The Colombian, who was defending his title for the first time, found Crolla’s jab tough to deal with throughout the fight but did get his own shots off to make it a close encounter all the way to the end.
Decisively, Perez strayed low and a handful of occasions, and despite being warned by referee Howard Foster, repeatedly caught Crolla below the belt and was eventually deducted points in the eleventh and twelfth rounds.
Those two rounds seemed to tip the fight in the favour of Crolla, who was the underdog before the first bell, although the judges saw it differently at the end of the day.
One judge had Crolla taking the contest 116-111, which was probably the closest to how the fight actually played out, but with scores of 114-113 and 113-113, Perez squeaked home with his belt around his waist following a draw.
Promoter Eddie Hearn immediately called for a rematch between the two but vowed that Crolla would get another world title shot no matter what if Perez doesn’t play ball.
After all he’s been through in the past few months, Crolla did enough to call himself a world champion in my book and hopefully will get another chance soon.