Interview with “The One” undercard fighter Chris Pearson
By Nick Bellafatto, RCM Boxing Correspondent
Young upstart and Al Haymon managed fighter Chris Pearson (8-0, 7 KO’s) of Trotwood, Ohio is back in the ring to face Sheridan, Arkansas opponent Josh Williams (9-5, 5 KO’s) in an eight-round middleweight contest. This on the undercard of the biggest bout in recent memory featuring Saul “Canelo” Alvarez taking on pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
It will be the first bout for Pearson since his sixth-round technical knockout of Arturo Crespin on July 19th of this year that kept him unbeaten, and continued building his reputation as a fighter to watch at 160 pounds. Here is what Chris had to say.
NB: Chris you’re appearing on the biggest card of your career under Mayweather-Canelo. Even though to my knowledge it’s not to be televised, few fighters can say that. Can you talk about your feelings regarding stepping into the ring at the MGM Grand this Saturday?
CP: Well I’m excited. You know moving up it’s part of the process. I mean for a prospect like myself to be put on a card like this they obviously see something or want me to be seen. It’s cool, I appreciate it. But regardless of where I’m fighting, anytime I step in the ring I’m going to make sure I’m the best that I can be because it’s about winning. I could care less where I’m fighting at.
NB: Chris you’re under the management of Al Haymon which means that when the time comes you’ll have the opportunity if you stay the course to fight for the things most get into boxing for, i.e.. world titles. That’s got to be on your mind so can you talk about that and how you indeed stay grounded knowing that if you keep winning bigger and better things are in the offing?
CP: Yeah I think about it all the time. When I wake up, when I go to the gym, when I spar, when I do everything. It all revolves around being a world champion so that’s a huge reason why I’m in the sport if not the only reason. It’s about being the best. But I realize it’s a process and you can’t just jump to the top. You got to build yourself up, you got to get sharp, and you gotta grow as a fighter. And I feel like I’m doing that every single day.
NB: Can you set the stage for us a little by telling me how you got into boxing while growing up in Ohio?
CP: I initially got into the sport when I was playing pee-wee football and we had to make weight to play the skill positions, like running back, quarterback, wide receiver. A guy that worked with my dad told my dad to take me to a boxing gym to help me lose weight real quick. So we went and me being an athlete early on I took to the sport and I just developed real quick. They obviously seen something early on and I just stuck with the sport. All through high school and growing up I stayed involved. I was going to the Nationals and I won the Nationals several times as a JO [Junior Olympian] and as open fighter so I always knew the boxing part was it for me. I was just doing other things. Like I was still playing basketball, and I was still playing football. I never really focused on boxing until I left highschool and then college.
NB: You’re obviously learning on the job so how do you assess your pro career up to this point and what is it you’re currently working on to get better or become a more well-rounded fighter?
CP: Well I have all the skills to do everything. I can box, I can punch, I can trade. At this point I’m just becoming smarter. Learning what to do when. Knowing when it’s time to box, when it’s time to turn it up, when it’s time to change tactics. You know I feel like the biggest thing is just learning the craft. Everybody’s not blessed with the talent or the gifts so I’m thankful that I got all the tools I need. But now it’s important for me to learn how to use them in the right way so I can get the most out of myself.
NB: What do you feel are your greatest assets whether as a human being or whether as a fighter which often go hand-in-hand?
CP: Just being resilient. You know going through tough times and then still being able to prevail. Because you know boxing is a roller coaster. There’s a lot of ups a downs just like life. So when you get knocked down you gotta get back up. I think I have that in me to continuously push forward and get through whatever’s thrown at me. So that’s probably my biggest asset as a person and as a boxer.
NB: You have Josh Williams as an opponent Saturday who has a decent record and as well he lasted with an up and coming Jermall Charlo which means he may have a little something to offer. Do you know anything about him or how have you prepared for this opponent?
CP: I don’t know, don’t really care too much. I feel I have an outstanding chin. I kept trying and got the knockout in the Crespin fight and I have to keep building on that even though I didn’t feel as good then. But right now I’m feeling way better than I’ve ever felt. I’m looking to go in and make a statement and get him out of there early. That would be great. But if he hangs around I’ll just dominate the fight.
NB: How do you prepare in general for any opponent, do you watch available video for instance?
CP: My coach does it. I don’t really get into that because me being a competitor I feel like I’m better than everybody already. No matter who they put me in there with I feel like I’m better. And that’s me just being a fighter, that’s just my mentality. I had that same mentality in every sport I played, that I was just better. But I have an outstanding coach in Al Mitchell who won’t let me go in there blind. You know he watches film and stuff on guys and then he brings things to the gym we need to work on. So I usually don’t have to watch the film he does.
NB: Again your obviously a work in progress so I’m wondering do you have job other than boxing to cover day-to-day expenses?
CP: Not at all, boxing is it.
NB: You’re young at 22 years of age but you’re beginning to make your way through this sport. That said, where do you see yourself in maybe three years down the road?
CP: Definitely a world champion maybe in multiple weight classes. But you know it’s a journey so we’ll see. I’ll just have to take it one day at a time and each time I step out I’ll try to be the best I can be to give myself the best chance at being successful.
NB: Lastly, who do you admire in the sport or who might you have patterned yourself after style wise as a southpaw, to maybe have incorporated certain moves whether a current or past fighter?
CP: Definitely I watched a lot of Pernell Whitaker, and I was the biggest Roy Jones Jr. fan for about four or five years. And then I started really really idolizing Floyd. Then towards the end of my amateur career I started studying Andre Ward a lot. So I’ve studied a lot of great fighters. But more so I pattern myself like a Ward I guess, with maybe a little bit more raw talent, and maybe I’m a bigger puncher. But we’ll see as I move up. I definitely try to watch the best guys and try pick things from them and add them to my arsenal so I can be the best that I can be.
NB: Well hopefully you will be the best then you can get me into the MGM Grand. They keep turning me down.
CP: Ah man. One day
NB: Now you’re not on the televised portion this Saturday are you?
CP: From what I understand we’re on Showtime Extreme.
NB: Well in that case I’ll look for you. Chris thanks so much and good luck this Saturday
CP: Thank you, I really appreciate it.