Is José Antonio Martinez the best professional boxer Aaron Angel Perez has faced?
Perez won’t know until he steps into the ring with Martinez tonight at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Perez does know Martinez is the most experienced fighter he has faced in his young career.
But it’s adding to his own experience that truly matters to the 20-year-old Perez (4-0, four KOs).
Albuquerque’s Perez will face the 35-year-old Martinez (11-14, six KOs) of Durango, Mexico, tonight in a scheduled six-round junior lightweight bout. It’s the main event of a six-bout Legacy Promotions card.
First bell is at 6 p.m. Tickets ($35-$65) will be available at the door or by calling 505-274-9239 .
The card will be streamed live on Facebook by Proview Networks.
Asked after Friday’s weigh-in if he saw tonight’s fight as a step up in competition, Perez said, “It’s a step up in rounds. I just moved up to six rounds, so I have a little more time to play with.
“I don’t have to force anything right away. I can take my time … see his mistakes and capitalize on them.”
It remains to be seen whether Martinez, despite his experience, can manage to go six rounds with the hard- and volume-punching Perez. Martinez has lost five of his last six bouts and was stopped short of the distance in three of those defeats.
Tonight’s card features the return of two New Mexico boxers who had considerable success here in the past.
Los Lunas bantamweight Brandi Montoya (5-2, no KOs) will step into the ring for the first time since October 2012, when she’d fashioned a five-bout winning streak. Since then, she has served a hitch in the U.S. Marines, gotten married and given birth to a son, now a year old.
Montoya is matched against Albuquerque’s Cecilia Renova (1-0, no KOs), whose only pro fight — a victory by unanimous decision over Amberly Trujillo — came in January 2013.
Albuquerque’s Willie Villanueva last fought in December 2012, a loss by seventh-round TKO in Las Vegas, Nev., to rising contender Evegeny Gradovich (14-0 at the time, now 23-2-1 and a former world champion).
“I just wasn’t satisfied in how I left (the sport),” said Villanueva, 32 and the father of three. “… There toward the end, I was taking a lot of last-minute fights.
“I know (promoters) were using me, but now I’m gonna try and do it right. I don’t have much time left.”
Villanueva (10-5-1, three KOs) is matched against Ricardo Alan Fernandez (3-9-4, no KOs) of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in a four-round welterweight bout.
HURRY UP AND WEIGH: The New Mexico Athletic Commission was dealing with a huge weight disparity between Albuquerque’s José Luís Sanchez and his scheduled opponent, Oklahoma City’s Anthony Hill. Sanchez weighed in Friday at 158.4 pounds for the four-round bout, Hill at 147.6.
NMAC events coordinator Richard Espinoza said it was Sanchez’s responsibility to drop some pounds, since it was he who came in above the contracted weight of 155 pounds. But he said commission rules, for safety purposes, would not allow Sanchez (7-1, 3 KOs) to drop all of the 3.4 pounds needed to reach 155.
25 AND COUNTING: In 2014, Hill made his pro debut with a victory by majority decision over Terry Buterbaugh. The Oklahoma City boxer since has lost 25 straight.
How does Hill keep getting fights? Promoters like him because he goes rounds. Of his 25 losses, only four have not gone the distance.