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Chris Pearson Upsets Yamaguchi Falcao and Other Results from Las Vegas

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  • Chris Pearson Upsets Yamaguchi Falcao and Other Results from Las Vegas

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    By David A. Avila

    LAS VEGAS-Christopher Pearson took the hard road but it’s a route he’s familiar taking and rallied from behind to hand Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao his first loss and win a regional title in front of fans and family on Thursday.

    “Nobody knows the trials I’ve been through,” said Pearson.

    Pearson (17-2) rallied from behind to beat Falcao (16-1) for the WBC Latino middleweight title at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. It was a battle between southpaws and a rematch, but this time as pros.

    In the first half of the fight it seemed to favor Yamaguchi who was the busier fighter and had beaten Ohio’s Pearson when both were highly decorated amateurs. The American boxer credited the Brazilian fighter with showing him the way to success.

    “Our fight took me to another level,” said Pearson about their first encounter.

    But in the professional clash, Falcao pounced on Pearson who remained behind a tight guard and seldom punched back. It didn’t look good the first two rounds.

    In the third round Pearson began rifling a stiff right jab that seemed to move Falcao backward. It stalled the Brazilian’s attack for a round.

    After that it was back and forth with each landing and taking solid shots. Neither fighter seemed to be hurt by the other’s blows but at times seemed surprised their punches were not having effect.

    Round seven was the lucky round for Pearson who began shooting strong right jabs that seemed to stymie Falcao’s attacks. From that round onward Pearson gained momentum even when the two clashed heads and Falcao suffered a gash over his right eye. Pearson was on the move and Falcao seemed to know it.

    In the ninth round Falcao began to tire and Pearson took advantage of it by going in full attack mode. In one instance it looked like referee Kenny Bayless was about to stop the fight during one of Pearson’s barrages but he let it go on. After 10 rounds the judges were in favor of Pearson 96-94 twice and 97-93.

    The come-from-behind rally was a success.

    “Like I said, I’m coming from a lot of different trials,” said Pearson. “I’m coming from the B side and I’m a take another belt.”

    Super Middleweight Fight

    It must have been Canada night as Steven Butler (27-1-1, 23 KOs) won by split decision in a fight that saw him start slowly, and suffer a knockdown against Vitaly Kopylenko (28-2, 16 KOs) in a 10 round super middleweight match. But he still somehow managed to win though it seemed he was vastly behind.

    Kopylenko, 35, was slicker and landed the more telling blows for most of the first five rounds. In the sixth round somebody in Butler’s corner told him to kick it up a gear and he erupted in the round with a volley of blows to win the round clearly.

    Butler, 23, battled back and forth with the Ukrainian fighter in the seventh but in the eighth, three body shots from Kopylenko sent Butler to the floor. He got up and clinched for the rest of the round. But he survived.

    The last two rounds saw Kopylenko get out-hustled a bit by Butler who rallied furiously to try and end the fight by knockout. The Canadian landed some big blows and took some big blows but did manage to win the last two rounds.

    After 10 rounds one judge scored it 95-94 for Kopylenko but the other two saw it 96-93 twice for Butler.

    “He was a tough fighter,” said Butler.

    Many in the crowd were puzzled by the judges decision.

    Other Bouts

    Canada’s Erik Bazinyan (23-0, 17 KOs) out-hustled Mexico’s Alan Campa (17-5) over 10 rounds to win the vacant NABO and NABA super middleweight titles by unanimous decision. Neither fighter was able to connect with big punches but Bazinyan was the far busier fighter and tried his best by switching from orthodox to southpaw. Nothing seemed to work against Campa who was mostly tentative.

    “He was awkward and slick. It was my first fight in Las Vegas,” said Bazinyan who lives in Quebec, Canada.

    A battle between Mexican super middleweights saw Alexis Salazar (22-3, 9 KOs) win by unanimous decision after eight rounds with Abraham Cordero (13-4-2, 7 KOs). Salazar was the busier fighter throughout but slowed a bit in the second half of the fight. But he was still busier and more accurate than Cordero who had some moments. One judge saw it 79-73 and the other two 80-72 for Salazar.

    Kansas native Richard Acevedo (5-0, 5 KOs) knocked down Mario Sosa (3-2) twice before winning by stoppage in the first round of their super welterweight fight. Acevedo trains in Oxnard, California.

    Photo credit: Al Applerose

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    This was a very good fight and one in which Pearson rallied down the stretch to steal the win. Pearson always had the talent and in the second half of the fight showed those skills. His chin and focus (he was talking to Falcao's corner at times during the fight) are still a question but he is blessed with natural talent.

    I thought Butler clearly lost to Koplyenko. Good fight and bad decision. Hope this is not a foreshadowing of things to come this weekend.

    Bazinyan looks like he could be something. Very smooth natural movements inside the ring and very fluid puncher with an excellent jab. Keep an eye on him, could be something really special.