Mairis Briedis vs. Mike Perez – Results
By Eric Thomas: WBC World cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) beat Mike Perez (22-3, 14 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in a very competitive fight in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series tourney (WBSS) on Saturday night in front of a large crowd at the Riga Arena in Riga, Latvia.
The judges scored the fight 116-110, 115-111, and 114-112. Boxing News 24 scored the fight 116-110. Perez lost a point for an accidental head clash in round 3 that opened up a cut over Briedis’ left eye.
Briedis lost a point in round 10 for a low bow. Referee Massimo Barrovecchio seemed a little quick in taking a point away from Briedis for the low blow. I got the impression that the referee wanted to even out the point deductions by negating the one that he’d had earlier in the fight from Perez for his head-butt.
The fight involved a lot of holding, head clashes and spoiling from both guys. Briedis eventually took over the contest after the 31-year-old Perez faded following round 4. The rounds were still competitive. If Perez had a little more energy, he might have been able to win a decision, but he faded badly after a good start in the first 4 rounds.
Briedis, 32, was the better fighter in the last three-fourths of the contest due to his more accurate shots, and his uppercuts. Perez kept leading with his head like a Billy Goat, which made it easy for Briedis to cobber him with uppercuts.
Perez’s upper body looked like that of a cruiserweight, but his lower half looked like that of a heavyweight. Perez’s legs were huge and slow, and he couldn’t move quickly enough for him to stay in the fight in the last half of the bout.
In round 1, Perez edged the action by landing some nice left hands to the head of Briedis. It was a close round, but Perez got the better of Briedis with his lefts and his jabs. Briedis walked into many Perez’s jabs while trying to get near enough to land one of his right hands.
There was more action in round 2, as both fighters looked like they wanted to end the fight with a single shot. Perez landed left hands to the body of Briedis when he was walking forward. This was a close round like the 1st. Both guys did a lot of holding. However, Perez caught Briedis several times with lefts to the body when he was trying to get in proper range to land his right hand. Briedis’ left hand was mostly useless. He did most of his work with his right hand. Perez got the better of Briedis with his crafty lefts to the head and body.
Perez lost a point in round 3 from a head-butt that cut Briedis, but he still fought well enough to control the round. Briedis looked like he was starting to get fully warmed up and comfortable in the fight compared to the first 2 rounds. The blood from Briedis’ cut eye seemed to give him some problems in the round. Perez did a lot of holding in the round to slow down Briedis’ offense, but also to rest as well. Late in the round, Briedis landed a right hand to the midsection of Perez that got his attention. This was another round in which Perez got the better of the action.
In round 4, Briedis connected with some hard uppercuts that snapped Perez’s head back. Perez still got the better of the action in connecting with a flurry of shots in the early part of the round. Briedis struggled to get in the right punching distance for him to connect. Perez used his size to take Briedis to the ropes and work him over. It was a close round, but Perez did the better work of the two. The boxing fans seemed to really enjoy the action in the round.
At the start of round 5, Perez and Briedis clashed heads. Perez was visibly upset and started complaining to the referee, who was having none of it. Briedis did an excellent job in the round in timing Perez’s attacks by nailing him with uppercuts and hooks. Perez looked hurt after getting hit by a powerful uppercut from Briedis late in the round. Perez then went on the attack and walked into a jab that stopped his forward progress. At the end of the round, Briedis landed a big right hook to the head of Perez. This was a Briedis round. Perez was often leading with his head down, while Briedis spent a lot of time clinching. It was very ugly round. Neither guy shined in the round. Overall, Briedis did the better work.
In round 6, Briedis blocked Perez’s jab attempts and hit him with right hands. Briedis landed a big uppercut late in the round that connected on the jab of Perez, and it seemed to shake him up. Briedis punched with a lot more accuracy during the round than he had in the previous rounds. Briedis could time Perez’s attacks and nail him with nice shots to the head and body.
Perez was fighting well in the 7th round until he walked into a big uppercut from Briedis that snapped his head back, stunning him. Perez was not able to see the uppercuts coming from Briedis. It was strange because he should have adjusted after the first 3 rounds to keep Briedis from landing his uppercuts, but he couldn’t. Briedis landed a nice left to the midsection late in the round. Perez looked tired by the end of 7th. He appeared confused and lost. When Perez would get in range to land a shot, Briedis would connect with a big right hand before he had a chance to let his hands go.
At the start of the 8th, Perez hit Briedis with a shot to the backside. It looked like it was intentional on Perez’s part to slow Briedis down and weaken him. Perez was starting to get desperate and even dirtier. Briedis got the better each time there was separation between the two fighters. Perez tried to work on the inside, but he failed. There was a lot of holding in the round. It was another round for Briedis. Perez looked really rusty in the round. You could tell that Perez had been out of the ring for a long time by looking at him miss with his shots. He had the appearance of a guy that hadn’t fought in a long time. The timing wasn’t there for Perez. The fight was now officially in Briedis’ hands in this round. One got the sense from looking at how tired Perez that he wasn’t going to be able to get his second wind to come back and get the decision victory.
Perez complaining to the referee at the start of round 9 for Briedis banging heads with him. Briedis landed a nice uppercut in the midpoint of the round. Perez was powerless to stop the uppercuts.
Briedis lost a point for a low blow in the 10th. Otherwise, it was his round. He got the better of the action with a looping right hook and uppercut. Perez looked like he had nothing left. Compared to how Perez started the fight in boxing brilliantly, he looked like a shadow of that form by the 10th.
Both fighters traded big shots in round 11. However, Briedis was the better of the two fighters. Perez didn’t have the energy by the end of the round to take it. Perez did start the round well, but he quickly faded and got outworked by Briedis.
Perez came out fast in round 12, trying to score a knockout, but Briedis did a good job of tying him up to prevent him from landing anything big. When the two were on the outside, Briedis could land right hands to control the round and get the better of Perez. Briedis landed 2 big uppercuts that sealed the round and the win for him.
The win for Briedis sends him to the semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series where he’ll now fight WBO World cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) in a unification fight. It’s going to be a hard fight for Briedis to win unless he looks a lot better than he did tonight against Perez. Usyk moves a lot better than Briedis, and he’s not nearly as easy to hit compared to Perez. Briedis will need to find another gear for him to win this fight because right now he’s not nearly good enough.