On Wednesday, Bare Knuckle FC announced that Alvarez and Perry headline BKFC 56 in a 175-pound bare-knuckle boxing match in Salt Lake City on Dec. 2. The fight is Alvarez’s first since making his bare-knuckle debut at BKFC 41, when he won a split decision over Chad Mendes.
Speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, “The Underground King” revealed how the fight came together.
“Originally when I started speaking with Bare Knuckle, we wanted Mike Perry first,” Alvarez said. “That was the opponent we originally wanted. I was sitting on my hands for two years, and I just didn’t want to do something that people didn’t care about. Mike Perry had some momentum behind him, he had beaten some good names, and he was getting some momentum behind him, and I wanted to fight someone people would care about, that fans could get behind. …
“I don’t see a single fight fan, whether you’re a boxing fan, MMA fan, bare-knuckle fan, who’s not going to watch this fight? And I don’t typically lose these fights. Mike Perry, he’s the right kind of opponent to bring the best out of me. He’s going to come forward and try to hurt me, and when guys do that, when guys put me in that danger and make me a little bit afraid, something comes out in me. These are my best fights. This will be my best fight to date, because it’s the right opponent to put in front of me for it.”
The matchup between Alvarez and Perry had apparently been in the works for some time, but it was not made official because Perry served as the backup fighter for the boxing match between Logan Paul and Dillon Danis this past weekend. When Perry’s services were not needed, BKFC was full steam ahead with this matchup.
Perry is, too. During Alvarez’s interview on The MMA Hour, he called in to trade verbal jabs.
“You had a little banger with Chad Mendes, but I’m definitely steps above that,” Perry told Alvarez. “And you’re looking kind of thick, so I’m excited to see what my punches do to that flubber. …
“I don’t think this is a great matchup for him in boxing. I think what Conor McGregor did to him with the hands [says it all] — and that’s after he beat Rafael dos Anjos. And it’s bare-knuckle. Chad messed his face up pretty good. I just think — I’ll take it. Easy work. Easy money.”
Alvarez is one of the most decorated lightweights in MMA history; he won belts in nearly every major organization and has more career wins than Perry has fights. While things stayed pretty respectful between the two during this back-and-forth, Alvarez was a bit incredulous at the idea that he would be an easy fight for anyone.
“I’ve never been easy money, and he’s knows that,” Alvarez said. “He knows that’s silly to even say. Every fight I’ve been in in this manner, I’ve won. I’ve won them all. I’m not going to lie, the guy is big and scary. He’s big and scary to everyone. Even to myself. And that’s what gets me up at night, that’s what makes me excited about this matchup. He’s hittable, he’s big, he’s clunky, he’s very hittable, and when he goes against smaller guys, he does worse. The bigger and slower his opponent gets, the better he does. I’m not a big slow opponent. I’m fast, I’m going to move, and I’m going to hit you a lot. And at 175, I don’t hit like the lightweight I used to be. At 175, these shots are going to come hard and heavy.”
For his part, Perry argued that while Alvarez is very accomplished and a great fighter, there is a matter of weight. Alvarez is a career lightweight in MMA and his fight against Mendes at BKFC 41 was contested at 165 pounds. Meanwhile, Perry fought former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold on that same care at 185 pounds, and literally knocked Rockhold’s teeth out. But Alvarez maintains that he’s not Luke Rockhold.
“You think I’m comparable to Luke? You know Luke was not supposed to bare-knuckle fight,” Alvarez said. “You knew that before you fought Luke, that he was not a bare-knuckle fighter. Be honest with the audience. You thought Luke Rockhold was a bare-knuckle fighter? If you knock my teeth out, I’m going to spit them back at you, I promise. I’m not Luke Rockhold. I’m going to spit them on you.”
“I ain’t never been in a street fight I lost,” Alvarez added later. “I’ve lost MMA fights, I’ve lost wrestling matches, I lost a ton of different things in my life. Races, basketball, you name the sport, I lost at it. … But I never lost a street fight. And I look at bare-knuckle as a street fight. I’m undefeated in the street.”
Though Alvarez and Perry continued to trade shots at one another for the remainder of the interview, both men also showed a good amount of respect, with Perry saying Alvarez might be his toughest opponent ever and Alvarez saying that he likes Perry and that’s why he wanted this fight. And while Perry of course promised victory for himself, Alvarez wasn’t willing to do the same, instead only promising one heck of a show for the fans.
“I’m not going to sit here and lie – I have no clue [what’s going to happen],” Alvarez said. “Especially with bare-knuckle. To sit here like Mike’s saying, ‘I know I’m going to win.’ Mike don’t know s***. Mike don’t know what’s going to happen, and neither do it. But we will fight Dec. 2, and it’s going to be f***** bad. It’s going to be bad for me, and it’s going to be bad for him, and one of us will get our hand raised. But it will not be easy money, and he doesn’t know if he’s going to win or not. He has no clue. I might beat the s*** out of him. He has no clue what’s going to happen Dec. 2, and that’s why I’m excited.”
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