“What do you think? Come on!”
That’s how Mike Perez [22(14)-2(1)-1] responds to what he and those around him deemed a stupid question regarding his ability to win a World title at cruiserweight.
The Cork-Cuban’s talent has never been in question and there are those who suggest if fit both mentally and physically he could prove the best in the World at 200lbs.
31 year old Perez hasn’t done his talent justice to date and still managed to get within touching distance of a major title shot, letting a lead slip and narrowly losing a world title eliminator whilst drunk against Bryant Jennings back in 2014.
He has since changed his life around and is hungry, slimmed down and ready for a cruiser assault. He returned to winning ways in Belfast on September winning in 29 seconds against Victor Biscak, but the real victory for him was most likely proving to promoters and fans he is fit, able to make the weight, and ready to impress.
The fighter was disappointed with how quick his fight finished, but seems confident he will eventually win a World title.
“Can I be a World level cruiserweight? What do you think? Come on! I was World level at heavyweight, of course I can be at cruiser,” Perez told Irish-Boxing.com.
“At heavyweight I could do a lot of things. If you saw me fighting at heavyweight you can see my talent. Doing these things now at cruiserweight I am doing them faster and strong.”
“I presume I am a better fighter. The difference of being without weight is crazy for me. I believe I was a fast heavyweight, but I am faster now. I just can’t wait to show people what I can do and experience that myself.”
While Perez would have preferred his first fight in just over two years to have lasted longer he did hint at enjoying the experience of returning to the ring on Saturday.
“It was a great feeling before I got into the ring. I have been away from the ring for so long, so the heat, the pre-fight excitement and the crowd was good. It was a little bit disappointing, I wish the fight lasted a little bit longer, but this is boxing. Hopefully next time its a better fight, but what can you do?”
He was called out rather unceremoniously by his former manager, Gary Hyde’s fighter Youri Kalenga [23(16)-3(1)] on Sunday, but on Saturday night there were those ringside who were suggesting he will struggle to get willing opponents without a promoter willing to foot the bill.
The fighter himself wasn’t keen to get involved in business chatter and claims he just wants to keep busy and make up for lost time.
“I think if there is enough money on the table people will fight me. My future is in my management’s hands. I love to fight and I just want to fight.”
“I am happy with how I am now. I want to busy and keep the hunger and try and become a World champion.”
LISTEN: Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill speak to Luke Keeler and Paddy Barnes on Episode 6 of The Irish Boxing Show: