Once tipping the scales at 247 and one-half pounds for a heavyweight bout with Zack Page in November 2011, talented Cuban-Irishman Mike Perez has undergone an astonishing transformation.
In his last fight with Alexander Povetkin in 2015, Perez scaled a whopping 240 pounds but weighed in on Friday for his upcoming cruiserweight debut at an amazing 198 pounds.
Dropping 42 pounds in a two-year absence shows just how hard Perez has worked in order to boil down to what looks to be a near-natural weight for the contender, who is still relatively young at 31 years of age.
The shape he’s in is a testament to the fighter’s attitude since going through some dark days in the aftermath of his tragic fight with Magomed Abdusalamov.
Perez fought the lanky Russian when both were undefeated in 2013, although the ten-round New York war ended when Abdusalamov suffering life-altering injuries that almost killed him.
As Abdusalamov and his family struggled to deal with day-to-day life, Perez saw his career spiral as he readily admitted his focus had diminished.
Two years on and after just one win in his last four bouts in the top division, Perez is hunting a world title shot at 200 pounds, and judging by his appearance, looks like he could be a handful for any of the current rulers – provided he’s comfortable enough at the new limit.
‘The Rebel’ will take on 10-0 Viktor Biscak as Perez aims to hit the ground running in Belfast.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay