Heavyweight prospect Mike Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) returns to action January 18 on the season premiere of HBO’s Championship Boxing. The event, originally scheduled as a tripleheader, features the showdown between former super middleweight champion Lucian Bute and former light heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
Thomas Oosthuizen was scheduled to participate until a motorcycle accident rendered him unable to fight. His opponent, undefeated light heavyweight Eleider Alvaraz, is still scheduled to box.
Perez was last seen in the ring winning a tragic 10-round unanimous decision over Magomed Abdulsalamov. The effects of the pounding left Abdulsalamov with a blood clot in his brain. Doctors immediately placed him in a medically-induced coma.
The good news is that the 32-year-old father of three is improving, but his rehabilitation could cost millions. Perez will donate a portion of his purse to Abdulsalamov’s family.
Takam (28-1, 22 KOs) has knocked out three of his last four opponents. His only loss was to Gregory Tony four years ago. Perez destroyed Tony in less than a round in 2011.
Pascal and Bute had a date to fight last May, until a hand injury by Bute forced a postponement. Pascal (28-2-1, 17 KOs) stayed busy by stopping George Blades last September. The victory was his second in a row since losing his belt in a rematch to Bernard Hopkins in 2011.
Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) has been inactive for over a year. His lone contest was a tough unanimous-decision victory over Denis Grachev. Many are wondering if Bute has sufficiently recovered from the beatdown he suffered at the hands of Carl Froch in early 2012.
That loss was the first of his career and cost Bute his IBF super middleweight crown. Pascal has vowed to retire Bute with his fists.