By Ian S Palmer
Former heavyweight hopeful Mike Perez will be dropping down to cruiserweight for his comeback fight in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Saturday, June 10th when he takes on hometown hero Tommy McCarthy at the SSE Arena. Perez hasn’t fought since being stopped by in the first round former heavyweight titleholder Alexander Povetkin back in May of 2015. McCarthy’s last outing was a 12-round unanimous decision loss at the hands of Matty Askin last November. Perez weighed in at just over 240 lbs against Povetkin, so has lost at least 40 pounds to come down to cruiserweight. The fight can be seen live in the UK on Sky Sports.
The 31-year-old Perez is a southpaw who hails from Cuba, but actually fights out of the Republic of Ireland. He’ll climb into the ring with a decent record of 21-2-1 with 13 Kos. His other defeat was by a close split decision to Bryant Jennings in July of 2014. Perez’s biggest wins have been against Darnell Wilson, Travis Walker, Magomed Abdusalamov, Tye Fields and Friday Ahunanya. His lone draw was a 10-round majority affair with Carlos Takam in January of 2014
Perez sometimes gives fans the impression that he isn’t in the greatest of condition when he fights as his body fat percentage is usually higher than the average boxer. This could explain why he faded down the stretch in his loss to Jennings. However, that shouldn’t be the case if he’s trimmed down to the cruiserweight division. Perez stands 6-feet-1-inch tall with an unlisted reach. He turned pro in 2008 and has fought a total of 103 rounds since then with a knockout ratio of 54 per cent.
Perez isn’t particularly hard to hit so he’s going to need to be better defensively in this fight. He has a great chin, but it’s generally better not to test it if you don’t have to. He’ll be facing the 26-year-old McCarthy, who was born in London, but fights out of Belfast. The Briton has a mark of 9-1 with 5 Kos to his name. Other than Matty Askin, Courtney Fry may be the only other opponent of McCarthy’s that you’ve heard of.
McCarthy is just over 6-feet-2-inches tall and also has an unlisted reach. He turned pro back in 2014 and has 56 rounds under his belt with a current knockout ratio of 50 per cent. Even when he appeared to be a bit on the heavy side, Perez always displayed fine boxing skills and counterpunching abilities. He also has good power in his fists and won’t hesitate to let his hands go when he sees the chance. We don’t really know much about McCarthy other than he’s stepping up in class here against a more experienced boxer.
Perez has always been a good boxer, but it’s going to be hard to predict how his body will react to the cruiserweight division. He could be a lot more mobile with the same punching power or he might have lost too much weight and it will affect him negatively. Either way, he should have enough skills to beat the relatively inexperienced McCarthy.