Perez will head north to 154 pounds for the Boxcino Tournament.
Written by John Archibald, Resolution Sports
Unfortunately, boxing is a sport where the loyal tend to get abused. It is a game where fighters who actually seek the big fights are often avoided. It is also the only job in the world where one tough night at the office will cause everyone outside of your immediate circle to turn their backs on you like they never knew your name.
Such has been the case for Alex “Brick City Bullet” Perez (18-1, 10 KOs), someone who has suffered drastically from the politics of boxing. Perez has put in the work where he no longer needs to prove himself at club shows. He has nothing left to prove there. He has done everything he was supposed to do to put himself on a platform to make a run at a world title.
A man who found himself fighting for his life just after turning pro when stray bullets hit him outside a housing unit in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, all Perez has ever known to do is fight. And when he found himself battling a bad stomach illness on September 28th, 2012, the last thing he was going to do was pull out of an opportunity to fight on HBO the following night. Despite the advice of those around him, Perez stepped into the ring to face once-beaten Antonin Decarie as the co-feature of a HBO Boxing After Dark telecast. From the opening bell, it was clear that Perez was only a shell of himself, and the bout ultimately resulted in the lone loss of his career.
Fast forward two and a half years, and Perez now finally finds himself with a great opportunity once again. This time it is in the Boxcino Tournament that begins on February 13th as part of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, although it comes with a catch for the six-foot tall welterweight.
“To be honest with you, it was God,” Perez said of how he feels this chance presented itself. “I didn’t know anything about this tournament, to be honest with you. My manager hit me up about three or four months ago talking about a welterweight tournament – WELTERWEIGHT. I said ‘Yeah, let’s see what’s up with that.’ With a billion fighters out there, I didn’t really know if I was going to get picked. But remember, the key word here is welterweight.
“So then I get a call and was told ‘Listen, we have a problem. They want you, and they picked you as one of the eight guys.’ So I said ‘Alright, what is the problem?’
The problem is there was a mistake. It’s not a welterweight tournament. It’s at junior middleweight.
Perez briefly paused on the phone.
“You know how I am with that,” he told me. “It is what it is, so let’s get it. I signed the contract, and here we are.”
Perez is a man who constantly stays in the gym, so making the 147-pound welterweight limit has never been an issue for him, despite the fact that he is tall for the weight class. Going up seven pounds to campaign at junior middleweight did not necessarily make sense, but the Newark native quickly decided the opportunity was too big to pass up.
“I talked to my team, and my team basically said ‘You’ll carry your punch with you, and you’ll hold your ground down. You never spar 54-pounders, let alone 47-pounders. You only spar against 160 and on up.’
“At the end of the day, God brought me this opportunity for a reason,” the 32-year-old stated. “I’m not getting any younger, and all I’m doing is sitting around and waiting on these guys at 47. So I said to myself, with faith and prayer, let me go ahead and walk this walk. Let me take this path that God is leading me to.”
Perez is now working on muscling on the extra weight he will be allowed for the 154-Pound Boxcino Tournament, and he knows that a win over fast-rising prospect Brandon Adams (15-1, 10 KOs) in the opening round of the competition will put him right back on the boxing map, where he should be.
“I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity and work as hard as I possibly can,” he declared. “You know me yourself. You’ve been to my camps, and you know my camps are crazy. Now we’re going to step it up and make it even crazier. The lights will be on me every fight, and I love to talk to the world. I also have a bad taste in my mouth for the only loss I’ve ever had. At the end of the day, God knows, and those who truly know me know that wasn’t me that night (against Decarie). I still want to show the world. I still owe my fans and all of my supporters a lot from that night. I feel like I let a lot of people down. People say I didn’t, but I still feel in my heart that I did.
“I’m just going to show up and show out, point blank, period.”
Something that has also carried heavily on his heart is his right to redemption, his shot to right what went wrong back on the night of September 29th, 2012. Until now, boxing politics have not allowed him to do that.
“All they’re going to see is payback. All that is on my mind is redemption… And to be honest with you - pain,” Perez admitted. “People see me and won’t realize it, but I have a lot of pain in me from that night on September 29.
“I’m just going to take this opportunity and do what I gotta do, try my best to take the whole tournament, know what I’m saying? We’ll see what’s going on after that, and that’s what it is. I’m just going to take this on full force, and, God willing, bring this tournament back to Brick City.”