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Darleys Perez looking for early KO of Anthony Crolla tonight

By Scott Gilfoid: WBA World lightweight champion Darleys Perez (32-1-1, 20 KOs) says he’ll be looking for an early knockout tonight in his rematch against #9 WBA Anthony Crolla (29-4-3, 11 KOs) at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK. Perez has already said that he doesn’t want the judges to have any say so in what happens in the ring like last time he fought the 28-year-old Crolla last July.

Perez had to settle for a 12 round draw in that fight. However, it wasn’t the judges that cost the 32-year-old Perez the victory; it was the referee Howard Foster. He took off two points from Perez in the 11th and 12th rounds of the contest for low blows, and that pretty much saved Crolla from losing the fight.

Without those crucial point deductions taken away from Perez, the visiting fighter, Perez would have won the fight. Foster won’t be the referee tonight. It’ll be Terry O’Connor, and he’s not traditionally a strict referee when it comes to taking points off left and right in the championship rounds like we saw with Foster last time around.

This means that if Crolla wants to win the fight tonight, he’s going to actually need to fight at a high enough level to win it, because I don’t think he’s going to be saved by the referee O’Connor taking two points off from Perez again during the last two rounds. I mean, I hope we don’t see that because it just looks so incredibly ugly when a referee inserts himself into a fight like we saw last time with Foster taking control of the fight and docking Perez twice in the final two rounds.

What was especially sad about the second point deduction last July was that Perez had his head pulled down by Crolla when he was in the act of throwing a punch, and this caused Perez to land his punch low rather than in the midsection.

You can look at it again and again in replay and see how Crolla pulled Perez’s head downward as he was throwing the shot. How the referee Foster didn’t see it is hard to understand. Maybe he had his back half turned when Perez was throwing the punch. I don’t know how he couldn’t see it because I saw it without slow motion replay and I wasn’t nearly as close to the action as Foster was.

“My goal is to end the fight early with a knockout, but if we go the distance, I have complete faith that I will get a fair ruling from the judges in the UK,” Perez said to

Well, Perez had better go after Crolla hard in the opening rounds if he wants to get the KO, because we’re probably going to see the same thing as last time with Crolla using his hit and run style of fighting. Perez will need to put a lot of pressure on Crolla for him to get him out of there.

Crolla has been very, very lucky in his career in dodging defeats against Perez, Gavin Rees and Derry Mathews. I had Crolla losing to all of those guys. I know Crolla was knocked out by Mathews the first time he fought him, but in the second fight, Crolla was given a controversial 12 round draw. I saw that fight and thought the judging was ridiculous. Mathews clearly won the fight. The same with the Crolla vs. Rees fight.

I thought Rees did more than enough to earn a victory. It was just sad, sad scoring. It tells me that in order to beat Crolla, you really need to pound the living daylights out of him so that the judges could score the fight even if they had their eyes closed. I don’t know how or why Crolla has been so lucky during his career to avoid losing fights that he appeared to get beaten in, but I think Perez is going to be making sure that he doesn’t wind up in another controversial contest with Crolla.

“I think Perez may be coming out a different animal this time because that was a below-par performance from him. I’m edging towards Perez on points,” Carl Frampton said to

I think Frampton is right. Perez is going to come out on fire tonight, and will be looking to land head shots to score a knockout. I doubt that Perez will even attempt to throw any body shots in this fight, because it would be too risky for him to do that. That would look bad for Perez to wind up losing points again for borderline low blows or for getting his head pulled down while he’s trying to throw a body shot.

“I just have a feeling Perez is going to come and show us how good he is. He is world class, no doubt about that. My heart says Crolla but my brain says Perez on points, sadly,” Carl Froch said to

Other fights on the card are as follows:

Tyrone Nurse vs. Chris Jenkins
Ryan Burnett vs. Jason Booth
Charlie Edwards vs. Phil Smith
Isaac Lowe vs. Ryan Doyle
Brian Rose vs. Ruslans Pojonisevs
Stuart Hall vs. Elvis Guillen
Marcus Morrison vs. Simone Lucas

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