Alarcon vs Perez: History In the Making
By Felipe Leon
Although female boxing in the last couple of years has gotten more TV attention in the United States, the sport has been a staple south of the border on Mexican airwaves.
Female boxing regularly gets featured on prime time on both terrestrial networks, Televisa and Azteca, with many of the fights getting huge ratings. Unfortunately some of the fights do fall through the cracks and do not get any air time.
Such is the case this Friday night when former world champion Monserrat “Raya” Alarcon (10-4-2) of Mexico City looks for her second world crown in as many divisions when she faces veteran Mayela “Cobrita” Perez (19-21-4, 10KO) for the vacant WBO atom weight title.
The scheduled 10-round fight in the 102-pound weight limit division will take place in Perez’s hometown of Saltillo, Mexico. It will not be televised.
The winner will be the first Mexican fighter to ever capture an atomweight title offered by one of the four major sanctioning bodies.
The 24 year-old Alarcon, a natural 105-pounder, captured her first world title last year when she traveled to the land of the rising sun, Japan, to challenge local Nana Yoshikawa in early 2017 for the flyweight WBO strap. Despite being the smaller of the two, Alarcon battered the Japanese for the majority of the fight, dropping her twice to the canvas and eventually scored a technical decision after Alarcon suffered a gash over her left eye which caused the fight to end in the seventh.
After a non-title win over Yesenia Martinez Castrejon, Alarcon relinquished the belt in her first defense against world-class Arely “Metralladora” Mucino in February via a hotly contested majority decision. With the win Mucino became the first Mexican woman to capture all four titles in a single division having held the WBC, IBF and WBA 112 pound titles at different times in the past.
“Mucino was a fighter who had an advantage over me in experience,” Alarcon explained of her title defense. “Though I lost the fight, I think I gained a lot of experience and I feel ready to face Mayela.”
Despite facing Mucino, one of the most decorated and experienced fighters in the country, Alarcon will have her hands full with Perez. The 33-year-old has traveled the world testing both up and coming prospects as well as established champions throughout her 44 bout resume which began in 2003.
“I know that Mayela is a very experienced fighter,” Alarcon said recently before her trip to Saltillo this week. “I think I have what it takes to beat her. That is why I took the fight. I accepted the fight the moment it was offered. It is going to be a war.”
The fact the fight is in her opponent’s hometown doesn’t bother Alarcon since she is used to winning outside of her native Mexico City. “That is a huge motivator for me, to be the visiting fighter. When I captured the national title it was in Monterrey, my opponent was from there and everything was on her side but I won. I have the opportunity to win the world title in Japan, I have no doubt this time it will not be any different.”
“I know I will be facing a great opponent in Mayela Perez,” Alarcon said in the last press conference this week. “She is a fighter who has faced the best in the world but that is not going to stop me from capturing my second world title.”
Always in the wrong corner, Perez has stamped her passport traveling the world while making it a long night for the likes of former and current world champions Ana Arrazola, Esmeralda Moreno, Ana Maria Torres, Anabel Ortiz, Carina Moreno, Jessica Chavez, Melissa McMorrow, Ibeth Zamora, Sindy Amador, Naoko Fujioka and Joselyn Arroyo.
“It has been a long road, sixteen years, a lot of sacrifices,” Mayela answered when asked of her long career. “There hasn’t been a lot of support but thanks to God we have never lost our motivation, we are still fighting.”
Her last loss was in 2016 against Alondra Garcia and since then she has been on a winning streak with the support of local promoters in her hometown. The aggressive come forward fighter has won her last eight fights, two of them inside the distance.
With a win over the previously undefeated Maryan Salazar early last year, Perez picked up a lesser regarded world title, her first belt, and despite her long career this will be her first opportunity at a full-fledged world title from one of the four major organizations.
The closest she got was 12 years ago when she challenged Mexican legend Ana Maria Torres for the interim WBC super flyweight title. She was stopped in six.
“I think she will be the toughest opponent of my career,” Perez surprisingly said of Alarcon. “I am mentally ready. It is not going to be easy and less so here at home to win that title.”
Fighting at home Perez is more than confident of winning the fight in front of her crowd.
“In my house and in front of my people, nobody can beat me.”