Someone's "0" had to go (!), and it did, as Magomed Abdusalamov lost for the first time as a pro tonight on HBO, falling to fellow unbeaten prospect Mike Perez, a Cuban now fighting out of Cork, Ireland, in an exciting and hard-hitting heavyweight bout that went 10 full rounds, against all odds.
Perez (20-0, 12 KO) came out fast, perhaps hoping to catch the slow-starting Abdusalamov (18-1, 18 KO) cold, but though he did wobble Abdusalamov a couple times in the first round, he didn't put him down. That would be a theme for the night. Abdusalamov battled back in the next few rounds, but eventually Perez started beating him up pretty badly, and Abdusalamov's face told the tale, as he wondered at various times in his corner if his nose was broken or his face was swollen. His face was definitely swollen, and by the end of the fight, there definitely looked to be something broken on the left side of his face, perhaps an orbital bone, perhaps something else.
But Abdusalamov stayed in the fight, despite tiring and being physically damaged throughout, and it's not as if Perez didn't try to put him away. Both men showed a lot of heart and a lot of toughness, plus a pair of good chins and some power, taking one another's best shots and soldiering on. Perez was just too well-rounded a fighter, and won a decision on scores of 97-92, 97-92, and 95-94. BLH had it 96-93 for Perez.