SARASOTA, Fla. – A local boxer is getting the shot that he has worked so hard for. He will be in Las Vegas for a title bout Saturday night, but ABC 7 caught up with him while he trained.
As Jimmy Johnson once told his cowboys before a Super Bowl, "you have one shot; one shot to do something special." Sarasota boxer Adrian Perez has that shot Saturday night when he takes on Oscar Valdez at the MGM Grand for the title.
Both fighters are Mexican, and although Adrian has been in Sarasota for 17 years, he wears a tattoo of the Mexican calendar for good luck. He has built his reputation as a relentless fighter, both in Mexico and here on the Suncoast. “I'm a pressure fighter; I just keep coming. I have to work smart, strong, and with pressure," says Perez.
While Adrian and trainer Harold Wilen will head to Vegas, the Perez family will await word of the fight back here at home. He has his work cut out for him because Valdez is a 2-time Olympian for Mexico, and he is 9-0 as a pro. "He hits hard. We have to be at the top of our game. Move around with the jab, work on the inside, use some trickery," says Wilen.
He says Perez is one of the toughest, if not the toughest, fighter he has ever trained, and Wilen has been training boxers for 45 years. "He has intense style. He just keeps coming…a pressure fighter."
At the Sarasota Boxing Club, with Cassius Clay standing over Sonny Liston, in a gym similar to the one he trained for Liston at, Adrian Perez works to take advantage of this title shot, just like Clay did against Liston.
“I work every day, 7 days a week. I just gonna do what I have to do," says Perez.