By Robert Coster
Photo: Knockout Publicity
In only his second pro bout, Newark, NJ lightweight Michael Angelo Perez, then 18, was signed up by Golden Gloves Promotions. He had just destroyed Tommy Garcia in one round and impressed Bernard Hopkins, no less, who recommended him to Golden Boy. Remembers Hopkins, “I saw a lot of talent in that young man.” Now, almost three years later, Perez (11-0-1, 5 KOs) is getting ready to headline a Telefutura card in Lares, Puerto Rico on April 4th. “I’m born in Newark,” says Michael, “But my family is from Lares. Fans in Puerto Rico really know boxing and I’m training hard to impress my folks back home.”
Michael Perez turned pro after a scintillating amateur career that saw him win 110 out of 122 bouts, a National Golden Gloves title in 2008, two New Jersey Golden Gloves championships and being a member of the US national team. Talking about his amateurs days, Perez remembers that he lost his very first fight, “I was just a little kid and took it real hard. My dad, Jesus (his present manager), told me that I didn’t have to step back into the ring if I didn’t want to. I looked at him and asked: when is the rematch?”
This anecdote is very revealing of the kind of young man Michael is. Comments father Jesus, himself a former boxer, “Michael can box, he can bang. He’s a great body puncher and has a great jab. But, most of all, he is a fierce, gritty competitor.”
As for his plans for 2011, young Michael Angelo just hopes to get more TV exposure. His first appearance on Telefutura was in his sixth pro fight, looking impressive in beating Francisco Reyes who came to that fight with a (5-0) record.
Another noteworthy result in Perez’ s young career was a one round blowout of Colombian Hevinson Herrera (14-7-1), a boxer who had rumbled with world champions and contenders.
“I’m taking it one fight at a time. I train hard for every opponent. Being humble is a key to success in this game. I let Golden Boy and my dad guide my career. They know how fast they want to take me. My job is to train hard, fight and keep winning.”