Chasing Greatness Outside The Public Eye: An Interview with Coloradoís ďTruth SerumĒ, Abel Perry
By Jesse James Forbes - The glorious rise to the top of boxing is simply not easy. For every fighter we see promoted by HBO or Showtime from their early fights and almost handed championship glory, there are countless others with just as much talent and drive trying to fight their way unnoticed through the ranks of the worlds toughest sport. These athletes donít get the magazine articles.. They donít get to headline ESPN cards. Because of a relative lack of hype, they canít even get opponents to stick to their guns and fight them. But just because they donít have the hype machine at their backs, doesnít mean they donít have the talent to make their mark on the pages of boxing history.
Article posted on 07.08.2009
One such fighter is Abel ďThe Truth SerumĒ Perry. He trains out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and even teaches his own stable of students out of a gym he calls ďPerfect PugilismĒ. He is also a remarkably solid pro, boasting a record of 10-3 with 3 wins by way of knockout. What the numbers donít tell you is that 2 of his losses were controversial decisions, one in the process of being overturned, the other a silent injustice, and that the only reason this slick, charismatic fighter hasnít garnered major media attention is his well publicized loss to James De La Rosa in 2008. One defeat can derail a promising career, and Perry has been struggling to get his name back into the hat as a serious welterweight prospect. He fights later this month on the ďLatino InvasionĒ card, put together by Zef Ramirez, and is looking to look spectacular doing so.
I sat down with Mr. Perry after a difficult training session to give perhaps the most deserving secret boxing has stashed in its wings a chance to talk to any potential reader and reach out to new fans. I needed but one conversation with the man to be a fan for life.
The gym is quaint but stacked. Itís not small, but not large, out of Mr. Perryís garage. There are heavy bags, a double-end apparatus. The wall is lined with pictures and posters, gloves and pads, protectors and headgears. This is the garage of a boxing fanatic. Mr. Perry is a total shocker from the standpoint of a journalist. His pictures are what they are: That of a large, well-built black man with several tattooís and a nasty snarl. He could not be more congenial when the mouth opens up. He has the soft-spoken voice of a jazz singer, and the educated clip of smart guy who didnít come from the streets. My affluent ass immediately feels more at home in this sweatshop he has constructed.
Good Afternoon, Mr. Perry.
Whats up, man?
Mr. Perry, you are on the cusp of a big fight, a second chance that you can use to begin a new life for your career. Can we get your opinion on your career thus far, and where you are at right now?
Well, my career has been up and down. I started in Vegas, went 3-0, had some management problems and an injury, had a long layoff and was forced to pick up in the Northwest. Everything went well for 9 fights. Had a big fight I didnít prepare for, and got caught with a big shot. Thatís what people are judging me by right now. Iím eager to show people one bad night doesnít always mean fighters are done.
Fans seem to hold the De La Rosa loss against you. What do you have to say about this fight?
James De La Rosa was a great prospect. Very fast and very good power. I didnít fight De La Rosa the way I normally do. We were two undefeated fighters, and he came in fast and hard and pushed me. I neglected my jab and decided to trade. We got into a pissing contest. Towards the latter part of the first round, I realized it wasnít working, and I froze. In the 2nd round, James De La Rosa took advantage of my mistake, we traded hooks, his got there first, and I got caught.
What do you think about youíre upcoming bout? It was scheduled to be a fight with Catskillsí own Jay Krupp, but Iíve heard that this is no longer the case.
Right know, I donít know if Iím fighting Jay, I donít know who Iím fighting. Jay said he wants the fight, then he didnít, then his team wants to take it. Now his team has our contract, but they havenít signed. itís a great opportunity. Heís trained by Kevin Rooney and has that DíAmato peek-a-boo style. Iím ready for his pressure, and Iím not sure he can deal with my speed, my jab, and my effectiveness. Eventually its going to come down to game planning, skills, and heart. Whose got the better game plan. I think thatís going to be me in every area.
What would you say to Mr. Krupp if you could look him in the eye?
