Bryant Perrella and Tony Harrison will both enter their upcoming fight with new head trainers in tow.
For Perrella, this weekend marks a debut in the junior middleweight division and with legendary former four-division champ Roy Jones Jr. manning his corner. The union was formed at the tail end of Perrella’s months-long gym tour in search of world class sparring and a next-level gym education.
A stop in Pensacola, Florida—nearly 600 miles from his Fort Myers home—provided the solution.
“Getting with Roy has been a blessing,” Perrella said of his time spent thus far with Jones. “I’m getting such great sparring, soaking up all that knowledge.”
The two will work together for the first time this Saturday, when Perrella (17-3, 14KOs) and Detroit’s Harrison (28-3, 21KOs) collide on Fox live from Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles. The bout will mark the first for the 6’1” southpaw since a heartbreaking 10th round stoppage loss to Abel Ramos last February in Nashville. Perrella was well ahead on all three scorecards only to suffer two knockdowns in the closing seconds of their bout, the latter resulting in his failing to pass the in-ring sobriety test conducted by referee Jack Reiss.
Even with a win, Perrella knew that changes were needed—both in his training and his career path. Years of shrinking down to the welterweight limit clearly took a toll, with this weekend marking his first fight in a stacked junior middleweight division where Harrison—whose brother, Lloyd has taken over the corner following the passing of their father Ali Salaam last April—once held the WBC title.
In addition to feeling much stronger and sharper, there has also come the gift of seeing the game from an entirely different perspective.
“Roy’s mind and knowledge the game is like an encyclopedia of moves and looks,” notes Perrella. “Even to this day, I’m still in awe of him.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox