May 29, 2009
By Steve Galindo III
One year ago, 32-year-old Danny Perez found himself employed as a personal trainer in Carlsbad, CA. For Danny, it was a far cry from the bright lights and the notoriety that he had been accustomed to in his previous profession, as a professional pugilist. From 1996-2005, the man known as ‘Dynamite’ enjoyed modest success in the sweet science.
His career highlights included victories over David Kamau, and Contender star Grady Brewer. Danny even played a hand in helping Oscar De La Hoya prepare for his bout with Fernando Vargas.
In the eyes of many boxing fans, Danny is best remembered for the two knockdowns he scored against “The Tijuana Tornado” Antonio Margarito in their 1999 encounter. Although Danny would go on to lose two battles to Margarito, he would earn the respect and admiration of boxing fans everywhere.
In 2005, after losing a bout to Mexico’s David Lopez by a wide margin, Danny began to put his career into perspective. Shortly thereafter, Perez came to the conclusion that he was done with the sport.
While instructing boxing as a personal trainer, Danny acquired a new found love for the sport that he had walked away from years earlier. Unable to shake the itch to fight, Danny enlisted the help of trainer Mark Diaz. Under the tutelage of Diaz, Perez made a triumphant return to the ring last July winning a decision against Daniel Stanislavjecic. Today, Danny (34-5-17 KOs) is in the midst of a three fight win streak. Next Friday June 5th, from the Mahi Shrine Temple in Miami, Florida he will face his toughest challenge when he takes on Puerto Rico’s Carlos “El Indio” Quintana in a 10-round Jr. Middleweight bout. The fight will be nationally televised on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. I recently sat down with Danny and his Manager/Trainer Mark Diaz to get their thoughts on the bout.
La Prensa: For those out there in San Diego who might not have heard of Danny Perez, talk about your ties to the city.
DP: I got here when I was 16. I went from L.A. straight to El Cajon, and I was training up in National City, with the Barragan’s in the amateurs. Once I turned 19, I turned pro and here I am 9 years later. When I was 147, I won the title the California title, then the North American title, and the Texas title. At 154, I’ve won two titles the USBA, and NABO titles.
La Prensa: Last July, you returned to the ring at the 4th and B in Downtown San Diego. It was your first fight back after a 3 year layoff, what motivated you to come back?
DP: I have been doing this since I was 12, you get burned out. You turn amateur, and then from there you turn pro and you get tired of it sometimes. I just had to step back and let my body recover, and 3 years was enough. Then from there, I had problems with my other manager that I had before, so to tell you the truth I just stopped boxing. I was working at a fitness club, then I moved from East County to Carlsbad and I met my trainer (Mark Diaz) and we hooked up. The 3 year layoff was good enough for me to come back strong, so now were 3-0, and getting strong. Getting a shot at a world title this year, that’s what were looking for.
La Prensa: Your second fight back took place last September against Golden Boy’s Julio “Baby face” Garcia on the Casamayor-Marquez undercard. What was the experience like fighting in Vegas, on such a big stage?
DP: It felt good, I was happy. I’m not a shot fighter, I still got it, I still have what it takes to become a world champion, with good training and a good manager, I’ll get there. I’ll get there. It just felt very good especially fighting in Vegas at a Pay-Per-view, it felt good.
La Prensa: In your last bout against Eric Mitchell, you captured the USBA, and NABO, Jr. Middleweight titles, but the victory came via disqualification due to Mitchell’s excessive holding. How frustrating was that?
DP: I got frustrated a lot, it was a win. With the low-blow he gave me in the first round, I was pissed. I was like alright let’s go, but that’s when I lost all my focus in what I had to do. I really wanted to kick his butt, and try to knock him out; the game plan just went out the door. Not only that, he was holding, and hitting me in the back of the head, a dirty fighter. That is the first time I’ve ever experienced something like that. I got the win, I’m happy, and now on to this big fight I got coming up.
La Prensa: After your bout with Eric Mitchell, it was widely reported that you had signed on to replace Ricardo Mayorga in the February 14th bout against Alfredo Angulo. Day’s later it was reported that you had backed out, can you clarify exactly what transpired?
DP: He (Mark Diaz) can answer that.
Mark Diaz: They offered a certain amount of money, and we said yes, we’ll take it, and we started training. Then they called us back and they tried to cut it in half, and we said: were not going to fight for that. I’m not going to say the amount, but it was totally cut in half. I then told Danny, you know what? don’t worry about it the contract’s not here, they are cutting back on their word, forget it. It wasn’t him (Danny), I’m the one. I told the representative: so is this all you got to offer, he said: that’s all you’re going to get; so I said: the fight’s not on then. Danny wants Angulo.
DP: I want him
La Prensa: How has training been going for your upcoming bout on June 5th against Carlos Quintana?
Danny Perez: Training’s been going good. Training camp is awesome, just working hard. Sparring with Jason Pearson, and I’ll be sparring with a guy named Chris Toro from City Boxing, he’s a southpaw- real unorthodox, he’s all over the place, and I’ll be sparring with Lawrence Letuli.
La Prensa: This is Quintana’s second fight at 154; do you think you’ll have the advantage?
DP: Yes, because the guy he fought last time had a record of what (14-17) or something like that, come on now, it’s nothing compared to me. Not even on my level. Were not taking him lightly, we are coming strong. If he’s ready, he’s ready, if he’s not... oh, well, easy for me (laughs).
La Prensa: Carlos Quintana He’s been in there with the best, Miguel Cotto, he’s the only guy to defeat Paul Williams, what are your thoughts coming into the bout.
DP: I’m just coming in to kick some butt, and win. He’s moving up to 154, I’m bigger than him, I’m a solid 154-pounder, and I’m stronger. All of the fighters that he’s fought are only two: Paul Williams and Cotto; those are the only two big guys’s that he’s fought. Other than that, his record doesn’t impress me whatso ever. It’s going to be a good fight, I’m going there to win, I’m there to kick some butt, and I’m bringing it home.
La Prensa: You mentioned his two loses to Cotto, and Paul Williams. In those two fights Cotto and Williams were successful in applying pressure in helping them defeat Quintana. Are you planning to apply a similar game plan?
DP: The first couple of rounds were going to test him, box him, box him, and the later rounds were going to try to come strong. I’m not in a hurry, if a knock-out comes, then it comes, but if it goes twelve rounds, I’ll be ready for twelve. We are training hard for this fight. The way he (Mark Diaz) is teaching me how to box, I was never a boxer, I was always a slugger. The last 3 fights that we have been together, I’ve been boxing, and it feels very good.
La Prensa: Any final words for the people reading this?
DP: We’ll be back on the sixth with a win, just watch and bring us some luck.