OXON HILL, Md. -- Earlier this week, undefeated junior lightweight Lamont Roach Jr. said he would be disappointed if he didn't knock out Rey "Flash" Perez on Thursday night when they clashed at the MGM National Harbor Resort and Casino.
Nonetheless, the rugged Filipino journeyman was still on his feet at the conclusion of the fight, and Roach had to settle for a one-sided unanimous decision victory. All three judges scored the fight 99-91 in his favor.
Roach, from nearby Upper Marlboro, controlled the bout, advancing behind a high guard and landing crisp clusters of punches. The only time the outcome was in the slightest doubt was when the 27-year-old Perez (21-9, 6 KOs) momentarily hurt Roach, 22, with a body shot in the second round.
The local favorite quickly got back on top the next round and was never unduly troubled again.
Roach (16-0, 6 KOs) took advantage of his quicker hands and feet to dominate the slow-paced bout, but never mounted the sort of sustained attack that might have stopped his adversary.
In the co-feature, Philadelphia's Avery "A Plus" Sparrow, who took the fight on 11-days notice, upset Puerto Rico's Jose "Wonder Boy" Lopez by unanimous 10-round decision in an entertaining junior lightweight bout.
Sparrow (9-1, 3 KOs) flummoxed Lopez (18-2-1, 13 KOs) with lateral movement, excellent upper-body movement and quick, darting attacks from unorthodox angles. He rocked Lopez, 23, a few times with rights to the head but couldn't knock him off his feet.
"I was worried when I heard the two 96-94 scores," said Sparrow's promoter, J. Russell Peltz. "But at least the right guy won, and the third score of 97-93 was much more in line with what happened in the fight."
For the 22-year-old Sparrow, it was a career-enhancing performance.
"I showed the world that I can compete on a world-class level," Sparrow said. "I feel like I put on a great show for the fans and proved I can compete among the very best."