Caballero Dominates, Perez Survives in Indio!

Caballero vs Roman | All Photos By Dominic Serna/Standnfight.com

Popular undefeated hometown favorite Randy Caballero (16-0, 8 KOs), of Coachella, Calif., scored a knockdown in the second round en route to a 10-round decision over Manny Roman (15-2-3, 6 KOs), of Paramount, Calif. to retain his NABO Bantamweight Championship on Friday’s main event on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME®.

In the co-feature at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. Michael “The Artist” Perez (17-1-1, 10 KOs), of Newark, N.J., survived a knockdown in the bout’s closing seconds to take a hard-fought 10-round split decision over tough southpaw Fidel Maldonado (13-2, 11 KOs), of Albuquerque, N.M.

Caballero, the No. 6-rated 118-pound contender by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), won by the scores of 97-92 and 96-93 twice. Perez was triumphant by the scores of 97-92, 95-94 and 94-95.

Caballero vs. Roman and Perez vs. Maldonado were presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona.

“This was a good ShoBox card featuring very young fighters who took another step to becoming hardened 10-round fighters,’’ ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood said afterward. “Caballero fought his fight, dictated the pace and outboxed Roman from a distance. After scoring that early knockdown, he was never in danger of losing.

Perez vs Maldonado

“The first fight brought back memories of Montreal and the first fight between Lucian Bute and Librado Andrade because the guy trailing scored a knockdown in the last 10 seconds of the last round. And as was the case with Bute and Andrade, the knockdown punch was the last punch of the fight.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that in the general shape Perez was in as a result of the knockdown that Maldonado would have stopped him if he had another 30 seconds.’’

Caballero, 21, struggled in his ShoBox debut on March 16, but he had things his way Friday.

“I loved my performance,’’ Caballero said. “This was exactly the kind of fight I expected. I knew Roman had trained hard and would be tough. He gave me a challenge. I’ve never been hit like that, but I think I proved I have what it takes.”

Caballero continued, “This kind of fight can only help me down the road. The main thing I did well was continually work the jab. This was definitely a big improvement on my first fight on ShoBox.’’

The victory capped a huge night for Caballero and his brothers, Ryan, who won his pro debut in a non-televised fight, and Rommel, who won an amateur bout.

“All three of us had great performances,’’ Randy Caballero said, “and I am very happy about that. This is just the beginning for all of us.’’

After falling behind, Roman made it interesting in the later rounds by effectively working the body with both hands. It wasn’t enough, however, to overcome the early deficit.

“I just got outworked,’’ Roman said. “I just didn’t let my hands go enough and I really don’t know why. I am definitely very disappointed. I felt going in I was ready for a really good showing.’’

Perez, 22, won most of the early rounds against Maldonado, 21, who came on strongly in the hotly contested bout’s second half. Neither boxer was impressed by the judges’ scoring; Perez felt he had won clearly, Maldonado believed he was jobbed.

“Except for the last minute I thought I’d totally outboxed him and won every round even though I hurt my left hand in the third or fourth round and my right hand a little after that,’’ said Perez, who also outpointed Maldonado in the amateurs. “The knockdown was more of a flash knockdown than anything else. I was always aware of what was happening.’’

Said Maldonado, “I felt I’d done enough to win even without the knockdown. I know I hurt Perez throughout and he never hurt me once. His punches had nothing behind them. This decision was total bull. The only rounds I felt I lost were the ones I gave away when I was playing possum trying to get him to come in and exchange.’’

Those in attendance received a special treat Friday. Before the televised portion of the card, Future Hall of Famer, the legendary Bernard Hopkins, hosted a meet and greet with the fans where he signed autographs and posed for pictures with them.

Barry Tompkins called the ShoBox action from ringside alongside Farhood and special guest analyst, former Unified Lightweight World Champion Juan “The Baby Bull” Diaz. “It was an awesome experience for me,’’ Diaz said. “Barry and Steve are such professionals. They made it so easy on me. I was a little nervous to be honest. It is a lot easier fighting.’’

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