Yamaguchi Falcao was hoping to get some revenge for an amateur loss to Christopher Pearson tonight in Las Vegas, but Pearson pulled away in the later rounds and got the upset, taking Falcao’s “0” by unanimous decision on scores of 96-94, 96-94, and 97-93.
Bad Left Hook scored the fight 96-94 for Pearson, giving him the final four rounds where he did some real damage, busting up Falcao’s right eye and rocking him in both the ninth and 10th rounds.
Falcao (16-1, 7 KO) came in as the favorite — not a big favorite, but the favorite. He was the Golden Boy fighter, he was the guy with the 2012 Olympic bronze medal for Brazil, and though his career in the pros has moved pretty slow (he’s 31 now), he still seemed the better bet, as Pearson already had a pair of losses, one a second round stoppage against Justin DeLoach back in Feb. 2017, which was his last fight on a major card with a major promoter.
Since then, Pearson had fought twice, once in Jamaica and once in Indianapolis, and he came into this fight without a promoter. But the 28-year-old former prospect got a chance tonight and made good on it, and Golden Boy’s Bernard Hopkins, who was doing commentary on the Facebook stream, expressed a desire to get Pearson signed to Golden Boy, who promoted his early pro fights.
“Right now they’ve got me as the B-side. I might come in as the opponent for somebody else and take another belt,” Pearson said of his future prospects, after taking the WBC Latino middleweight title with this win.
“I don’t like to lose. It’s a sad day for me,” Falcao said. “I didn’t lose this fight. I feel like I won the fight, the judges didn’t.”
Steven Butler SD-10 Vitalii Kopylenko
Often when you get a house fighter favorite winning a split decision over a veteran opponent like Kopylenko, there’s a lot of controversy involved. But I think the pair of 96-93 cards for Butler were perfectly fair, and if anything the 95-94 Kopylenko card was the most curious. It wasn’t terrible — Kopylenko was the busier guy and scored a knockdown, so you could probably make the argument, but I don’t see this as controversial.
Butler (27-1-1, 23 KO) banked most of the early rounds by my eye, but then he got drilled with a body shot and dropped in the eighth round:
Those last three rounds turned this from a perfectly decent fight into a pretty good one. 35-year-old Kopylenko (28-2, 16 KO) gave it a go, but Butler, 23, was able to hold him off just enough — and that includes Butler very purposely spitting his mouthpiece out to buy time during the scary eighth round.
This was the first real fight for Kopylenko since his 2014 Boxcino tournament loss to Willie Monroe Jr. He’s been fighting since, but against really lousy opposition.
“It was a really tough fight, but I’m happy to win,” Butler said. “Kopylenko came to fight. But I think I won the fight and showed my skills and power. It was a good fight for my experience. I need to keep growing up.”
Erik Bazinyan UD-10 Alan Campa
The fifth round was a tough one for Campa, who first developed a big hematoma on his forehead due to a clash of heads, then was dropped with a very low blow and had to recover. Bazinyan went low again in the eighth and had a point deducted. Campa was tough as usual, that’s his job, but Bazinyan was the better fighter here by a good bit. Bazinyan (23-0, 17 KO) fought hard to try to finish early, but Campa (17-5, 11 KO) didn’t go.
Scores were 97-92, 99-90, and 99-90.
“It was a hell of a fight,” Bazinyan said after. “He was a great fighter, he was very tough. I tried to land my right hand, but he was a slick fighter, too. I’m happy. I wanted a better performance. I’ll watch it later, I got the experience. I will give you 100 percent next time and give you a better fight.”
This was the U.S. debut for 23-year-old super middleweight prospect Bazinyan, an Armenian-born fighter now based in Quebec. He was very happy to have met Bernard Hopkins this week.
Alexis Salazar UD-8 Abraham Cordero
Scores were 79-73, 80-72, 80-72. This fight was meant to be at 160, and Cordero took it on short notice, feeling he would be able to make weight. He was not, coming in nearly eight pounds over on Wednesday, but the fight went on anyway. Salazar (22-3, 9 KO) won clearly, landed a few good shots, had Cordero (13-4-2, 7 KO) hurt a couple times, but Cordero did his best given the situation.