- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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All-action brawler Michael Katsidis (28-6, 23 KOs) of Australia returns to ESPN2/ESPN3's "Friday Night Fights" to face Colombian puncher Darley Perez (25-0, 19 KOs) in the main event on Aug. 10 from the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif.
Katsidis, who has been in a bunch of memorable scraps, has dropped four of his past five fights -- including his most recent bout, a decision loss to Albert Mensah on FNF on April 13 -- but he still represents a step up in competition for the untested Perez.
"Darley Perez is determined to show everyone that he belongs with the big boys," said Gary Shaw, Perez's promoter. "Beating Katsidis, who we all know is a very tough fighter, will send a statement to the rest of the lightweight division. Both fighters have something to prove, and the fans are going to get their money's worth."
Thirteen of Perez's knockouts have come inside two rounds.
"Fighting a guy like Katsidis, who is one of the toughest guys in boxing, is going to be very challenging," Perez said. "But I'm a very tough fighter as well and I plan to keep my unbeaten record intact. My team and I have come up with a perfect game plan to beat him. The fans will see a great fight, I can guarantee that."
Katsidis has faced a who's who of fighters -- including Juan Manuel Marquez, Robert Guerrero, Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor -- and given them all tough runs in defeat. He owns wins against Kevin Mitchell, Vicente Escobedo and Graham Earl (in one of the best fights ever).
Katsidis went up to junior welterweight to fight Mensah, but he's back at lightweight to meet Perez.
"I'm coming into this fight with nothing to lose and everything to gain," Katsidis said. "My goal is to get back on top of the lightweight division. Perez is a good fighter, but he has some flaws that I'm going to expose. I don't expect this fight to go the distance. I want to end it early."