Sakio Bika, in his fourth world title try, met Mexican Marco Antonio Periban with the vacant WBC super middleweight title up for grabs at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night. This time, he was charmed, compliments of his strength of body and chin. It was no masterpiece, as Bika is an awkward sort, but the judges don't give style points; they saw it 114-114, 116-112, 115-113.
Bika went 176-635 to 168-579 for Periban.
After, he said he'd like to fight Andre Ward. There will not be a clamor for that scrap, sir. Periban after called the decision a bad one, and said Bika fought dirty.
The Cameroon-born Australian resident Bika entered at 31-5-2 while Periban was 20-0.
That crown was held by Andre Ward, and the BC yanked it for "inactivity."
Bika was his usual awkward self. He throws wild punches and usuually clinches a good deal, though on this night the ref didn't have to break them much. Periban looked to choose his spots, not get into a rumble early.
The Mexican snapped a sharp jab top score points in the third while Bika looked to land a right hand bomb. His balance is an issue and that keeps him from throwing more than one or two punches at a time.
Bika landed his left hook a few times as did Peri in the fourth. It was an action round and I couldn't hazard a guess as to what the judges saw. Bika had a nice fifth; he was first and Peri waited too much. When he snapped the jab and interrupted Bika's flow, Peri had his best luck. When he looked to counter he wasn't busy enough.
Bika landed heavier, showier shots, it could be argued, headed into the later rounds. Peri wanted to maintain a distance to his liking but it's not easy to do on Bika, who is nothing if not strong and determined.
Bika was cut by a butt in the eighth and Peri was too, from the same head clash. To end the round, they traded roundhouses.
The ninth was sloppy fun, with a lot of wild swinging and missing and some connects, too.
Peri's manager Rolando Arellano, as in previous rounds, exhorted his kid to come forward, press Bika, take it to him. Did he do it enough to get judge love in the tenth?
In the 11th, it was another tight one. Bika, the more muscled man, seemed to throw more impactful punches. In the 12th, Peri buzzed Bika, who seemed out of gas. But he kept standing and returning fire, in a terrific action round. We went to the cards.