In one three-minute round, junior welterweight Joey Martin of Anaheim didn't seem that far behind Danny Perez in boxing skills.
But after eight rounds, the gap expanded and Perez, of Paramount, scored an easy victory in the main event at the Irvine Marriott Wednesday before 1,142.
Perez (14-2) won by scores of 79-73, 78-73 and 79-74. It was the first loss for Martin (8-1), who is considered one of the better young fighters from Orange County.
The scores would have been even more one-sided but Perez lost a point in the first round for a low blow.
Perez was warned once by referee Bert Gilliam early in the round. After another exchange, where Perez worked the body, Martin buckled and Gilliam called timeout and took a point from Martin.
"I was going to throw more body punches but I didn't want to lose the fight," Perez said. "I don't think the punches were low. You could see the red spots on his stomach where I was hitting him."
Perez worked mostly into the chest of Martin after the first round. Perez seemed to be just a beat quicker than Martin most of the time.
After the first round, the fight settled into a plodding pace. Martin would come out of each round and land a combination or two, but Perez would cut the ring off and trap Martin on the ropes and pound away on Martin's chest and shoulders.
Perez never landed a punch that threatened to knock down Martin. The only serious damage he did was a small welt under Martin's right eye. But Perez had a reason for his lack of power.
"I had to lose six pounds in five days for this fight," he said. "We didn't know until then we would be here."
Jose Castro of Fountain Valley was supposed to be part of the main event but he became ill and pulled out about a week before the bout, leaving promoter Roy Englebrecht to scramble for a headline bout.
On the undercard:
Junior middleweight Alan Loughran of La Habra took a low blow in the first round but things only got worse as he was knocked out in the third round by Steve Von Schert of Pasadena.
Von Schert lost a point in the first round for his low shot. But he was stronger in the second as he showed an awkward but powerful right uppercut that hurt Loughran a couple of times.
Von Schert then landed a fight-ending right hand 51 seconds into the third round that sent Loughran's mouth piece into the first row and the fighter to the floor. Both are 1-1.
Carlos (Famous) Hernandez of Bellflower won a four-round decision over Bret (Bad News) Boone of Los Angeles in the the all-nickname bout. Hernandez (2-0-1) won by scores of 39-37, 39-37, and 40-36 in the most action-packed fight of the night. Boone is 1-4.