|PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - June 03, 2016|
Dashon "Fly Boy" Johnson came back to Philadelphia Friday night and left another good impression on local fight fans with an active and entertaining 8-round unanimous decision over DeCarlo Perez at the 2300 Arena in South Philly. It was a close and competitive battle. However, Johnson's bookend knockdowns, one in the first and one in the eighth, gave him the edge he needed to secure the win.
After giving Jesse Hart a hard time in March, Escondido, CA's Johnson returned east to turn his attention to Atlantic City's DeCarlo Perez. Things got started prematurely at Thursday's weigh-in when a photo op between the two fighters boiled over into a near brawl. The eruption was quickly capped and then reopened in the ring for the fans on fight night.
Johnson jumped out in round one and dropped Perez with a hard flurry of punches that nearly ended the fight in a hurry. Despite the quick start by Johnson and close call for Perez, the fight was a closely pitched battle for the rest of the night.
Johnson took the first two rounds before Perez began closing the gap with a nice jab and some extremely accurate punching. However, as with his fight against Hart, Johnson proved to be difficult to control.
Regardless of whatever punches Perez whipped at Johnson, the Californian kept chugging forward, looking for an opening to exploit with his harder punches. Johnson's best weapon is a right uppercut, and he found Perez with it repeatedly.
When Perez boxed, he was in control. However, DeCarlo appeared set on proving that he could fight with Johnson on the inside. This gave Dashon many opportunities to land his harder punches.
However as the fight progressed, Johnson lost steam and Perez managed to bring the score closer and closer. In fact, when the fighters entered the final round, my scorecard was dead-even, 66-66. So at least on my card, the winner would be determined in the eighth and final round.
Both fighters pressed the action in the eighth, working to earn the victory. However, this wound up playing in Johnson's favor. Dashon cracked Perez with his money shot, a booming right uppercut, and the punch deposited Perez on the canvas for a second time.
Perez rose to his feet, but this return trip to the canvas sealed the deal for Johnson and put the decision out of reach for Perez.
The three official judges scored the fight for Johnson, 76-74, 77-73 and 78-72. My score also favored Johnson 76-74.
"I knew I needed a big round," Johnson said about the final three minutes. "My coach told me I needed a big round. I looked at him and said, 'You got it', and I delivered."
The win improved Johnson's record to 21-19-3, with 6 KOs and 1 No Decision.
"Everyone knows I'm not what my record seems," Johnson said. "I'm a fighter through and through. I made a lot of mistakes as a young man growing up. But guess what? I'm a new man and a new fighter now. Expect the best Dashon Johnson from here on out."
Twice now, Johnson has shown Philly fans that he is a real crowd-pleaser.
"This is a fighting town and they appreciate my style," Johnson said. "I'm going to show up. Dashon Johnson doesn't never not show up. Dashon Johnson always gives a fight every single time, and that's why the fans love me."
His victory was not just a win over Perez, it was a stump speech in his campaign to land a rematch with Jesse Hart, who decisioned him three months ago in the same ring.
"More than anything, I'd like to come back here to fight again," Johnson said. "Jesse Hart, if you want a rematch, I'm here. I would more than likely come to your backyard and give your fans what they want to see. If that's what you want to do, I'm here. I'm willing to fight. The fans want to see it. Let's make it happen. Bigger venue, bigger fight. Put up or shut up!"
A rematch would truly excite the fans. We love Jesse Hart, but that doesn't mean we don't want to see him in great, competitive fights. Their first meeting was exactly that.
DeCarlo Perez, 15-5-1, 5 KOs, fought hard but came up just short.
"At the end of the day, I thought it was a lot closer," Perez said. "One judge had it 78-72. That's absolutely absurd. Even with the knockdowns, each round was very, very close. I do feel that I outworked him and out-boxed him. Of course he did catch me with those few shots that caused the knockdowns. Maybe those two or three shots impressed the judges, but when you add up the total punches that I landed, you'd figure that would play a part (in the decision)."
Johnson-Perez wasn't as hot a ticket seller as the sold out Hart-Johnson event in March. Still, the match drew a reported 721 fans to the 2300 Arena. Peltz Boxing, Bam Boxing and Joe Hand Promotions were the promoters.