By Ryan Maquiñana
A pair of unbeaten prospects with crowd-pleasing styles will find themselves in uncharted territory on Saturday when Daquan Arnett and Chris Pearson travel to Sacramento for the first time to face separate foes.
The Fox Sports Net-televised card will take place in the city’s Memorial Auditorium, and both men spoke to BoxingScene.com about their upcoming appearances on the undercard in the California capital city.
FLORIDIAN ARNETT FACES RODRIGUEZ
Arnett (7-0, 5 KOs) has blown away his last three opponents with a daring style, standing in front of them and slipping shots en route to devastating finishes with the help of a heavy right hand and left hook to the ribcage.
Heading into his next six-round assignment against Arturo Rodriguez (12-12, 8 KOs)—a man 17 years his senior—the 19-year-old junior middleweight still feels that there’s room for improvement, even after his last bout, a fourth-round stoppage of Jesus Tavera.
“I’ve been working on taking my time a little more, and picking my shots better,” Arnett said. “I understand that every guy isn’t going to get out of there with one shot. I have to go to the body better and break guys down. If I use my levels and go up and down, eventually, I’ll get them out of there.”
For this fight against Rodriguez, Arnett hasn’t done anything special in training camp except continuing to sharpen the tools he already has at his disposal.
“I need to just keep getting better, faster, stronger,” he said. “I have to keep tightening up on punches and working on different styles. Overall, I’d say [I need to work on] changing my pace and getting better as an all-around fighter.”
With the Golden Boy and television executives likely to attend Saturday’s show, Arnett is aware of the impetus to put on a memorable performance.
“Of course,” he said. “This is a sport where you don’t want to just win, you want to entertain while doing it. You want to give the fans knockouts because that’s what they pay to see, and I understand that. I know a lot of people are going to be there in Sactown watching this card and I definitely want to impress.”
A native of Winter Park, Fla., which is located in the Orlando metro area, the teenage sensation has drawn motivation from another local fighter.
“I grew up watching Andre Berto go from amateur to a world champion,” he added. “He’s a pretty good friend of mine. I definitely look up to him as a fighter. I represent Orlando, so come out and watch me. I put on a good show.”
OHIOAN PEARSON MEETS GEDEON
Pearson (5-0, 4 KOs) has enjoyed a similar trajectory so far, utilizing a destructive right hook out of the southpaw stance to score stoppages in all but one of his first five pro bouts.
“Every day I’m trying to develop,” said the 21-year-old native of Trotwood, Ohio. “I’ve been a lot more seasoned since I turned amateur. The pace is a lot different, especially moving up to six rounds. I’m looking forward to becoming a world champion, but it’s up to me to put in the work to be in a position to accomplish these goals.”
The former U.S. national amateur champion will face fellow undefeated fighter Frank Gedeon (4-0, 3 KOs) in a six-rounder after knocking out Christian Nava last month.
“I’ve actually seen him fight in the amateurs before,” Pearson said. “He’s a tall guy, southpaw like me. He seems to have some good pop in his left hand.”
Training at The Rock Boxing Gym in Carson, Calif., Pearson has made the Golden State his second home after competing in the World Series of Boxing for the Los Angeles Matadors before turning pro.
“I think seven fights a year is a decent pace,” he said. “I’d like to fight every month. There’s only so much you can do in the gym, so I want to stay busy and step up. I’m not really interested in fighting four and six-round fights. I want to fight eight and ten-rounders, so I’ll be ready for title fights when they come around.”
Pearson’s last two displays of power have taken place near the middleweight limit, but he wants to make it clear where he plans to ultimately campaign.
“I’m definitely a ’54-pounder,” he said. “The guys they’ve been finding for me lately are fighting up at 160, so I’ve been fighting there, but I can make 154 pretty easily.”
With his trip to Northern California imminent, Pearson is preparing himself for a multitude of scenarios on fight night.
“My past few fights, I’ve been getting in top condition with my coach Manny Robles, so I’m ready to get him out of there or if it goes all six [rounds],” he said. “Overall I’m looking forward to the opportunity to fighting in Sacramento and making some new fans. I appreciate all the support.”
Daquan Arnett can be found on Twitter and Instagram: @Daquanarnett. Chris Pearson also has a Twitter account: @_Chrispearson.
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.