Photo courtesy of CARLOS BAEZA/Thompson Boxing
On Friday, January 9, 2015, WBC Interim Lightweight Champion Darleys Perez (31-1, 20 KOs) of Colombia faced off against Peruvian Lightweight contender, Jonathan Maicelo (21-1, 12 KOs), on the season premiere of ESPN‘s “Friday Night Fights.”
The 12-round bout, which was held at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ines, California, featured two hungry fighters looking to take the next step towards a major world title fight.
Maicelo came out putting the pressure on early in Round 1, but he ate a big left hook midway through the round as he tried to pull straight back out of the pocket.
While Maicelo was wobbled a bit, he took a deep breath and immediately launched his own big right which found a home on Perez’s chin.
In Round 2 Maicelo came out relying heavily on his jab, showing off a lot of movement and athleticism. Perez maintained his patience and banked on good timing to clip Maicelo with some good counters.
A pattern began to form in Round 3 as Maicelo repeatedly pulled his head straight back, with his hands held low, giving Perez the opportunity to take advantage and land clean counter punches.
By Round 5 it was clear that Maicelo–who lost by knockout in his first Friday Night Fights appearance to Rustam Nugaev–had learned from his first loss to not try and load up on every single punch. That was about the only good news for Maicelo, though. What he didn’t learn ended up haunting him for the majority of the fight.
The pace of the fight visibly changed in Round 6 as Perez began to stalk Maicelo and press the action. Where Perez was content with countering for the better part of the first five rounds, Round 6 saw Perez leading and being more aggressive. Maicelo’s face showed off some bruising and swelling as he ate hard counters with more frequency.
Even when Maicelo strung together some good offensive stretches, he continued falling back to his habit of leaving his gloves down by his waist. Unfortunately for Maicelo, the poor technique and lack of a tight guard caught up with him as he ate some huge punches that sent him to the canvas in Round 11.
— Félix Paz (@fpaz12) January 10, 2015
Showing his toughness, Maicelo beat the count and survived the rest of the fight. While the bout seemed to be a little closer, the judges did award the fight to the correct man. Perez won by scores of 118-109, 118-108 and 120-107 to retain his title.