Share This Page

Perez stands in Spadafora's way

| Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, 11:15 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Paul ‘The Pittsburgh Kid’ Spadafora works out at a media event at the Boilermakers Hall in Green Tree on Friday, November 22, 2013. Spadafora, who is 48-0 with 19 knockouts and one draw, is training for an upcoming WBA World title bout against Johan Perez on Saturday, Nov. 30 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.

Johan Perez might not be the household name in boxing that Paul Spadafora is obsessed with, but Spadafora's fight with the Venezuelan represents the biggest of Perez's career for one reason.

Spadafora is an undefeated former world champion, one whose name still has drawing power.

“If I lose, what do I have to offer?” Spadafora said. “The other perspective is, if I win, maybe that will make people want to fight me.”

First, Spadafora (48-0-1, 19 knockouts) must beat Perez (17-1-1, 12 KOs) in their bout for the interim WBA world light welterweight belt Saturday night at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in Chester, W.Va.

It marks the first world title fight for the McKees Rocks boxer since his unification bout with WBA super lightweight champion Leonard Dorin in May 2003 at Petersen Events Center.

That fight, which ended in a controversial draw, marked the eighth and final defense of Spadafora's IBF belt. His career was soon sidetracked by legal problems, alcohol and drug addiction.

Spadafora has had a dozen fights since then, the past three at Mountaineer.

“I'm over that ‘comeback' stuff,” Spadafora said. “I've been over that since the day I walked out of prison.

“This kid I'm fighting is a tough kid: long, tall and a puncher. Anybody who signs with Golden Boy can fight. I'm going to go in there and use my experience. That's what I've got going for me. I worked hard for this fight.”

Perez has won two fights, including a majority decision over 35-year-old Steve Forbes, since his lone defeat to Pablo Cesar Cano in July 2012. The Perez-Cano fight ended in the seventh round following an accidental head clash that opened a deep cut above Cano's right eye.

“Johan Perez is a very good fighter,” corner man Tom Yankello said. “He can do a little bit of everything. He's 5-11, so he's got a couple (advantages) in reach and length on Paul. He's an awkward fighter and throws some big shots. He loves to throw a big hook and even changes his stance to throw the hook. These are all things that make him difficult.”

Spadafora has an experience edge that makes him a favorite. Plus, he is leaving nothing to chance, adding trainer Buddy McGirt to his corner last week.

“I feel that we have two hungry fighters, but Paul is the better fighter all the way around,” Yankello said. “He's quicker, and he's better defensively. But this guy is a really formidable opponent.”

One who not only stands in Spadafora's way of becoming a world champion once again, but also has the opportunities to sign with Golden Boy Promotions and get potential fights against Danny Garcia and the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, Floyd Mayweather.

“That makes me hungry enough to get in there and perform at a high level,” Spadafora said. “It keeps me motivated every day. I want to be back to top-notch. I don't want to be ranked No. (4). I want to be No. 1.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.