With the omnipresent demands of network television and the inevitable increased pressure to pad the records of promising, young fighters, boxing's epic trilogies of yesteryear are teetering on the brink of extinction.
The tradition lives on for at least one more night when Agustine Mauras of Lawrence, Mass., and Joseph "Chip" Perez of Hartford, Conn., battle for the third time in an eight-round super featherweight bout Saturday, Jan. 17th, 2015 in the main event of CES Boxing's pro-am show at Mohegan Sun Arena in what both sides hope is the final chapter of one of the most intriguing regional rivalries of the past decade.
"He wants to prove to everyone he's better than me. I already know I'm better," Mauras said, "and I think he knows that in the back of his mind."
While Mauras-Perez III may lack the worldwide appeal of past trilogies such as Micky Ward-Arturo Gatti, Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran or even Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales, there's no shortage of drama. What separates this trilogy from others is the fact the first two fights ended in a draw, making Saturday's third installment a true rubber match. The stakes are also much higher this time around with the vacant N.E. Super Featherweight Title on the line.
"This won't end in a draw," Perez promised. "I know I'll be ready. I'll do whatever it takes to win this fight."
The anticipation for a third fight between the two began shortly after their second draw in September in which judges Glenn Feldman and Robert Paolino were divided on the outcome; Feldman scored it 58-56 in favor of Mauras (6-0-3, 3 KOs) while Paolino awarded the fight to Perez (10-3-2, 3 KOs) by the same score. Don Trella had it even, setting the stage for Saturday'swinner-take-all finale.
Not surprisingly, each side had a much different take on how the fights should've been scored. Perez admits the second fight was much closer, but has no doubt he won the first one decisively.
"I know I clearly beat him," he said. "In the second fight, he came out more aggressive, but I still thought we edged it out and had the win. I was surprised both times."
So was Mauras.
"I think he's lying to himself, and that's the biggest mistake you can make," Mauras said of Perez. "In the first fight, it's clear I hit him more than he hit me, and I didn't change anything in the second fight, except I stayed in front of him. We went to war. It was a toe-to-toe war. It won't be too much different this time. I'm going to do my job and make sure I win the battle and the war."
As far as adjustments go, don't expect many. Instead, expect another in-your-face street fight similar to the September rematch in which both sides brought a more aggressive approach to the table.
"It's hard to change and make adjustments. You are who you are. That's the way I see it," Mauras said. "He's going to look for my weaknesses, but he'll ignore my strengths. I know in the back of my mind he knows I can out-box him. I can do anything I want with him. I did it before. I've just got to make it more definitive this time."
"I've watched enough of the first two fights to really understand what happened, what went wrong, what went right, and what I didn't do enough of," Perez added. "I know what I need to know."
The buildup is over and fight night is just days away. For Perez and Mauras, it's a chance to settle the score and cement their place in history while determining who deserves the title of New England's No. 1 super featherweight. The trilogies these days are few and far between, but are always worth the price of admission.
"I'm going to give the crowd everything they want," Mauras said. "It's going to be spectacular. I want that belt. This is my passion. He's had his chance. Now it's my time. I've fought the best. I want to fight Chazz McDowell [whom Perez beat in 2012]. Jason Sosa. All of these characters. [Perez] says he's fought better fighters than me and that's not true. Chazz didn't do what I did to Chip. I made Chip fight. There's nothing that will surprise me. I'm going to get that belt. I'm positive of that."
Added Perez: "I was ready to fight him again the day after the second fight. This is it."
Tickets for the event are priced at $40, $65 and $125 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling 401-724-2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.ticketmaster.com, or at the Mohegan Sun Box Office. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
The co-main event Jan. 17th features another title bout as Josh Crespo (3-1-2, 1 KO) of New Haven, Conn., faces Portland, Maine's Jorge Abiague (7-0-1, 1 KO) in an eight-round showdown for the vacant N.E. Super Bantamweight crown.
Courtesy of Jay-Z's Roc Sports Nation, two former Chinese Olympians and a former Chinese international champion also headline the undercard, including southpaw heavyweight Zhang Zhilei (1-0, 1 KO), a silver medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics; light heavyweight southpaw and 2012 Olympian Meng Fanlong; and Wang Zhimin, who won gold in the 2011 World Series of Boxing. Zhilei faces 22-fight veteran Andrae Carthron of Los Angeles, Zhimin battles Cambridge, Mass., newcomer Kin Moy; and Fanlong faces Marcellus Yates (0-1) of Washington, D.C. All three bouts are schedule for four rounds.
New Bedford, Mass., lightweight Briam Granado makes his professional debut against Willie Carville (1-0) of Lewiston, Maine and junior middleweight Khiary Gray-Pitts (3-0, 1 KO) returns to face Jake Constant (0-2) of Springfield, Ill., in a pair of four-round bouts while New Haven's Jimmy Williams (7-0-1, 3 KOs) will face 30-fight veteran Jose Felix of Savannah, Ga., in six-round junior middleweight bout. New Haven's Elvin Ayala (26-6-1, 12 KOs), a former world-title challenger and top 10-ranked super middleweight, returns from a two-year layoff in a six-round special attraction.
The amateur portion of Saturday's card features six bouts, including a 115-pound Senior Junior Olympic bout between Jacob Marrerro (Ortiz Boxing Gym / Bridgeport, Conn.) and two-time Silver Glove champion Dalias Perez (New York).
Aiyana Callas (Charter Oak Boxing Academy / Hartford, Conn.) faces Elimarie Torres (South End Community Center / Springfield, Mass.) in a 106-pound Novice bout. Gage Colt, also from Charter Oak, faces Chris Rivera (Beast Elite Boxing Gym / Springfield) in the 113-pound Intermediate Junior Olympic division;Bubba Shelton (Big Six Boxing Academy / Providence, R.I.) takes on Richie Hogan (Peter Welch's Gym / Boston, Mass.) in a 75-pound Open Junior Olympic bout; Frank Hogan (Peter Welch's Gym) faces David Escobar (401 Boxing / Providence, R.I.) in the 125-pound Open Junior Olympic division; and Adem Okubanjo (401 Boxing) battles Ronnie DiNoto (Strike Zone MMA / Norwich, Conn.) in a 155-pound Open Junior Olympic bout. All amateur bouts are sanctioned by USA Boxing.
For up-to-date information on the Jan. 17th event visit www.cesboxing.com, follow @CESBOXING on Twitter and Instagram and join the CES Boxing fan page on Facebook.
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