By Bill "Two Scoops" Emes
Tough Cuban heavyweight Mike Perez (20-1-1, 12KOs) was not a happy camper in the aftermath of Saturday's split decision loss to Bryant Jennings (19-0, 10KOs). Their HBO televised WBC eliminator took place at New York's Madison Square Garden.
The referee, Harvey Dock, took away a point from Perez in the twelfth and final round. He claimed Perez disobeyed his instructions for a clean break by punching Jennings in the face.
That point deduction gave Jennings the victory with scores of 114-113 and 115-112. The third judge saw Perez as the 114-113 winner. Without the point deduction, the fight would have been a split draw.
According to Perez, he believes the odds were stacked against him in the fight - because of America's desire to crown an American heavyweight champion. The last fighter from America to hold a piece of the heavyweight crown was Shannon Briggs in 2006.
"America wants a heavyweight champion so they are doing anything that's possible to make America a heavyweight champion. It is what it is, what can I say. I'm a Cuban living in Ireland. I do my best. I'm going to get ready and come back and see what we do," Perez told BoxingScene.com.
He feels Jennings' nationality played a role in the final decision.
"Oh, definitely man [nationality played a role in the fight]. But what can I say? [The] referee never warned me once. He never even told me to break. He pulled back on the ropes and I punched, and then [the referee] takes points. When I was coming to him, I was putting my shoulder in the front and [the referee] was asking me 'hey, shoulder.' The whole fight, even when he wants to break [us], [the referee] would push me away and left [Jennings standing] there. So I had to say a couple of times, 'hey, stop pushing me man,'" Perez said. "If [Jennings] thinks he won the fight, he's lying to himself."