Tony Harrison and Bryant Perrella were both in search of a fresh start and a return to the win column.
Neither one would get their wish.
The main event of the latest edition of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Fox saw Harrison and Perrella fight to a 12-round split decision draw. Judge Max DeLuca had the bout 116-112 Harrison, while Dr. Lou Moret scored the contest 117-111 in favor Perrella. Judge Zachary Young saw the fight 114-114, producing a stalemate in the junior middleweight bout Saturday evening at Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
With both fighters having been out of the ring for more than a year, the opening round figured to be a two-way feeling out session. It began that way before the two grew more comfortable in the final minute. Perrella fired his jab with confidence from his southpaw stance, while Harrison—who hasn’t fought since losing his WBC 154-pound title in an 11th round knockout to Jermell Charlo in their Dec. 2019 rematch—managed to score on the inside while his back was against the ropes.
Perrella outworked Harrison in round two, remaining well within the former champ’s punching range though able to land his left hands with conviction as a result. Harrison found openings for his right hand, though not able to leave his mark.
Harrison still struggled to find his rhythm in round three, perhaps the extended effects of having not fought in 16 months. Perrella took advantage of those moments, more than doubling up Harrison (25-to-10) in punches landed in the round which was in part attributed to his ability to pick his spots and then immediately slide out of harm’s way.
Both boxers had success in round four, with Harrison looking to take the lead. Perrella allowed him to a degree, mindful of Harrison’s right hand and minimizing the damage on the occasions his opponent was able to land the shot.
Harrison enjoyed a momentum shift which carried over into round five, even if the margin was relatively thin. Perrella turned the tide in round six, connecting with an uppercut and making Harrison miss with a straight right and left hand behind it. A straight left hand by Perrella pushed Harrison into position to get clipped by a right hook.
Perrella continued to expertly carry out the game plan as provided to him by legendary former four-division champion Roy Jones Jr., who took over the training reins for the Fort Myers, Florida product. Harrison was successful with his jab but often falling well short with his right hand. Perrella’s jab continued to work, although he was warned by referee Thomas Taylor for hitting on the break.
Harrison landed his best right hand of the fight in round ten, avoiding a jab from Perrella to slam home his power shot from long range. Perrella took the shot well, coming back to land with a left hand and causing Harrison to miss with return fire.
Harrison seemed to vibe with corner advice that he was ahead and needed to box smart, statistically closing the gap as he outworked Perrella in round eleven. More importantly, the Detroit native was the more accurate of the two though both boxers were often short of the mark during the majority of the exchanges in the final two rounds.
Perrella was urged by Jones to go for the knockout in the 12th and final round. It never came close to happening, with the lone trip to the canvas for either boxer coming when Harrison hit the deck after an awkward tangle. Still, Perrella closed the fight strong, in stark contrast to his collapsing late in a controversial 10th round knockout loss to Abel Ramos in his previous fight last February.
Harrison is now 28-3-1 (21KOs) remaining winless since a 12-round unanimous decision win over Charlo to win the WBC junior middleweight bout in Dec. 2018.
Perrella is now 17-3-1 (14KOs), his stock arguably rising even without coming up with the win.
The outcome marks the second straight PBC on Fox main event to fail to produce a winner. Anthony Dirrell and Kyrone Davis also fought to a 12-round draw in their WBC super middleweight title eliminator on Feb. 27th in this very venue.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox