By Jake Donovan
Floyd Mayweather sat barely ten feet from the ring as he watched one of his prized prospects get knocked out in barely over a minute, and another survive the stiffest test of his career to date.
Minutes before Badou Jack was dropped twice en route to a 1st round knockout loss to Derek Edwards, unbeaten Chris Pearson managed to climb off the canvas to preserve his unbeaten record with a split decision over Lanardo Tyner. The bout opened a televised Shobox tripleheader, which took place Friday evening at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.
Both boxers fight under the Mayweather Promotions banner.
Pearson (11-0, 9KO) was slow coming out of the gate but picked up steam until running into a combination by Tyner late in round six. The flurry of power punches forced the unbeaten Ohioan to the canvas, bloodying his mouth and leaving him dazed in the process.
The final two rounds were fought largely on Pearson’s terms, though his superior boxing ability didn’t translate as sexy as Tyner’s come-forward style. The judges varied in their view of the fight, with Tyner a narrow winner on one card (76-75), while Pearson lost just one round – the round he was dropped – on matching cards of 78-73 in his favor.
While the margin of victory can be greatly debated, his team believes there was no disputing the end result.
“I feel that in the sport of boxing, when a guy gets knocked down, fans tend to hold it against him when they scoring fights,” Mayweather said afterward in defending the outcome. “I thought Chris won unanimous, and fought a tough customer.”
The bout marked the second time in Pearson’s young career in which he has been forced to go the distance, and also the second time he has been sent to the canvas. His previous decision win came in his 2nd pro fight back in Jan. ’12; the lone other knockdown in his career came three fights later, surviving a 1st round knockdown to stop Christian Nava in four rounds in their Aug. ’12 contest.
There was no quit in Tyner at any point in the contest. The 38-year old was competitive throughout, despite taking the fight on less than two weeks’ notice and with it taking place 10 lb. above his natural welterweight limit. Pearson survived a major scare but, at age 23, figures to be combat ready for when bigger fights come as he inches towards the prime of his career.
“It's best when a fighter is faced with a tough style early in his career so he can overcome those obstacles for later in his career,” Mayweather believes.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox