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Forgotten Champions: Raul Perez


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A very capable and talented boxer-puncher, Perez won the WBC bantam title and the WBA super bantam title. His first reign was especially long and esteemed, as he took the title from the fabulous Miguel "Happy" Lora. He made 7 defenses of it. He later ventured to super featherweight, where he was much less successful. Perez still had a long career, spanning between 1984 and 2000. Here is the story of this forgotten champion.

Known as "Jibaro (Skinny)" during his pro career, Perez was born in Tijuana, February 14 1967. His father left the family when Raul was 2 and this forced his mother to work multiple jobs in order to provide for their big family. As a child, Perez sold various things on the street and often got into fights, so his mother told his older brother Hugo to take him to a boxing gym. And so-a future champion was born. He first fought as amateur and won the Tijuana Golden Gloves. Then, a month after turning 17, he turned professional. His power showed as he stopped 13 of his first 14 opponents, all within 6 rounds. He ran his unbeaten record to 25-0 before losing for the first time against Rodolfo Ortega, on points on May 3 1986. He then won 15 more fights and had one no-contest, before fighting his first big fight against Wilfredo Vazquez, August 1 1988 in Inglewood. He outpointed the Puerto Rican future legend convincingly on all scorecards after 10 rounds.

This victory gave him a crack at the WBC bantam title against Miguel "Happy" Lora, whom he fought October 29 same year, at Las Vegas Hilton. He defied all odds to win by UD against the 31-0 Colombian slickster Lora. As mentioned above, he made 7 successful defenses, most notably against Gaby Canizales (UD), Cardenio Ulloa (TKO8) and unbeaten Gerardo Martinez (TKO 9). He finally lost the title against Greg Richardson aka "The Flea", on points, February 25 1991 in Inglewood. Already in his next fight, he fought for the WBA super bantam title and won it by SD against Luis Mendoza, who was making his fifth defense, once again at Great Western Forum in Inglewood. He shockingly lost the title already in his first defense when he again faced Wilfredo Vazquez on March 27 1992 in Mexico City. He was stopped by a TKO 3 in front of his wife and daughter which were seated in front row, which he later regretted. He later said he did not train well enough for the fight. 

Only a year later, he fought as a super featherweight and for the WBC title against Genaro Hernandez, April 26 in Inglewood. However, the fight ended as a technical draw after only 28 seconds, due to accidental butt which created a bad cut on Perez's head. The two tall super featherweights (Perez is 5'10, Hernandez was 5'11) fought each other again on June 28 and this time Hernandez prevailed by a KO 8 after dominating most of the fight. It was clear Perez's best days were behind him, as he was also blown out in 1 round by Luisito Espinosa in 1995, in a non title fight. He retired after that fight, which was on October 9, but came back in 1998, first fighting as a lightweight, and won 11 fights before losing by TKO 8 to Hector Velazquez on August 18 2000 and finally retiring, aged 33. His record is 61 wins with 42 ko, 6 losses and 3 draws, with 1 no-contest. 

Raul Perez was a fighter who used his physical advantages and attributes well and had good boxing skills for a Mexican fighter with little amateur background. At bantamweight, he was also a pretty hard hitter. He stayed too short at super bantamweight, so we cannot tell about his power there. It was clear that by the time he became a super feather, which was a rather big step up (bypassing featherweight), he was not at his best anymore. However, losing to Genaro Hernandez is hardly a shame or to a formidable offensive fighter such as Luisito Espinosa. Today, Perez works at a sports complex in his hometown where he helps kids, restless kids like he himself was once, to find themselves. He also has a small boxing promotion company called "Jibaro Boxing Promotions". 

Perez almost doesn't qualify as "forgotten", as he enjoys enough popularity in Mexico, but in other parts of the world-not as much. I hope you enjoyed this presentation of Raul Perez, THE FORGOTTEN CHAMPION.

Raul Perez boxer

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