By Jake Donovan
Gifted former amateur standout Chris Pearson picked up the second win of his young career, forced to go the distance in earning a unanimous decision win over awkward Cleven Ishe in their four-round bout Friday evening at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
The bout came off cameras on the undercard of a terrific lightweight doubleheader on Showtime’s Shobox: The New Generation series. While there’s no question that Pearson will one way appear on the series, the 21-year old gained a valuable learning experience just six weeks into his pro career.
“This guy was a bit awkward but I was happy to get the clear-cut decision,” Pearson told Boxingscene.com moments after his second win Friday night. “I was working hard to get him out of there, sometimes too hard. But the fight made me realize I just have to trust in myself to get the job done, and making people believe that with each fight I will keep getting better.”
The bout was a far cry from his pro debut, on every level.
Pearson, a highly touted amateur from Dayton, OH, turned pro just two hours away from home in Cincinnati. The moment, in which he scored a first round knockout of Steven Chadwick, came on the undercard of a hometown showcase for longtime friend Adrien Broner, who won a vacant title in a dominant performance against Vicente Rodriguez.
His second pro fight came thousands of miles away from home in California, with none of his friends accompanying him on the undercard. It also came against an opponent who knew better than to walk into anything big, doing everything in his power to go the distance and keep alive two other fights in as many weeks that he already has lined up.
Better now than later as far as Pearson is concerned, who prefers to be tested at every turn.
“It was weird for me. The first guy I fought, he seemed more skilled but that I happened to catch him with something big. This guy was more awkward. I had to analyze him to make sure I didn’t walk into something stupid. It wasn’t the prettiest fight, but a good experience and I’m thankful to get the W.”
Famed promoter Kathy Duva has a theory on matchmaking that no fight should be made unless the “A-side” fighter can learn something from the matchup. Pearson was provided with such a luxury tonight, less concerned about playing to the public’s expectations and more conscious of what it took to outthink and ultimately outfight his frustrating opponent.
“I’m glad to get in there against a fighter that can challenge me. On paper people thought I’d knock him. It’s a learning experience.”
Pearson is now 2-0 (1KO) with the win, and is guaranteed at least a slot on the February 25 undercard in St. Louis, a show in which his close friend and “big brother” Broner appears in the HBO-televised portion in a title defense against Eloy Perez. Another fight may or may not be scheduled in between. He has his own desires, but for now just shows up where his handlers tell him to go.
“With a bigtime advisor like Al Haymon guiding my career, I put my trust in him and just worry about the fighting part. I’ll be ready for whatever he has lined up for me.”
Be on the lookout for a full feature in the coming days on Pearson, who will serve as the next subject for Boxingscene’s “New School Pick of the Week” series.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]