Sergio “Time to Shine” Perales is not someone to back away from a tough challenge, especially one in the boxing ring.
The Brownsville fighter (24-2, 16 knockouts) usually fights as a bantamweight (118 pounds) and now he is moving up to fight as a featherweight (126 pounds) this week against a highly regarded opponent in his native country.
Perales goes against Bryan “La Roca” De Gracia (21-1-1, 17 KOs) of Panama in the eight-round main event of Thursday’s Tormenta Perfecta boxing show at Panama City, Panama.
Perales is making a comeback as his last fight took place April 18, 2014. That’s when he defeated San Antonio’s Raul Martinez (30-4, 18 KOs) on a 10th-round technical knockout at Illusions Theater in the Alamo City.
The Brownsville fighter was behind on the scorecards against Martinez when he won by TKO in the 10th. That bout was a big challenge and Perales’ matchup on Thursday figures to be the same type of test for the 30-year-old left-handed fighter.
“I’m excited about this fight,” Perales said last week before he and trainer Robert Campos took off Friday for Panama. “I’ve boxed since I was 10 years old, so I was missing it during the time I haven’t been fighting. I was here (a few days ago working out) and I realized I’ve been coming to the gym for like 20 years, so it’s been my second home.
“I’m excited to be getting back into the ring and I’m as ready as I could be,” added Perales, who has returned to college to pursue an exercise science degree and hopes to teach after having obtained a degree in licensed vocational nursing. “Even though I haven’t fought lately, I’ve always been working out in the gym and staying ready. It’s part of my habit, I guess. I always thought I would fight again, and then this opportunity came up (six weeks ago) and I just jumped on it. Let’s see what I can make out of it.
“I’m as ready as I could be and wishing for the best. Hopefully I can get this win and we’ll see what comes in the near future.”
Campos has been Perales’ trainer since Perales was a talented amateur who went to the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials 10 years ago. He believes in his fighter’s abilities.
“We’re going against a ranked opponent,” Campos said. “I’ve checked him out (on the internet), and as long as we stick to our game plan, I feel we can beat this guy. Sergio has experience and power and maybe more speed than this guy. I’m not underestimating this guy at all, but I think we can beat him.
“I don’t want to say it’s 100 percent that we’re going to go over there and beat him because Sergio’s been off for like three years,” Campos added. “But anything can happen. We’ll try to do our best and adjust our game plan (as the fight goes along). It’s a great opportunity for Sergio because his opponent is ranked. If we can beat this guy, Sergio can get ranked (too, and it will open doors for him). We could get a title shot.”
It appears Perales’ fight will be live streaming Thursday at www.tvmax-9.com.
Harlingen cruiserweight/heavyweight Raphael Murphy (11-1, nine KOs) is expected to fight Saturday in Indianapolis and then fight in Milwaukee in February. Murphy said he hopes to have a busy schedule next year in the boxing ring.
The STFC 45 mixed martial arts cage fighting show is scheduled in March at McAllen Convention Center. For more information, call (956) 562-2622 or (956) 414-8698.