VERONA, N.Y. -- Michael Perez was successful in his hunt for redemption, securing a split-decision victory over Marcelino Lopez in a 10-round junior welterweight bout on Thursday night at Turning Stone Resort Casino.
Perez (25-2-2, 11 KOs) proved he deserves to be in the title hunt again, seven months after suffering a sixth-round knockout loss to Petr Petrov, a former ESPN Boxcino champion who unsuccessfully challenged lightweight world titleholder Terry Flanagan earlier this month.
Perez capped his comeback in the main event of the third installment of the Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN series, less than a 300-mile drive from his hometown of Newark, New Jersey. Two judges scored the bout 97-92 and 99-93 for Perez, while one scored it 96-93 for Lopez (32-2-1, 17 KOs).
"I won the fight for sure," Perez said. "My plan was to go in and box him, and work him with my jab. I knew I won, but know I could've been better if I had more rest before. Next time I fight, I'm going to [be] the best I can be."
Perez took the opening two rounds with stride. But after a slow start, Lopez began to look strong as the fight reached its midpoint. The 30-year-old went after Perez aggressively in the fourth and fifth rounds in particular, but Perez answered with a measured approach, shifting the tone back in his favor after landing a number of solid combinations to take the sixth and seventh rounds on all three judges' scorecards.
Lopez turned the intensity back up in the eighth, knocking Perez down with a clean left hook early on. But Perez hung on through the end of the fight.
The split decision becomes most apparent on the scorecards in the final two rounds, with the one dissenting judge scoring each one 10-9 in favor of Lopez, while the other two gave it to Perez.
This was the second consecutive bout on United States soil for Lopez, of Argentina, who carried an impressive record into the fight despite a lack of notable former opponents.
Rashidi Ellis (18-0, 12 KOs) remained undefeated with a majority decision over John Karl Sosa (13-3, 6 KOs) in a close 10-round welterweight bout. Ellis and Sosa traded blows throughout, going toe-to-toe for much of the high-energy fight. Ultimately, in the eyes of the judges, Ellis had the slight edge in seven of the 10 rounds, finishing with strong statements in the final two.
"In the fight, I worked on my jabs and punches the most," Ellis said. "I'm happy with the decision, but I know my opponent got to me in a lot of the rounds. In the end, I gave it my all."
In other results, Eddie Gomez (20-2, 11 KOs) went the distance with Dennis Dauti (14-2, 7 KOs) in their eight-round welterweight fight to win by unanimous decision with scores of 77-75, 77-75 and 79-73. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (18-1, 15 KOs) notched a second-round knockout of Larry Pryor (10-15, 5 KOs) in their cruiserweight bout, while local Syracuse fighter Jimmy Garcia (5-0, 3 KOs) opened the night with a first-round TKO of Albert Tulley in their light heavyweight matchup.