“Teddy was my best friend. We grew up together, went to school together. Later, we would work together. Our girlfriends at the time, couldn’t understand the bond we shared. I remember the prank calls like they were yesterday. I envisioned us growing old together, sitting on the porch, cursing at each other. I can’t believe it’s been 9 years already”.
Manny Perez is just your average guy. Even though you’ve seen him on your TV screen, even though he’s traveled the world, he’s no different than you or I. People assume professional athletes have it better, that their lives are so much different than ours. Yet, they cry just like we do, they worry too, just as we do.
Manny is different than most professional athletes. He’d accessible, to anyone and everyone. He’s the guy in the gym cheering on the average Joe whose just there for the cardio. After his fights, he’s still in his uniform, taking pictures long after the ring has been taken down. He tells me a story of walking through an airport once, “One of the gate attendants stop me and says, hey, you’re Manny Perez”. It happened a short while after the Edgar Santana fight on ESPN.” Perez stopped and talked with the gentleman for nearly 5 minutes, almost missing his flight
Manny understands that although he has some fame, he’s no different than the gate attendant at the airport. He goes to the grocery, he takes his sons to their sporting events and he worries. ” I am a genuine person, there are no smoke screens”. All Perez strives for is to be a role model and provide for his family. He tell the kids in the gym to reach for and beyond the stars. He doesn’t care who you are, if you respect him, he’ll respect you.
It’s a been a tough year for Perez, and a tough day. He lost his father earlier this year. They lost the grandfather of his wife, Leann, as well. And 2 days before he steps back into his sanctuary, he trains with a heavy heart as it marks 9 years since his childhood friend, Teddy, passed away. “I bottle up every bit of the emotion and take it into the ring with me. I fight for him, I fight for them. Boxing will never allow me to retire, I know that. Yet, it allows me to give my sons the things I never had”.
That’s all the matters to Perez, his family, his friends and his fans.
Perez battles Cesar Holguin for the vacant UBF Light Welterweight Title. New Generation Promotions Presents, The Takeover. Tickets are on sale now and can be obtained by calling Team Lopez at Strictly Boxing, 303-659-0192. Tickets range in price from $25 to $45 with ringside selling at $60. The card will take place on Saturday November 1st at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 15500 East 40th Avenue, Denver, Colorado, 80239.