Bantamweight contender and ex-titleholder Yonnhy Perez has decided to retire from boxing after 11 months out of the ring following back-to-back losses, according to Espinoza Boxing manager Frankie Espinoza Jr on Twitter:
"Former Bantamweight World Champion Yonnhy Perez has decided to retire from boxing. ... It was a difficult decision for him to make. ... Yonnhy doesn't have that desire to fight anymore. Been boxing for many years. Burnt out."
Perez (20-2-1, 14 KO) came onto the world scene in 2009, when he stormed back and stopped longtime bantamweight contender Silence Mabuza on Mabuza's turf in South Africa, earning a shot at the IBF title then held by Joseph Agbeko. That fight happened five months later, and the two of them put on quite a show on Halloween night, with Perez pulling the minor upset and landing his first -- and last -- major title, live on Showtime.
In May 2010, Perez met undefeated young prospect Abner Mares, again on Showtime, and thankfully the two stole the show the night of the rather regrettable fourth fight between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez. Perez and Mares went to a draw in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, with the fight legitimizing Mares as a threat at 118 pounds.
The tough fights just kept coming for Yonnhy, as he entered into Showtime's four-man tournament alongside Mares, Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan. Perez rematched Agbeko in the first round, with the fight almost a complete reverse of their first bout. Once again, they were competitive the whole way, with a lot of action, but this time it was Agbeko who came away the clear victor.
In the tournament's third-place bout, and now the final fight of Yonnhy Perez's career, he truly looked physically exhausted, and perhaps mentally exhausted, too. Darchinyan blew his doors off over five rounds, before the fight was halted on a cut and sent to a technical decision. Darchinyan had floored Perez in the second round, and it just was not the closely contested fight we all expected it to be. Perez looked second-rate in there with Armenia's "Raging Bull," and not at all like himself. (Video Highlights)
Now 33, the tough Colombian has decided that enough is enough. If he stays retired -- and in boxing it's always a big "if" -- then he leaves the sport with his health, and hopefully with his happiness and some money. That stretch he had from Mabuza through Darchinyan was as tough a five-fight run of opponents as you're going to find nowadays, and he earned his money out there.
For more on Yonnhy Perez, and more than just the boxing side, I truly recommend you read the April 2011 interview that Luke Thomas did for us.
If you could talk to Colombians, both here in the United States and in Colombia, who've never seen you compete about your fight against Vic Darchinyan, what would tell you them? Why should they pay attention to you?
Perez: I would like to tell them that when we come to this country, we come with dreams of a better life for our families and us, looking for opportunities and growth, something that unfortunately we lack in parts of our homeland. We have to take advantage of every single chance that have (and be thankful with God), and give everything from us, in order to achieve all the goals that we set and moreover, provide a better future to our families and children.
I asked this before, but I want to ask another way. It's one thing to be a Colombian icon for selfish reasons and another for matters of national pride. In terms of the latter, why is that something you care about?
Perez: This is really important because Colombians have something of a negative image around the world. I'm very glad that I'm known as 'The Colombian' because because that way I can show that in Colombia there are great talents, athletes and more importantly, loving and caring human beings.
Happy trails, Yonnhy.