By: Eric Lunger
The MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD, was the venue for Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN this evening, and featured undefeated prospect Lamont Roach, Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) in a ten-round super featherweight bout against Filipino Rey Perez (21-8, 6 KOs). Roach, 22, the hometown Maryland fighter with an extensive amateur background, brought a technical and polished style into the ring. Perez, a determined and veteran orthodox fighter, was making his debut in the United States.
Undefeated Super Featherweight prospect Lamont Roach, Jr. (Right) lands a right hand en route to a unanimous decision victory over Rey Perez (Left) on November 30, 2017 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Round one was a professional feeling-out round with Roach landing the more effective jabs. In the second, Perez erupted with a body attack in the latter half of the round. While Roach caught a lot of the punches on his arms, Perez let Roach know he came to compete. In the third, the poised and patient Roach landed several good combinations, bringing the crowd to life. The fourth saw Roach’s hand speed and accuracy start to dictate the direction of the fight, and forcing Perez to keep his hands at home. In the middle rounds, Roach’s skill level began to really show, allowing him to catch Perez with consistent power shots. Game and none daunted, Perez continued to come forward but the punches were taking their toll.
The seventh round erupted with some fierce exchanges in the last thirty seconds, but the Filipino took the majority of the damage. In the late rounds, despite the pressure of fighting in front of his home fans, Roach remained poised and professional, fighting behind his jab and show a full kit of offensive tools. It was an impressive, elite level performance by Roach against a tough and gritty Perez. The judges scored it unanimously nine rounds to one for Roach.
In the co-main event, Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez (19-1, 14 KOs) took on Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia in a ten-rounder at the super featherweight limit. Lopez, 23, is five-foot-nine, tall and rangy with good knockout power. Fighting out of an orthodox stance, Lopez is aggressive and prone to taking risks in the ring. Sparrow, also 23, was the less experienced fighter, and taking on Lopez presented a significant challenge.
Sparrow started fast, throwing a jab on differing planes and seeking to land a wide right around Lopez’s high guard. Lopez, for his part, remained patient and content to take the measure of his opponent. The Puerto Rican fighter was more active in the second, but Sparrow’s activity and awkward style forced Lopez to keep his hands home. Sparrow’s offense came to life in the fourth round, landing two straight rights and a good left hook. Lopez was still unable to time Sparrow or combat his dipping head movement.
Round six was Sparrow’s best, with his confidence and ring showmanship growing with each successful combination. His movement, his jab, his aggression, his shoulder roll defense – all were too much for Lopez, who could not find the necessary adjustments in the ring. Despite the deficit in experience, it was Sparrow who put on a clinic, and Lopez who looked confused and tentative. After a full ten rounds, the judges saw it 96-94, 96-94, 97-93 unanimously for the Philadelphia fighter, Avery Sparrow.
The undercard featured Manuel Avila (22-1, 8 KOs) taking on Diuhl Olguin (11-8-3, 9 KOs) of Mexico in an eight-round featherweight bout. Avila, fighting out of Vallejo, CA, was looking to bounce back after his first defeat last May at the hands of undefeated Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz.
Avila fought a controlled and patient bout, while Olguin gave him plenty of challenges to figure out, mounting a decent body attack with the left hook and occasionally switching to the southpaw stance. Avila piled up rounds but certainly never dominated his opponent, even cruising a bit in the seventh. The fight went to the cards after eight: Avila took the unanimous decision 77-75, 78-74, 78-74.