Bryant Perrella was literally one second away from a surefire victory over Abel Ramos in a fight that could have advanced his chances of gaining a shot at a welterweight title.
The controversial setback could ultimately prove to be a blessing in disguise.
The 6’1” southpaw from Fort Myers, Florida was forced to accept a controversial 10th round stoppage at the hands of Ramos, suffering two knockdowns in a bout that was stopped with just one second to go last February at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. It turned out to be the last time that Perrella (17-3, 14KOs) would entertain the idea of squeezing down to welterweight, a decision that was made shortly after the fight.
“I’m just at stage in my career where it was better for me to move up in weight,” Perrella told BoxingScene.com ahead of his junior middleweight debut this weekend. “It doesn’t take away too much from the gains I made in camp. In the past, I was entering the fights as a lesser version of myself.
“I’m just excited to see how I perform at this new weight.”
The first test comes in the form of a showdown with former WBC junior middleweight titlist Tony Harrison (28-3, 21KOs). The two will square off this Saturday atop a Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox telecast live from Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles. The bout is Perrella’s first since the aforementioned loss to Ramos, coming at a new weight and also a new head trainer in legendary former four-division champion Roy Jones Jr.
The decision to move up in weight was long overdue. However, it was always trumped by the belief that one more fight at welterweight could lead to that first major title shot worth years of sacrifice.
“It was kind of hit-or-miss in camp,” admits Perrella. “There were some fights where it was fine making weight, but I look back and feel like I was taking something away from myself. It got pretty difficult. It was one thing to say, ‘I’m going to make the weight,’ then to get in the ring and fight under those conditions. It was pretty brutal.
“I feel the difference now. I’m sparring with super middleweights ever since I arrived in training camp. I’m bringing more speed, more strength. And I’m bringing 100% of myself into the ring on Saturday.”
The move could prove to be wise from a business standpoint as well. PBC is stocked with top welterweights but has enjoyed a stranglehold on the 154-pound division, including possession of all of the division’s major titles between Jermell Charlo (lineal/WBC/WBA/IBF) and Brian Castaño.
Granted, Perrella still has to win on Saturday night to even take the first step toward joining that discussion. Whatever the case, the belief is that he is giving himself a much better chance at success than in any previous fights one division below.
“I don’t see myself going back to 147,” senses Perrella. “Nah, I don’t see that happening. I truly believe 154 is going to be my best weight class for years to come.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox