Heavyweight contender Mike Perez of Cuba this past Saturday fought to a 10-round majority draw with Carlos Takam of Cameroon in Montreal (on HBO). He was expected to defeat Takam, but his trainer – Abel Sanchez – said Perez didn’t seem to have the same fire he had in his previous fight. Perhaps, for good reason.
On Nov. 2, Perez won a 10-round decision over Magomed Abdusalamov, who afterward was hospitalized with a serious brain injury. Abdusalamov survived, but he will never fight again.
According to Sanchez, Perez (20-0-1, 12 KOs) answered way more questions about Abdusalamov and his injury ahead of Saturday’s fight with Takam, than he did about the fight with Takam. Sanchez said that in one interview with ESPN that was centered heavily on the fight with Abdusalamov, Perez became teary-eyed and had to ask for a break.
“All those things that kept it fresh in his mind,” Sanchez said Wednesday. “Being that preoccupied, he wasn’t focused on the task at hand, which was Carlos Takam.”
Sanchez said that before his fight with Abdusalamov, Perez was chomping at the bit to get in the ring.
“When we were warming up, he was animated, pounding the gloves,” Sanchez said.
Not Saturday, though.
“He just seemed to be dead in the dressing room,” Sanchez said. “And at the weigh-in, he seemed so far out.”