Young cancer patient Perez's ultimate warrior

Wed Jan 18, 2012 6:00pm EST
 
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - When Eloy Perez fights holder Adrien Broner for the WBO super featherweight title next month in St. Louis, he will have in his corner an inspirational nine-year-old boy whom he regards as the ultimate warrior.

Sy Sherman, the boxer's official belt carrier, was diagnosed with primary liver cancer 11 months ago but he has been a source of optimism ever since he joined the Perez team last year.

"Sy lifts up our spirits and he's fun to have around," Mexican-American Perez told Reuters. "He just smiles like nothing bothers him, even when he is hurting. He's more a fighter than I am. I am the softy.

"He's coming to St. Louis with us to watch us win that title and he's going to be the one holding that belt afterwards. He deserves it. He's just nine years old and he's already been through 11 rounds of (chemotherapy).

"He has spirit and a big heart, a heart of steel. I can't wait for that moment when I win in St. Louis and he will get on my shoulders and hold that belt high so we can all be proud."

Perez, who has a professional career record of 23-0-2 with seven knockouts, was introduced to Sherman by his assistant trainer, Sam Garcia, at their training base in Salinas, California.

"Sam heard about Sy's story and I know financially it's very hard for any parent to go through something like this," Perez said. "So Sam found him and brought him on to our team.

"We wanted to help him out and so I met him and we all fell in love with him. Sy keeps smiling and, since I met him, he has come to my training sessions and to the last couple of fights. It's great having him around."   Continued...