MANHATTAN BEACH, CA.-Seldom will you see the Fighter of the Year, the Promoter of the Year and the Knockout of the Year winner in the same room.
K2 Promotions, led by Tom Loeffler, who was declared Promoter of the Year by this web site, brought along his friends Gennady Golovkin, winner of Fighter of the Year and Knockout of the Year for various publications. They also brought Cuban powerhouse Mike Perez to the Manhattan Beach Marriott on Tuesday.
Perez (20-0, 12 Kos) meets France’s Carlos Takam (29-1, 23 Kos) in a heavyweight semi-main event on Saturday Jan. 18, in Montreal, Canada. It’s the first time the Cuban slugger returns to the prize-ring after his fight with Magomed Abdusalamov ended with that fighter sent to the hospital in critical condition on Nov. 2, in New York City.
“Mike Perez wants to donate a portion of his purse to help Magomed,” said Loeffler of the Russian boxer who remains hospitalized. “K2 Promotions is also helping.”
Most viewers saw an intense slugfest where both heavyweights gave and took with equal measure. It was an action-packed firefight that is seldom displayed in the heavyweight division. But that’s not Perez’s style.
“He’s a pit bull,” says Sanchez, who trains Perez and Golovkin in Big Bear Lake. When not fighting, Perez lives in Ireland with his family of four. For the last six years he has made the Emerald Isle home after departing Cuba.
Cuban fighters have a semi bad reputation as professional boxers. They’re superior amateur boxers but their style has as much crowd appeal as four-day-old hamburgers.
That’s not Perez.
“I like to throw a lot of punches,” said Perez, who confessed his aggressive style did not please the Cuban coaches. “It’s one of the reasons I left Cuba.”
Perez has not seen any footage of his opponent nor does he care. He feels anyone that fights him has the problem.
Trainer Sanchez seconds that feeling.
“He can box and move,” said Sanchez, who trained him in the last fight but had much more time for this coming bout. “Sometimes when he boxes he gets hit more. When he’s aggressive, he does all of the hitting. Once the other guy feels his power then they start moving away.”
Kind of like Golovkin.
Golovkin (28-0, 25 Kos) doesn’t fight until Feb. 1, but he’s on track to be more than ready to meet Ghana’s Osumanu Adama (22-3, 16 Kos) in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The baby-face assassin made huge leaps and bounds gaining fan approval through the over-the-top efforts of his promoter Loeffler. Last year at this time he was a big question mark for both fans and television networks. Now, after all of the accolades and awards, Golovkin is the Man.
“It feels good, I’m happy,” says Golovkin with his usual smile and generosity. “Last year was a great year.”
Loeffler propelled Golovkin from a middleweight unknown to the most celebrated and exciting 160-pounder not called Sergio Martinez. It was a masterful job by the promoter who now will try to use the same formula with Cuba’s Perez.
When asked if he felt Perez was too small to be a heavyweight he answered, “Mike Tyson was smaller.”
That’s a promoter. Not only did he promote his fighter he may have dubbed his fighter Perez “Iron Mike” too.
For more information on how to help Magomed Abdusalamov go to: www.ring10ny.com
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV