(Carlos Takam pops Mike Perez; via)
Carlos Takam, in his pre-fight segment on HBO Saturday night, talked about emulating the ring style of Sugar Ray Leonard, humorously enough. Mike Perez, in his, talked about dealing with putting Magomed Abdusamalov in a coma in his last fight, tragically enough. The contrast might have played a role in the outcome of their heavyweight fight, a draw that most thought Takam won.
Takam overall both outworked and outboxed Perez, a decorated Cuban. I gave him the final eight rounds. Most fans on Twitter — and judging from the boos, in the live audience — thought Takam deserved to win. No, Takam didn't remotely resemble Perez. But that he was so much sharper on the inside and able to tattoo his body from the outside was a pecular site, especially after watching Perez pick apart Magomed in his last bout.
The first two rounds were low-contact affairs that Perez mostly won. The 3rd round featured a head butt that opened a cut over Perez's right eyebrow that basically BECAME his eyebrow; it was that bad. But trainer Abel Sanchez worked wonders in the corner and got the cut mostly under control. Still, thereafter, Takam was the one in control of the majority of the action. Perez, in the 5th, realized he needed to get to work, but Takam hustled on the inside and landed the more telling and numerous blows from the 3rd on.
Takam does get a boost here by doing the unexpected, although he'd be even better off it he had gotten the win he deserved. Perez… who's to say? Cuban fighters do have a tendency toward outpointing opponents with minimal risk, so maybe he went from the animal he was against Mago to the more traditional Cuban approach here. Maybe the cut bothered him badly. Maybe Takam's unexpected quality and size advantage dampened Perez. Or maybe he had Mago in the back of his head, or in his heart — an organ that has less room in it these days for high-level violence.