WSB Star Chris Pearson Headed
To Olympic Trials
By Barbara Pinnella
I recently had the opportunity to go to Santa Fe
Springs, the ‘home’ of boxing trainer Danny Zamora,
to catch an interview with Olympic hopeful Chris
“Sweet Pea” Pearson.
Some of you might remember Pearson from the World
Series of Boxing, where he finished undefeated at
3-0. In the WSB he is ranked number three in the
world, and number one in the country in USA Boxing.
Participating in the WSB was a big step in his
career. “Fighting there gave me the opportunity to
fight the top guys in the world. I liked the fact
that I got to fight in the pro style. It let me know
where I was in the sport. I definitely learned a lot
and got a lot of good experience. I got the chance
to be in the ring with the 2008 Olympic Gold
Medalist (Kazakhstan’s Bakhyt Sarsekbayev) in my
last WSB fight and I was able to be victorious, and
that opened up a lot of doors for me.”
Competing in the WSB was the
first time that Pearson had fought without headgear and I
asked him what he thought of that. “I liked it better,” he
told me. “You can see your opponent better and it’s not as
“After the WSB ended I went to the U.S. Nationals and I won
that, which put me in the Olympic trials in the number one
seed,” he continued. “The trials will be from July 31st
until August 6th in Mobile, Alabama. If I win the trials I’m
on the team.”
And the team would love to have him. His talent has not gone
unnoticed, and head coach of the 2012 Olympic boxing team
Joe Zanders has had his eye on Chris for a while now. He
knows that Pearson would be a strong addition to that 2012
To improve his skills in that direction, the day I went to
speak with Chris I also got to watch him spar five rounds
with former Olympian Shawn “Manos de Oro” Estrada. The
bigger and stronger Estrada made for a formidable sparring
partner. On this day it was the first time that Pearson had
sparred with Shawn.
“That day, the first
time we sparred, I had to get adjusted to his strength,”
he told me. “The second time went much better for me. I
was able to use my speed to land combinations. I was
thankful he took the time out to work with me, and help
me get ready for the Olympic trials. He's a good guy,
and a future world champ.”
But looking ahead and regardless of the outcome of the
Olympics, this 20-year-old knows what he is going to do.
“If I make the Olympic team I will turn pro afterwards.
If something happens and I don’t make the team, then I
will turn pro at that time.”
While Pearson does like to hang out with his friends as
all young guys do, his priority is obviously training.
But he loves doing that, so it is not considered a
sacrifice. “I might go to a movie, but other than that
I’m in the gym,” he laughed.
There will be another season of WSB starting in
November, and Chris will be able to return to that
series if he chooses to do so, particularly if he makes
the Olympic team. “I would be able to be on the team and
still train in the WSB.
“Most people who know me know my dreams. I want to make
the Olympic team and then turn pro. I want to eventually
be a World Champion. That’s my ultimate goal.”
Every boxer has his
favorite fighters, and I was curious as to what names
were on Pearson’s list. “Definitely Floyd Mayweather,”
he answered quickly, “and Andre Ward.”
Two different personalities to be sure, and we spoke a
little bit more about that. “Floyd’s a good person, he’s
got a good heart,” Chris said. “But he plays that “bad”
role perfectly and makes you want to pay to see him,
whether it’s to lose or win.
“But somebody like Andre Ward, that’s who I want to be
like. Because you’re a fighter you don’t have to be a
jerk, you can be a good person. You just have to know
how to control yourself and take care of business.”
Pearson is well on his way to that conduct. Soft spoken
and humble, he lets his boxing skills do the talking for
him. Guided by the popular and talented coach Manny
Robles, Chris is continuing to hone his skills.
I want to wish Chris all the best luck in the Olympic
trials and thank him for his time. Also thanks go out to
Zamora and Robles letting me invade their training
session. Good guys, both!
Be safe and God Bless,
Viva La Raza,