This week on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan, hometown attraction Vernon Paris (27-1, 16 KOs) looks to re-start a long journey to relevance in the crowded junior welterweight division with a ten-round contest against well-traveled journeyman, Manuel Perez (19-8-1, 4 KOs) at the welterweight limit.
Back in 2011 a 23-year-old Paris looked to be on the verge of breaking through to the 140 lb. main stage with decisive wins over Emanuel Augustus and Tim Coleman. However, a one-sided TKO 9 loss to Zab Judah in a 2012 IBF title eliminator destroyed any career momentum he had.
In the Judah bout, Paris looked like a three-fight novice and seemed painfully overmatched against the former two-division world champ. A full year after the Judah loss, Paris returned to the ring in March of this year against hapless Guy Packer (4-38-2, 1 KO) and stopped the shopworn punching bag in three rounds.
Denver’s Manuel Perez will come into this bout as a very live underdog and brings with him a resume bulging with quality names.
The tough veteran’s biggest claim to fame is going 0-1-1 with Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, but has scored recent upset wins over Edgar Santana and Jose Miguel Cotto. Other names on Perez’s resume include Matt Remillard, Diego Magdaleno, Eduardo Escobedo, Mercito Gesta, and Paul McCloskey.
Perez is a tough out and a durable fighter with only one stoppage loss in his career (vs. Brandon Rios).
In the televised co-feature, Detroit’s Cornelius Lock (20-6-1, 13 KOs) will take on Lonnie Smith (14-4-3, 10 KOs) in a ten round battle of fringe super featherweight contenders.
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