Tony Harrison vs. Bryant Perrella: Showdown at the Crossroads

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It's do or die for former world super welterweight champion Tony Harrison and hard-hitting Bryant Perrella when they square off Saturday night on FOX.

This Saturday, April 17, a top star in the competitive, compelling super welterweight class meets a hungry division newcomer in a career crossroads battle. 

Live from Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles, atop a FOX PBC Fight Night and FOX Deportes card (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), former world champ Tony “Superbad” Harrison (28-3, 21 KOs) takes on southpaw Bryant “Goodfella” Perrella (17-3, 14 Kos) in a twelve-round “must win” super welterweight contest.

Also on the televised card, super lightweight rising star Omar Juarez takes on veteran Elias Araujo in a 10-round bout and exciting 18-year-old welterweight prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. meets James Martin in an eight-round battle.

The Story

Tony Harrison had been a player in the deep and competitive 154-pound division for years, losing one previous bid for a vacant world title before finally breaking through to capture gold against Jermell Charlo in 2018. He would lose the title back to Charlo via eleventh-round stoppage a year later in a bout that was close right up until the very end. 

Last year, Harrison’s life was shaken as he lost his father and trainer, Ali Salaam, to COVID-19. The proud Detroit native worked through the tragedy, dedicated to community service and to helping others devastated by the pandemic. He began 2021 with brother L.J. assuming the role of head trainer and renewed focus on reclaiming a world title. 

Perrella started out his career with a 14-0 record and 13 wins inside the distance in the welterweight division. With an entertaining style and the eye-catching Goodfellas-inspired suits he wore to the ring, the Fort Myers, Florida native seemed destined for stardom.

Since that initial run, however, things have been rough.

3-3 with 1 knockout in his last six bouts, Perrella ran into tough times against veterans Yordenis Ugas and Luis Collazo and then, in his last fight, suffered a devastating last-seconds TKO against Abel Ramos in a bout he was clearly winning. 

Despite impressive victories over Breidis Prescott and Domonique Dolton, a change was needed. The 32-year-old moved up to super welterweight and has added new trainer, the legendary Roy Jones Jr., to his team.

The Stakes

With both fighters coming off tough losses, victory is a must. A win for Harrison keeps him in the world title picture of a division in constant flux. A win for Perrella establishes him as a “for real” presence at 154.

The Matchup

Harrison is a disciplined fighter adept at controlling distance with a solid jab and smart, efficient movement. His best offensive weapons are the jab as well as a quick right hand follow-up. 

Trained early in his career by Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward at the famous Kronk Gym, the 30-year-old Harrison has very good form and has proven himself to be an unflappable combatant with a good sense of timing. 

He’s been pegged, however, with the reputation of fading late and often fighting without a sense of urgency, giving away close rounds to more active opposition.

I’m treating this fight like I’m 0–0 and this fight is for everything. Former World Super Welterweight Champion - Tony Harrison

On defense, Harrison is solid and reliant upon his reflexes as well as a very good sense of space and timing.

Perrella aspires to be a lanky slickster with whiplash power. He definitely has all the tools to be just that and is effective in that style against lesser opposition. Up until now, though, he’s been inconsistent against higher level opposition.

His jab, at its best, is sharp and strong and, at its worst, is more of a push. When put under pressure and/or forced backwards, he sometimes fails to sit down on his shots, something which diminishes his power considerably. A short right hook and straight left are his best power punches.

On defense, his movement and athleticism are helpful, although he can be pot-shotted on occasion and worn down over the long haul. 

Perrella has the raw material to be a next-level fighter, but he requires focus, precision, and a sharpness that may or may not come under the guidance of Roy Jones Jr., someone who knows a thing or two about being the kind of fighter Perrella aspires to be.

The Words

Tony Harrison

“I expect Perrella to come in there and do his best to compete with me. I’m treating this fight like I’m 0–0 and this fight is for everything. I’m just looking to go in there and do what I know how to do. Winning is the biggest thing to me. I know great things will come from a win, however I get it.”

Bryant Perrella

“I’m going to be stronger than ever. I probably should have been at this weight for a while. This is a huge opportunity to fight one of the top guys at this weight. He’s sharp and has experience, but I’m a whole different kind of animal than anything he’s seen. And now I have Roy [Jones] passing down his knowledge. Fans can expect an action-packed fight from start to finish.”

The Breakdown

Tony Harrison is the proven commodity in this matchup and, therefore, the favorite to emerge victorious. Perrella has several things working against him, including the fact that he’s moving up in weight and will not have the height and reach advantage he’s enjoyed throughout his welterweight run (He’ll actually have a four-and-a-half inch reach disadvantage).

But Perrella is hardly a no-hoper in this contest. His strengths line up well against Harrison’s deficiencies. Energy and activity will be the keys in this encounter and, given that Harrison is not naturally a grinding pressure fighter or high-energy battler, Perrella could win rounds by getting off first and using movement to avoid counters. 

Harrison will do what he does best. He’ll fight tall, score from the outside, and work to maintain optimum space and pace for his style. Perrella will have to work hard for his opportunities, but they should be there.

In Harrison-Perrella, expect an intriguing styles matchup where the underdog’s fire and focus will come into question against the former champ’s cool precision. 

For a closer look at Harrison vs Perrella, check out our fight night page. 

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