KO’s) stopped gutsy Ron Krull (178 lbs., 6-20-0, 5 KO’s) in two rounds.

In round one, the shorter—and shorter-armed—Krull showed why five of his six victories resulted in knockouts with a sharp, looping right hand that landed with some impact, while William proved the better and busier boxer behind a quick jab and sharp combinations of his own. Starting out conservatively, William landed a hard right uppercut in close towards rounds end as he began dominating the fight.

Round two appeared to become a glorified target practice for William, although Krull kept him honest with occasional hard right hands that landed with a respectable whallop. However, this only forestalled the inevitable.

William knocked Krull down with a hard right to the head. Dropping to one knee, he made it up. William landed a hard right to the body that visibly pained Krull. Then peppered with both hands. A hard right dropped Krull to his knees. Moments later after the ref examined him in a corner, the fight was stopped at 2:53 into round two.

Middleweight Ottu Holifield (159.5 lbs., 2-0-0) started out slowly, but dominated rugged and thick limbed John L. Vaughn (158.5 lbs., 4-3-0, 3 KO’s) over four rounds.

Wearing camouflage trunks and wooly hair tied back to complement his style, rough and tumble fighter Vaughn previously gave Shay Mobley a good fight in 2004 and looked to school upcoming Holifield. In round one, Vaughn hit and ran, confusing Holifield, who had a difficult time cutting off the ring. As the round wore on, Holifield began connecting with jabs and some power punches in the last third of the round as Vaughn slowed down.

The two traded fairly evenly at the beginning of round two. Then, Holifield asserted his jab and mixed power punches with increasingly good effect. Holifield landed a big overhand right after a series of hard jabs and finished the round strongly with some heavy uppercuts—which landed with good effect as Vaughn leaned in—for good measure.

In round three, Vaughn looked to bulrush and mug Holifield with rough swinging tactics, but appeared to tire as Holifield picked him apart with a disciplined game of jabs, straight lefts, rights and uppercuts.

In round four, Holifield landed a jarring right uppercut that drew a roar from the crowd; he continued to potshot the aggressive Vaughn with short uppercuts, rights and spearing jabs. The decision was never in doubt as the judges scored the bout 40-36 all for Ottu Holifield.

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Al Gonzales and his girlfriend at ringside

In between fights, junior welterweight prospect Al “Speedy” Gonzales stopped by at ringside and announced that several notable fighters were interested in hiring him as a sparring partner. He said, “Winky Wright wants me to be his sparring partner for his next fight…Kostya Tszyu also wants me to spar...that’s what Albert and Pat told me. Kostya Tszyu said I could fight on his under card…not bad!” Gonzales has a tentative bout set up on Showbox versus abrasive and undefeated Paul Malignaggi this summer. However, Al said the contracts were yet to be signed.

Popular Francisco Rodriguez (125.5 lbs., 1-0-0, 1 KO) made short work of Chris Rivera (127.5 lbs., 0-10-0) stopping him in the first round.

Rivera started off very aggressively, rushing Rodriguez and swinging hard with both hands. However, Rodriguez covered carefully and countered with efficiency. In short order, Rivera suffered a delayed knockdown from a left hook. Moments later, he dropped in a heap from a hard right. The fight was waved off at 43 seconds into round one.

Debuting junior middleweight Gabriel Navarro (151 lbs., Pro debut) stopped Kenneth Kingsley (0-1-0) in one round.

Eschewing the formality of a left jab, Navarro immediately launched a ponderous looping right hand that missed as Kingsley ducked under. Moments later, Kingsley returned the favor, also missing. For the brief remainder of the bout, Navarro’s offense consisted largely of similarly launched single right hands, as Kingsley did his best to counter and avoid the incoming. Navarro landed a hard, looping right hand that put Kingsley down hard. Rising, Kingsley was in no condition to continue and the referee stopped the contest at 1:35 into round one.

Emmanuel (Manny) “Pantera” Hernandez (141 lbs., 2-1-0) decisioned Alejandro Lozano (139.5 lbs., 0-2-0) in an entertaining scrap over four rounds.

Pressing forward aggressively behind a steady flow of hooks to head and body, Hernandez found his taller adversary a bit more difficult than expected perhaps in round one, as he caught a handful of sharp right hands to the head. He drew a nasty cut on his left eye from a clash of heads. Surging forward, he landed a big right that rocked Lozano, who tied up immediately.

Manny remained the effective aggressor in round two, finally rocking Lozano at about two minutes into the round behind a series of rights and lefts, forcing Lozano to hold as Hernandez trapped him on the ropes.

In round three, Lozano looked to turn things around. After getting rocked on the ropes, Lozano shook his head as if to say “No, you didn’t hurt me,” and launched some sharp right hands of his own. Still, the greater preponderance of blows belonged to Hernandez.

Lozano continued landing well in spots, whereas Hernandez remained the busier of the two, constantly pressing forward. One could hear his heightened breathing from ringside as, like The Little Engine that Could, he willed his tiring body to turn it up several notches as he made an assault on the final summit—round four’s conclusion, swinging hard and consistently with both hands as the round ended. The crowd was appreciative of his efforts, roundly cheering him as the bout concluded. The judges scored the bout 40-36 thrice for Manny “Pantera” Hernandez.

All in all, “Night of Fire” proved to be a thoroughly entertaining affair. In addition, an “after party” hosted by Dominic Pesoli in the lower quarters of the Concordia Theatre provided a nice denouement for fans and compadres alike to wind down before heading out into the cold, wintry night.

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Dr. James Stoxen, a sports doctor and chiropractor whose clientelle includes a veritable
"Who's Who" list of boxers and other athletes in Chicagoland, visits with a friend at ringside

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Al Gonzales with Juan C. Ayllon at ringside

Lead photo by Mike Colletto; others by Juan C. Ayllon--with exception of the last
photo above; it was taken by Al's girlfriend!

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