Middleweight standout DeCarlo Perez, in an effort to get back into position on the world boxing scene, has left his job at Atlantic City (NJ) Hospital to concentrate full-time on his June 3 main event contest against Dashon Johnson, of Escondido, CA, at the 2300 Arena.
It makes sense. Johnson is the 42-fight veteran who came within one second in the 10th and final round of stopping unbeaten Jesse Hart in the same ring March 18. Hart was knocked down with 17 seconds to go and barely beat the count.
Perez, 25, of Atlantic City, has worked for the last six years as a Pharmacy Tech at Atlantic Care Regional Medical Center, putting in 40-50 hour weeks while also training as a professional boxer.
After winning nine out of 10 fights–against solid opposition–to place him on the doorstep of the world ratings, Perez was stopped by unbeaten Rob Brant, of St. Pau, MN, in the fourth round of their Jan. 22 fight in Tucson, AZ, for the vacant NABA middleweight title.
“Right now, I have to devote full-time to my boxing career when I’m still young enough to do it,” said Perez. “The hospital job will always be available to me because I’ve been there for some time and I’ve made a lot of connections there. The people at my job understand where I’m coming from and they completely support my decision.”
Drained by making 160 for the fight with Brant, Perez has decided to put on a few pounds and grow into the super middleweight division. The fight with Johnson will be contested at 164 pounds.
Perez had a troubled childhood, going from one rescue mission to another before moving in with his grandparents when he was 6 years old. He grandfather used to work out with Robert Duran and that piqued Perez’ interest in boxing. When he was 10, Perez began going to the Pleasantville (NJ) Rec Center, where he met his current trainer, Wilberto Alejandro. They now train at the Bullpen Gym in Egg Harbor (NJ) Township.
“Moving in with my grandparents was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Perez said. My grandfather told me there will be ups and downs but if you keep at it you will be a champion.
“Next comes my relationship with Will—it’s like father and son. There isn’t any other person I would want to go into battle with than Will. He’s taught me and he’s groomed me and vice versa. We know what we both are capable of and we truly believe there is no enemy in front of us that can beat us. It’s taken time for me to see that he is right.”
Perez started at Atlantic City High School, then he switched to Egg Harbor HS where he graduated.
As an amateur, Perez says he was 85-15 but without any regional or national titles. He turned pro, he said, after losing what he thought was a bad decision in a Golden Gloves tournament.
A pro since 2010, Perez is 15-4-1, 5 K0s, and he is 3-0 at the 2300 Arena, where he outpointed Jesse Nicklow and scored knockouts over Tyrone Brunson and Tolan Tascoe.
Prior to the Brant fight, Perez had won nine out of 10, including an impressive win on ShoBox last summer against Juan Ubaldo Cabrera, of the Dominican Republic, who was 23-0 at fight time.
“I feel this fight against Dashon Johnson is going to be a great competitive fight,” Perez said. “Johnson has been in there with good fighters but I believe on June 3 he will be facing his toughest challenge. I know he will be ready and I will make sure I am above and beyond prepared.”