This Saturday is fight #3 in the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight (200 lb.) tournament as Mairis Briedis (22-0; 18 KO) faces Mike Perez (22-2-1; 14 KO). The fight is for Briedis’s WBC title, and the winner will move on to the semifinals to face WBO champ Oleksandr Usyk. Briedis vs. Perez takes place this Saturday, September 30 in Latvia with a fight time of 3:15 p.m. ET. Visit worldboxingsuperseries for viewing options.
How do these two stack up?
Briedis: 32 years old | 6’1” | 80" reach | orthodox stance
Perez: 31 years old | 6’1" | 76" reach | southpaw stance
What have these two done recently?
Briedis: W - Marco Huck (UD) | W - Simon Vallily (TKO) | W - Olanrewaju Durodola (TKO)
Perez: W - Viktor Biscak (KO) | L - Alexander Povetkin (TKO) | W - Darnell Wilson (TKO)
How did these two get here?
The undefeated Briedis has been quietly building up a strong resume in Europe since his 2009 debut. He had a good win in 2015 over Manuel Charr, but his real breakout win came this April, when he defeated Marco Huck to claim the WBC title. This is his first defense of that belt. Ring Magazine has him at #4 in the division, and it’s easy to see why - he’s consistently been stepping up and getting tested, and he’s consistently passed those tests. Briedis is not as big a name, so easy to overlook in this tournament, but that would be a mistake.
“Irish” Mike Perez is making a move down to Cruiserweight after competing as a Heavyweight. Perez had a strong undefeated run going when he stepped into the ring in November 2013 to face Magomed Abdusalamov. Perez won that fight, but Mago was put into a coma in the aftermath and has been permanently disabled from the fight. Perez is just 2-2-1 since, and the specter of that event has seemed to hang over him - he just has not had the same snap he used to, and who can blame him? Perez suffered a round 1 KO loss to Alexander Povetkin in 2015, took two years off, then came back in the Cruiserweight division and won a basic 6 round return fight in June. This is a very important fight for his career.
What can fans expect?
I felt strongly about Perez a few years back, but it’s hard to deny that he has been shaken by the Mago fight, and I’m not sure a move to Cruiserweight is what is needed to get him back on track. That said, it must be noted that he was indeed small for Heavyweight, and getting away from big opponents like Povetkin will be a help. Still, momentum undeniably favors Briedis here. I’d love to see Perez get back to his best and take this win, but I worry that Briedis has too much power for him.
Prediction: Mairis Briedis, KO
Who should watch?
Depends if you can find it. Everyone loves a tournament, and this will set up a big semi-final fight, so if you’re following along, don’t miss this one.