Whenever top prospects are put in the ring with tough opposition it is must see TV. ShoBox: The New Generation and Golden Boy Promotions do just that this Friday when Randy “El Matador” Caballero (15-0 8KO’s) and Michael “The Artist” Perez (16-1-1 10KO’s) face off against very stiff competition.
Caballero is putting his undefeated record on the line against Manuel Roman (15-1-3 6KO’s) in a 10 round Bantamweight bout. Roman will be the toughest outing of Caballero’s short 2 and a half year career. So we will get a good look at what Caballero is made of versus a true test.
After an unbelievable amateur career which consisted of a 167-10 record and various amateur championships, Caballero turned pro in March of 2010. He’s been quite active in that time while tearing through his opponents. Besides the fact that he hasn’t lost a fight, he has only lost a handful of rounds. He came out the gate on fire securing 4 1st round KO’s followed by 4 dominant unanimous decisions.
To this point Caballero picked up the WBC Youth Intercontinental Super Bantamweight title and he’s currently the NABO Bantamweight title holder, which he will be defending this Friday. When speaking with legendary analyst Steve Farhood about Caballero he said, “I’m anxious to see Caballero for a second time on ShoBox. First time he won but I don’t think he looked that good, he didn’t wow us really. But now he’s a 10 round fighter. I saw the fight that he had last time out live, it wasn’t on TV and he looked really good, so I’m anxious to see him.” I’m sure Steve won’t be the only one looking forward to seeing Caballero; the whole boxing community is waiting to see what he has in store for us.
Caballero is currently ranked 6th by the WBO. Depending on a win and the fashion he wins in this weekend will depict how far away from the world title shot he is. “The way the boxing world works today with all the titles, you have to be smart about it. I don’t think Caballero’s ready for the best in the division. That would be depending on if he fights Bantam or Jr. Featherweight. I don’t think he’s ready for an Abner Mares or somebody like that. But look at Leo Santa Cruz, he won a vacant title beating a South African fighter where he dominated and now he’s a world champ. So it all depends on who the champ is,” Farhood implied.
Roman has had his ups and downs leading up to this weekend. In his last 4 fights, he’s posted a record of 1-1-2. His loss was a very competitive split decision against Anthony Villareal in April of 2009. Since then he’s only had one fight per year, including back to back draws and a 3rd round KO in his last fight. Roman is a patient counter puncher with a solid defensive base. He’s at a point where he needs to get things on track and Caballero is going to be an uphill battle for him.
To open the show Michael Perez and Fidel Maldonado (13-1 11KO’s) will let sparks fly in a 10 round Lightweight exhibition. “The 1st fight of the night with Perez and Maldonado to me is even more interesting because you have Maldonado coming off a knockout loss, and he was a top prospect. Perez is one fight removed from a stoppage loss on ShoBox to Omar Figueroa; so there’s kind of desperation there between the 2 guys,” Farhood stated. I agree with him on the aspect that while both fights will be entertaining, this matchup will be the fight of night.
Perez is a promising hard hitting prospect hailing from Newark, New Jersey. A decorated stint in the amateurs was highlighted by a 2003 Silver Gloves Championship, a 2005 Jr. Olympic title and a 2008 National Golden Gloves title. He compiled a record of 110-12 in the amateur ranks. After starting his career with two 1st round destructions of Leon Williams and Tommy Garcia, in that order, Bernard Hopkins grew a liking to Perez and recommended him to sign with Golden Boy.
As mentioned by Farhood, Perez was stopped in the 6th round by Omar Figueroa in January of this year. Up until this hiccup, it seemed as if he would be a viable title contender. Perez has bounced back with a 2nd round TKO of Eric Cruz and leading up to that fight he strung together 4 KO’s.
Michael will most definitely have his hands full with Maldonado, a heavy punching southpaw. Fidel is pretty much a knockout waiting to happen having 11 KO’s in his 13 wins. He hasn’t fought the best of opponents but a knockout is a knockout. After turning pro in late 2009 it wasn’t long before he earned an opportunity to fight Eric Cruz for the vacant WBC Youth Silver Lightweight title, and was successful. He defended that title once before losing it to Fernando Carcamo by way of 2nd round TKO in April while suffering a broken jaw.
Perez and Maldonado’s styles are a match made in heaven. Both are tough as nails, like to press the action and have the fire power to end the night with one punch. In the words of Steve Farhood, “I have a feeling somebody’s going to be going down in that one.” We both agreed that between the two fights, there is more likely to be an upset in this bout. Farhood proclaimed, “I think Perez is a favorite in that fight but Maldonado’s dangerous. He’s maybe a little desperate. His careers in the balance, he can’t afford 2 stoppage losses in a row so I think he’s a very dangerous fighter.”
The televised card will definitely be worth the watch. The chance to see a potential world champion in Caballero and a slugfest like we will get between Perez and Maldonado is always a treat. “I’m looking forward to both of them but I’m kind of looking forward to the first one a little bit more. I think it’s such an intriguing matchup. Maldonado is a southpaw, he’s a pretty big puncher with his left hand and he’s aggressive. Michael Angelo Perez is also aggressive and loves to punch to the body. Again both in the last couple fights have suffered stoppage losses so it’s really an interesting mental matchup as it is a physical matchup. That’s the one I’m expecting fireworks,” Farhood added.
I predict both of the favorites will pull out the victories. Caballero, by using his speed and swift footwork will out point Roman in what I expect to be a lopsided unanimous decision. Roman will make it a challenge for Caballero but at the end of the day these 2 aren’t in the same class. I expect the scores to be in the 98-92 99-91 range. As I mentioned before both Steve Farhood and myself think Perez-Maldonado will be the fight of the night. It’s going to be non-stop from the opening bell. These two fought in the amateurs in which Perez was victorious. Maldonado and his father/trainer both have stated that Perez ran from him that night after feeling his power. So with that being said I see Perez looking to disprove that notion, apply immense pressure and score a 5th round KO. Along with being a heavy hitter Perez has better fundamentals as well.