It was at the local library, in Lehigh Acres, Florida, and if and when one of the librarians ducked outside, to grab a smoke or get some air, they may well have been startled by a surprising sight.
Isn’t that young Bryant Perella…kid is in what, sixth grade?…..wearing boxing gloves…whaling away at a kid who looks maybe 2 or 3 years older than him?
Indeed; now 29, and readying for a faceoff Saturday night on Long Island, Perella was nicknamed “Stallion” back when he was 12. As in “Italian Stallion,” as in a kid who’s good with his hands who also happens to have Italian roots.
Perella chatted with NYFights as he waited for a flight from Florida to NYC, where he’ll touch down and get the game face on for his tango with Collazo, an ultra crafty veteran, who at 35 is having a late-inning surge. Collazo collides with Perrella in a welterweight attraction on FS2 and FOX Deportes, beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT.
“Absolutely, this is my biggest fight to date,” said the lefty Perella, 15-1 (13 KOs; last fought 12-8-17, beat 13-2 Alex Martin). “He’s the biggest name, this is a huge jump, but I’m excited to take on the challenge! How big a jump? Not too big, I feel like I’m superior, he doesn’t know it, the world doesn’t know it, but everyone around me, they know!”
This left cross by Perella stung Alex Martin.
Coach Michael Nowling, he knows it, Perella stated. The boxer was born in Fort Myers, lived a spell in Lehigh Acres, and now resides, single, no kids, in Fort Myers. Is he married to boxing? “I sure am!” he declared.
Now, word is there are a bunch of Perella cousins in NYC, and probably on Long Island. Bryant did some digging on an ancestry website and so we joked, what if a Perella is a fight fan, and hits the arena, only to be shocked when they know the well traveled vet Collazo, but also his foe! The fighter chuckled at the thought. “You never know,” he said.
Perella learned a good bit of the craft at, wait for it, the library. He’d get out books on how to fight, and then put theory into practice in pickup sparring sessions, at the facility.
At 15, he hit a gym, and in fact, sparred his second day there. The gym rats couldn’t believe he’d not been doing this a spell. He went 70-9 as an amateur, and turned pro in 2012. His first high hurdle misstep came in September 2016, when he met Yordenis Ugas.
He should have postponed the fight, he tells me, because he had a bad leg injury coming in. During a sparring session with a heavyweight, the big lad threw an uppercut that smashed Perella’s thigh. The trauma resulted in bone calcification affecting muscle tissue and he was hobbled going into the Ugas fight, but didn’t want to pull out. There’s another thing. Like so many of us with oodles of savings put aside for medical bills, he knew that he’d probably be faced with tons of medical bills, so he put off going to the doc, and hoped the condition would go away on its own. “The medical bills, exactly, that’s the truth,” Perella said. We agreed that our politicians in DC all have medical coverage paid for by taxpayers, but we the people don’t enjoy the same luxury, and that is bullshit.
Now, if you haven’t seen Perella, he is an active and aggressive sort. He pops the jab, likes to get into a rhythm, and doesn’t want to let a foe get comfortable. He sticks to the table setter jab, and will make Collazo work. He will drop his hands, but stays focused, doesn’t let his mind wander and thus get hit with silly shots. Perella isn’t exactly always a sharp shooter and we will keep an eye on the stamina tank. In the later rounds, who will look and feel fresher? The fellow lefty Collazo has 20 KOs in 44 outings, versus 13 in 16 for Perella, but the NY boxer Collazo may well have the power edge on Saturday, in the PBC event, promoted by Lou Dibella and Tom Brown.
Looking to the present and near future, Perella knows Collazo is solid practitioner. “He’s a tough guy, tough crafty vet, strong, smart, lot of experience. I’m good with southpaws, but yes, his last few have been his best performances. He’s a tough guy, but I’m excited, it gives me the edge I need in training. Is this a 50-50 coin flip fight? Not in my mind, as a fighter I am one hundred percent confident, I believe I will be victorious, dominate…he may have the same mindset, I’m sure he does. It’s about will and skill, let the best man win,” Perella said, in closing. “My prediction is this: I’m looking for a dominating performance, and my goal is to stop him.”
We don’t know about that; but we do wonder, will one or two librarians from Lehigh Acres and a couple random Perellas from Long Island be tuning in, with some extra interest, to the scrap?