ATLANTIC CITY - Egg Harbor Township junior-middleweight DeCarlo Perez had been wanting to fight Galloway Township veteran Shamone Alvarez for two years.
When the opportunity finally arose Saturday night, Perez pounced on it. The 21-year-old earned the biggest win of his young career with a third-round TKO over 35-year-old Alvarez in the co-feature of a fight card at Resorts Casino Hotel.
"The young lion met the old lion tonight," Perez said. "And the young lion won."
Perez (8-2-1, 2 KOs) jolted Alvarez (21-6, 12 KOs) with a right uppercut midway through the third round. Alvarez's legs wobbled as he backed toward the ropes. Perez followed him and landed three more shots. Alvarez tried to tie him up when referee Lindsay Page jumped in and halted the scheduled eight-round bout at 2 minutes, 1 second of the third.
Perez leapt on the ring apron and waved to the crowd while a dejected Alvarez walked back to his dressing room.
"I don't understand why they stopped the fight," Alvarez said. "I got hit with two, three, maybe four good shots, but I wasn't hurt at all. There's a difference between getting caught with some shots and being hurt. It wasn't like I was doing the cha-cha slide (stumbling around the ring) or anything."
Fans of both fighters filled the Superstar Theatre to watch a rare bout between local competitors. Perez is an Atlantic City High School graduate who works in the pharmacy department at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus in Atlantic City. Alvarez, a former wrestler at Egg Harbor Township High School, is a youth counselor in Atlantic and Cape May counties.
Alvarez started strong. He charged toward Perez at the opening bell and caught him with a right hook before unleashing a barrage of body shots. Perez began to work Alvarez's body in the second round, then fired combinations that repeatedly found the mark on Alvarez's face.
After the second round ended, Perez yelled at Alvarez before retreating to his corner.
"I told him, 'This is my house,' " Perez said. "A lot of people didn't think I could win this fight, but my corner believed in me and I believed in me. Once I felt his punches in the first round, I knew it wasn't going to last long. He started to slow down and then I landed that uppercut."
The win was easily the biggest of Perez's career. He had been 2-2 in his last four bouts and needed a victory over a highly regarded opponent to boost his confidence.
Local boxing observers wondered why he would challenge Alvarez, who was once one of the world's top welterweights.
"I'm not into backyard fights," Perez said. "I have no interest in seeing who is the best fighter in the neighborhood or anything like that. I wanted this fight because fighting someone with Shamone's experience gives me experience. This is a step up for me."
While Perez's career is on the upswing, Alvarez's future is cloudier than ever. He now has a four-fight losing streak and has been stopped in his last two outings.
Alvarez said he intends to keep fighting, but admitted that he has a long way to go to reach his goal of becoming a top contender again.
"I've lost four in a row, so what kind of fights am I going to get now?" Alvarez said. "Now I'm going to be seen as 'the opponent' and I don't want to have to do that. But I'm not giving up. I'm going to go back to the gym and keep working toward reaching my goal of becoming a world champion."
A terrific main event saw Somers Point middleweight Patrick Majewski (20-1, 13 KOs) notch a 10-round, majority decision over Latif Mundy (10-5, 4 KOs), of Philadelphia.
Judge Shafeeq Rashada (95-95) scored it even while Barbara Perez (100-90) and Tony Perez (98-92) both favored Majewski.
Majewski, a native of Radom, Poland, sustained a nasty cut over his left eye in the third round that produced a steady stream of blood, but he didn't let the injury slow him down. The 32-year-old engaged in a thrilling slugfest with the 29-year-old Mundy, each landing their share of big punches. Majewski, who also beat Mundy three years ago, used his aggression and nonstop punching to take control of the fight down the stretch.
"I barely could see, but I just tried to relax and use my instincts," Majewski said. "I knew it was important for me to win this fight to step up to bigger fights. I want to step up and see how far I can go."
Elsewhere on the undercard, Atlantic City welterweight Adrian Wilson Jr. (0-1) lost his pro debut with a four-round, unanimous decision defeat against former Polish national amateur champion Patryk Szymanski (2-0, 1 KO).
Wilson, 23, is an Atlantic City Class II police officer and a 2007 Egg Harbor Township High School graduate who played safety for the EHT football team. He turned pro despite having only seven amateur fights.
"I thought I was ready to turn pro and I had no problem fighting someone with that kind of experience," Wilson said. "I'm not going to duck anybody and I'll get in there with the best of them. Even though I lost this one, it won't discourage me. I'll keep working and perfecting my craft."
In other bouts, Bridgeton junior-lightweight Moses Molina (1-1, 1 KO), an 18-year-old senior at Bridgeton High School, lost via third-round TKO to Poland native Michal Chudecki (1-0, 1 KO). Philadelphia welterweight Terrell James (1-0) won his pro debut with a four-round, unanimous decision over Cherry Hill's Anthony Prescott (1-1, 1 KO).
The best fight of the undercard saw Puerto Rican junior-welterweight Emmanuel Colon (3-0, 3 KOs) earn a controversial, fourth-round TKO over Philadelphian Hasan Young (1-1-1). Referee Benji Estevez, Jr. stopped it at 2 minutes, 23 seconds of the round, drawing a protest from Young.
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