Eloy Perez, a 25-year-old prospect out of Salinas, Calif., is finishing up his training camp in Oxnard with Robert Garcia's team, putting the final touches on his preparation as he nears fight night and his shot at WBO super featherweight titlist Adrien Broner on February 25.
Perez and Broner, 22, will meet in the HBO co-feature beneath the welterweight battle between Marcos Maidana and Devon Alexander. Broner is considered the heavy favorite by most, but Perez feels that the defending titlist is actually scared of the fight. From Luis Sandoval at BoxingScene.com:
"I don’t think he’s underestimating me, I think he’s scared shitless. I haven’t tried to fight him back or talk shit back to him. We’ve come face to face a lot, I kept my mouth shut and looked him straight in his eyes and there was no eye contact. So I think he’s scared but he would never admit it."
Broner (22-0, 18 KO) is an Al Haymon client whose fights are being promoted by Golden Boy, and he's had his last three fights televised on HBO. He struggled last year to defeat Daniel Ponce De Leon, even with Ponce De Leon seemingly made for Broner as a slow, plodding, small brawler, but blew past fringe contender Jason Litzau and the overmatched Martin Rodriguez in his next two outings.
Perez (23-0-2, 7 KO) might be in sort of a make-or-break spot here; he's not been a highly-hyped prospect, though he's gotten plenty of smaller show TV work, and while he's never been that blue chip type, he's also been able to learn his craft against respectable fighters, and hasn't been fighting guys who flat-out can't fight, but rather decent journeymen for the most part over the last three years.
Broner is flashy and he demands attention, and as long as he wins he has potential star qualities (as much as a sub-welterweight can, anyway). He may very well blow away Perez, too; Broner has talent to burn and physical gifts that cannot be taught. But this is far more interesting on paper than his last two fights, and Perez won't be coming to roll over or get thrashed.