Michael Perez featured Monday at Barclays

Two men met up, with gleaming records, with boundless expectations, with title shots and belts and nest-egg money to come bouncing around their heads like pinballs. Michael Perez, from Newark, took on Omar Figueroa, a Texan, on Jan. 6, 2012 in Indio, Calif. Perez entered at 15-0-1, Figueroa at 13-0-1.

They scrapped, hard, with Figueroa stepping up a bit more, forcing a stoppage at the end of round six. The Perez corner requested the halting.

Perez (18-1-2 with 10 KOs; lives in Bloomfield, N.J.) has fought four more times since then, with his last scrap a draw against Lonnie Smith on March 9. The former 2008 National Golden Gloves champ Perez gets another shot at restarting positive career momentum Monday, at Barclays Center, when he fights 12-2 Miguel Zuniga, in a junior welterweight fight on a Golden Boy card topped by Sadam Ali. That will be his first foray at 140, and father-manager Jesus Perez told NYFightblog the weight leap will make a world of difference.

He said his son, now 23, had trouble maintaining energy from draining too much weight, and expects that he will show his best tonight. "He's growing up," he said. "He's a thick kid."

California's 17-1 Carlos Molina was supposed to be the foe, but he pulled out, complaining of a flu. Jesus thinks he was getting cold feet because he feared Perez. The father said the near-term plan is to win tonight, grab the vacant WBA Fedalatin 140 pound title, and by next year, look to get a shot against Danny Garcia, who holds WBA crown.