Youíre team is very confident in you, and your ability. And where you fit into the welterweight picture. Iíve read you are in a class all your own. I donít necessarily agree with that. I would say Iím going to beat you down come the 29th. Iím sure heíd say the same thing. I mean no disrespect towards Jay Krupp. This is boxing. I look into his eyes, and Iím going to think I am going to destroy him. Heíd think the same thing. One of us is mistaken. I hope weíre going to find out come the 29th. Thatís what I love about boxing.
How do you feel about your new alliance with Zeferino promotions?
Itís new for me. Iíve never been signed with a promoter, Iíve never had someone who is willing to take that kind of a chance on me coming off my bad 2008. Zef, all the guys heís handled, heís brought them up well, developed them, gave them every opportunity and turned them into real contenders if not champions. Not all his guys have taken advantage of that opportunity, but I will. Everything Iíve gotten Iíve had to earn. I will take advantage. Zef made a good move taking on a man with my work ethic. Iíll do my preparation right, and Iíve finally gotten an opportunity to succeed.
Can we get your picks on the rest of the fight card?
Iím picking Camacho Jr. to go through Cardona in a solid one-sided UD. I was supposed to fight Cardona earlier this year, but the card fell apart and I donít think Cardona can do well with someone who is fast and slick and thatís Camacho. Iíve heard Hector is in exceptional shape this time around.
What got you into boxing?
My Dad was a practical self defense kind of guy. He boxed in Buffalo, NY, very limited Golden Gloves stuff, was into Martial arts for awhile. I grew up in Alaska, and there was no popular USA Boxing circuit in Alaska. When I turned 21, I went to Thursday Night Fights in Alaska with some friends. I saw these guys boxing, terrible fighters, and I looked at my friends and said I can do this. After awhile, my friends got sick of me talking, and said, go sign up, tough guy. Before I knew it, I had signed up. My first fight was against a person who is now one of my best friends. Ever since that first night, I knew I had found my calling.
You say that your greatest sources of motivation are your family and your faith. Care to elaborate?
Absolutely. My faith, first and foremost, is that of a Christian. A lot of people look at Christianity, and think itís a thing of declaring perfection and judgment. To me, its understanding you arenít perfect and you need help. I have to work harder as a Christian man, and I know I have help when I reach my limits. I have help to get the job done. To me, Christianity affects every area of your life. As a father, husband, and boxer, it allows me to give 110% in everything I do. But that ten percent extra, thatís from God.
I spent along time not being the most admirable person. I spent time doing stupid things and causing trouble, I went through relationships that didnít work, got into trouble, but now that I have my family, my beautiful wife and kids, my life feels complete. In order for me to do my best in the ring, I need to be content outside the ring. If I wrecked my car tomorrow, and my boxing career was over, I wouldnít feel like a failure because of my family. They know I love them, I know they love me. Win lose or draw, I feel like a success. That makes me fight my hardest, that makes me want to be deserving of this success Iím chasing.
If there are any Perry fans out there, or folks who are on the cusp of becoming believers, what would you say to them?
I would say, ďGet ready. We see lots of guys whoíve been handed everything since the day theyíve become prizefighters. Thatís not me. Iím not that guy. Iím going to fight for everything I have, fight from bell to bell. My newfound approach to life and boxing will be visible. On the 29th, whoever I fight, Krupp or whoever, Iím going to put on a pugilistic masterpiece. Every fighter has their coming out party. Iím going to make mine nice and loud come the 29thĒ
Tell us about Perfect Pugilism.
Itís a name Iíve given my home gym in the Springs. My trainer, John Martino, lives in Pueblo. Thatís a nasty daily commute, 5-6 days a week, so I train out of home some days so that I can be close to my family. I have my son with me. He works with me. When its all said and done, when the competition is over, I will train fighters, and Iím getting a start on this now. I have a small stable I train. Some compete, some getting in shape, some looking learn. Every day, kids come to my gym and they leave feeling like a better fighter.
The 29th sounds like Judgment Day for your boxing career. What keeps you grounded?
Iím doing the work. With John Martino, Iíve developed a much, much more efficient approach to the sport. I spent so much time in Alaska fighting bigger guys, and my fighting style suffered. Now, behind John Martino, Iím a big, strong, fluid, a true welterweight fighter, in every sense of the word. Iím going to make it show
Thank you for your time, and good luck!
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