By Ray Flores
Las Vegas – It was as one fan in attendance shouted out “ It’s Godzilla meets King Kong”. What a fight!!! Twelve rounds of action packed “toe to toe” boxing. Two exciting pugilists with excellent boxing skills, instilled with absolute confidence in the belief and commitment to the cause of dominating defeat of their opponent.
The Treasure Island Casino could well have been Kong Island when the Columbian born Yonnie Perez (20-0, 14 KO’s) clashed with the man from Ghana Joseph “King Kong “ (his real name) Abgeko (27-2, 22KO’s). Abgeko, the reining Bantam weight Champion put up a magnificent defense of his title, his third such defense and fresh from victory over Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan.
Perez, at the start of the first round came out battling and had complete command of the first two rounds. During his workout press conference in Santa Fe Springs just a few days before the fight he was getting in every bit of benefit from heavy workouts to build his stamina and some in his camp were concerned that he may over do it. Obviously in this particular case that dedication to physical conditioning would prove to be the extra arrow in his quiver for the Columbian.
Agbeko, after the first two rounds came battling back in the third, swinging from north, south, east and west. The crowd of over 1000 boxing fans roared with excitement, and the battle was on. Blow for blow, toe to toe the battle raged on with Agbeko reaching deep inside to get the upper hand. Perez, battling back using his both his height and reach threw combinations that proved effective against the champion but never really hurt him. Agbeko, answered back with combinations of his own, but came to the realization that he wasn’t really hurting the Columbian with punches that would have flattened an elephant.
A sense of frustration to set in for the champ, who believed he was destined to win. He started throwing more punches, in a valiant attempt to out point the challenger since the power shots were just not working. Landing a few unintentional low blows, he was warned by referee Robert Byrd to get the punches up. He did so and the fight continued at a furious pace. Yonnie, matching each and every blow along with a few extras thrown in was looking the fresher of the two as they entered the tenth round.
A controversy arose as an alleged accidental head butt dazed Abegko and he failed to properly defend himself, turned his back while Perez kept punching. Perez threw a wicked left hook to Abegko’s body and dropped he champ to the canvas. The referee ruled it a knock down and later stated that he never saw the head butt. I was later informed by one my colleagues that an instant replay clearly showed an accidental head butt. Up to that point it seemed a pretty even match and didn’t deter Agbeko from waging a raging battle with even more determination.
The 11th and 12th rounds found both fighters battling for the fight of their lives. Exchanging blow for blow with undeterred desire for victory, landing vicious blows it was a real testament to their stamina and desire for victory. These two small packages of dynamite continued the combat up to the very last second of the twelfth and final round.
Both fighters were spent of energy but Perez looking the fresher of the two looked like he could have gone another 12, a testament to the “beauty” of his physical conditioning. As both fighters anxiously awaited the decision both camps were claiming victory.
Then the decision, Judge Jerry Roth scored it 116-111, Glenn Trowbridge scored it 117-110, and Judge Barry Druxman, 117-110 in favor of Yonnie Perez. The new IBF Bantam Weight Champion. Controversial? Maybe, but the determination, hunger for victory and dedication to the training and Perez’s physical condition “t’was beauty that killed the beast”.