Darleys Perez is determined to claw his way back to world title contention having suffered a number of setbacks recently.
The Colombian was riding the crest of a wave in 2015 having picked up the interim world lightweight title, making two defenses.
Two low blow deductions in a summer clash with Anthony Crolla in the UK cost Perez dearly in a split draw. Crolla then followed it up by winning the rematch via a crushing body shot.
A routine win six months later led to what was effectively a world title eliminator with Maurice Hooker. Once again, Perez was denied by SD draw scorecards.
Hooker went on to land the title shot Perez craved and the rest is history.
The American is now the reigning champion having defeated Terry Flanagan, whilst Perez made two regrettable decisions which stalled his career.
Heading back to the UK to face Luke Campbell meant another loss before Perez took a fight with Maxim Dadashev at late notice following over a year out.
Both contests ended via late stoppages, meaning Perez holds a record of 1-2-3 for his last six bouts. All three of those defeats by knockout.
At 35, Perez is in danger of being left behind on world level and knows he has to do things right from here on in.
“At the moment, Thompson Boxing is working on an opponent and date but I’ll be back in the ring soon,” Perez exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Retirement has not crossed my mind but I need full training camps. The last fight (with Dadashev I took with short notice but I can give no excuses in this sport.
“We must be ready for an opportunity if it comes tomorrow. Next time I will make sure I am ready.”
Asked whether a rematch with Hooker was in his sights, Perez replied: “Well, I was lined up for Linares but had those setbacks that took things a little off track. But I would love to fight Hooker again. I really believe I beat him if we can do it again. Also, if Linares needs a fight I am here.
“With hard work I know I can take on all comers. I know with the setbacks I have had the road is tougher. But with hard work and due diligence, I can get certainly another shot to regain a title.”
Concluding with his view on the forthcoming Hooker versus Alex Saucedo mandatory fight, Perez stated: “It’s a tough fight and both are undefeated fighters.
“I would love Hooker to win and then give me the rematch. I think with the home crowd and all, Saucedo has a slight advantage,” he added.
As thing stand, Perez holds a record of 33-4-2 with 21 KO’s.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay