Top super welterweights prospects Chris “Young King” Pearson and Justin “The Chosen One” DeLoach weighed-in on Thursday for their 10-round main event tomorrow/Friday, February 24 on ShoBox from Pechanga Casino & Resort in Temecula.
Pearson, (14-1, 10 KOs, WSB 3-0, 1 KO), who trains in Las Vegas and fights out of Dayton, Ohio, bounced back from his first defeat with a dominant decision victory over Joshua Okine last April and is stepping up in class and opposition, while the aggressive-mindedDeLoach, (16-1, 8 KOs), of Augusta, Ga. has won six in a row, including three unbeaten fighters in his last three outings.
In the telecast opener, unbeaten cruiserweights Andrew Tabiti (13-0, 11 KOs) and Quantis Graves (11-0-2, 4 KOs) will clash in a 10-round bout and undefeated up-and-coming prospect Saul Rodriguez (20-0-1, 15 KOs) will take on Chile’s Oscar Bravo (22-6, 10 KOs)in a 10-round lightweight battle.
On fighting Justin DeLoach…
“I have had my back against the wall before. I know how it feels. I perform at my best when I have my back against the wall. I know he’s a talented fighter and that he has power in both hands, but I also know that he looks shaky when he gets cracked. He’s an athletic guy, he’s fast and moves well, but I’m the more skillful fighter.
“DeLoach makes a lot of mistakes in the ring. I’m going to take advantage of that. He’s never been against a guy like me. He won’t pass through me. I’m simply the better fighter here.
“I have the better jab and I have the pedigree. I’m disciplined and patient. You’ll see tomorrow night, DeLoach is in for a surprise. The only way this kid beats me is if I’m going with the wrong strategy, but I know I won’t. As far as skill for skill, I know I’m at a different level.”
On training camp…
“I’ve been in camp since April last year-almost a year. I’m not concerned in the very least about making weight. I woke up this morning at 152 pounds. I learned from my mistakes. Every fight that I’ve looked mediocre it’s been because I kill myself making the weight.”
On his loss against Eric Walker…
“I struggled to make weight for my fight against Walker. I had to lose 20 pounds in 10 days. I waited until the last minute to make weight and I paid the price. I had no legs. I had him in the position I wanted him, but I had no energy to close the deal. I couldn’t deliver. I lost that fight on the scale. I learned my lesson. It won’t happen again.”
On tomorrow night’s matchup…
“I don’t think it’s going to be a boxing match for long. Once one of us gets comfortable with the range and believe we have the advantage, we are going to start opening up more. If he comes up a little hotter, I believe my skills are going to dictate the pace and make adjustments as we go. Boxing is the sweet science but is not rocket science. You get in there and you find the advantage. You do what you have to do, adjust and get the win.”
On working with his new trainer, Lucius Robinson…
“I had some differences with my previous trainer [Paul Williams]. I wanted more of the mental side of training, not only the physical. We just had different philosophies so I decided to change trainers.
“I’m training with Lucius Robinson now and it’s a big change-psychologically and philosophically. I’m really breaking down what I’m doing in the ring. I’m not just going in there to fight. As a young fighter you get in the ring and you just fight, but you have to do more than that. I’m learning how to use my head in the ring. When I’m hitting you, I know why I’m hitting you, where I’m hitting you. I know what I’m going to do.
“Learning the mental side of my sport really took me to another level. Anybody can get in there and get knocked out-that’s why I had my first loss-but who can really go in there and do what Floyd does? Break an opponent down in the later rounds. Master the sweet science. That’s the biggest change I had in my career, to learn the mental side of the sport.”
On his last three fights…
“I fought three undefeated prospect last year and I beat them. I fought Junior Castillo who has power in both hands. I went in there, I did my thing and I outclassed him. I got the knockout over Dillon Cook and then Dominique Dolton, who is a respectable opponent. I had a heck of a year.”
On his fight against Dominique Dolton…
“It was something that came together last minute. I was supposed to fight Chris Pearson but he got injured. I really appreciate the opportunity of fighting Dolton because a lot of up-and-comers don’t have the opportunity to fight a guy like that. Dolton was like a championship fight for me. He taught me a lot and took me to a whole different level. He was a replacement opponent, and my God, he’s a hell of a fighter.”
On his KO over Dillon Cook on ShoBox…
“It’s funny. I’m more of a boxer than a puncher. I don’t look for the knockout. I like to box. I think of myself as a boxer-puncher. I feel my opponents don’t usually know how much power I have. They underestimate me and I’m OK with that. My power catches them off balance.”
On fighting a southpaw…
“When you fight a southpaw, there are only two people you can study: Floyd Mayweather and Roy Jones Jr. If you watch tape on them you can learn a lot. It can help you develop your skills. I did my homework. I know exactly what I’m going to do tomorrow.”
On making weight…
“I never had a problem making weight. My body feels good. When I was with Ronnie Shields at the beginning of my career, I learned that if I take care of my weight early on, you can concentrate on training for the fight. So, that’s what I do. I make weight early and then I train hand to fight my opponent.”
On tomorrow’s fight against Oscar Bravo…
“I want to look good. If I focus on dictating the pace for this fight, the knockout will come. My punches will keep on coming and I eventually will get some damage done. I’ll drop him and then, I’ll stop him.
“I always look for the knockout. It’s just more satisfying for me. I like KOs, but I’ll be patient. I feel that Bravo is tailor-made for me. He’s never been stopped. So I want to stop him. Don’t take me wrong, I won’t be reckless. But if he’s there for me to punch, I’ll punch him and I’ll go for the knockout.”
On changing promoters…
“Top Rank wanted to sign me again, but it was my decision to leave. I felt I was not treated well. I felt that I wasn’t getting the opportunities I deserved. So I decided to sign with Floyd, and here I am, fighting on SHOWTIME. It was a good move.”
On sparring with Mikey Garcia…
“I’ve sparred with Mikey Garcia for years. He got me ready for almost every professional fight I’ve had. I would say we’ve sparred over 100 rounds. I’ve learned so much from him. I think that having him as a sparring partner it’s been a difference maker for me. It’s made me a better fighter.”
On what’s next…
“I’m going to get a title at 130 first and then I’ll move up in weight. I’d like to fight Miguel Berchelt-the guy that just beat Vargas. Gervonta Davis is at that weight too. I’ll meet him down the road. I’m more interested in unifying. I want to get the WBC title and then I want to go for the IBF.”
On training camp…
“I’ve been training in Floyd’s gym in Vegas. We were in training camp for a while. I think 135 is my best weight to fight at.”
On his opponent, Saul Rodriguez…
“He’s a good fighter. He’s a young fighter and hasn’t been in the gym with the experienced fighters like I have. He throws wild punches. If he does that, I will make him pay.”
On what’s next…
“I want to be a world champion someday. I’ve never had this much time to prepare for a fight, so you’re going to see a different fighter this time. I’m confident and feel like this fight is going to change my life.
“My dream was to become Chilean champion and I did. I always took last minute fights with two weeks’ notice and went the distance.”
On his performance against Keith Tapia…
“I kept my composure. I thought I was sharp. A lot of people didn’t think I was going to beat Tapia, but I did. Styles make fights and we were matched perfectly. Since Tapia, I’m much better. He was high energy and moved a lot. He threw me off of my style at first, but I adjusted.”
On his opponent, Quantis Graves…
“I watched some tape on him. He’s flat-footed and stays stationary. I know what he has to offer. I can adjust well. I got a good jab, a great body punch.”
On what’s next…
“I’d love a world title shot, but I’m going to stay patient. I’m still at Floyd’s gym and working hard. I want to be a heavyweight someday. I’d like to stay more active and fight more.
“If things go well, I’d like a title shot later this year. There are not a lot of American boxers in my weight class. I’d like to fight Beibut Shumenov. That’s who I want.
“I’d like to move to heavyweight later in my career.”
On his matchup tomorrow night…
“I plan on beating Andrew Tabiti tomorrow night. I’ve prepared for this. We’ve done everything. I’ve been prepared for this fight mentally. I’ve never been 100 percent for a fight, except for this one.
“I’m not worrying about Tabiti. Tabiti is worried about me. He has the title to lose. That’s how I feel about it. I’ve seen his YouTube videos, and I’ve seen the mistakes he’s made. And I’m going to capitalize on those mistakes.
“I’m not just fighting Tabiti, I’m fighting TMT. I’m fighting Floyd. I’m taking this fight very seriously.”
On his opponent, Andrew Tabiti…
“Everybody can look good when you fight guys that can’t fight. His last opponent, [Keith] Tapia was good. But who else has he fought?
“I have everything to gain, nothing to lose. I’m hungry. I’m not a pampered, spoiled guy. I have nobody buying me cars. I have a car note, a house note, two kids and another one on the way. I’m hungry. I have everything to lose…I’m going to do what I have to do.”
On his pro career…
“I had a great amateur career. I had some stops and starts. I had issues when I didn’t get signed with a promoter coming out of the Olympic trials and that stalled my pro career a bit. My professional career started off slow. I’m not as active as I would have liked to be but I’m a young 34. I’ve never taken a beating. I fought five times and 2014, and twice in 2015 and last year, no fights. I live a clean life and don’t drink or don’t smoke. I just train. Every day.”
Vacant USBA Super Welterweight Championship – 10 Rounds
Chris Pearson – 152 ¾ pounds
Justin DeLoach – 151 ¾ pounds
Lightweight Bout – 10-Rounds
Saul Rodriguez – 133 ¾ pounds
Oscar Bravo – 132 ¾ pounds
NABF Cruiserweight Championship – 10-Rounds
Andrew Tabiti – 196 ¼ pounds
Quantis Graves – 198 ¾ pounds