Friday, September 6, 2013

'Young King' Pearson craves crown


He refers to himself and a few others as the Young Kings.
They are the next generation of promising athletes and musicians from the Dayton area. They are a little younger than our current standard-bearers in the NBA — Norris Cole and Daequan Cook — but they believe time and their talent will take them to stages every bit as big, if not bigger, than anyone here has commandeered.
Chris Pearson, the unbeaten junior middleweight from Trotwood who is training in Mason for a Sept. 14 bout in Las Vegas, said he came up with the Young Kings concept:
“If you follow me and some of my peers on Twitter or Instagram, you see we talk about being Young Kings. It’s not a gang. It’s just young, positive males from our area who have the potential to do great things and be something special.
“We’re all young — guys like Braxton Miller, Juwan Staten, Geron Johnson, Aaron Robinson, (Roy) Roundtree, some other athletes and musicians. It’s weird we’re all from the same small area, but we have this chance to do something great. We feel like young kings because we’re living what we want to be living and already getting a taste of something special.”
Miller, the Ohio State quarterback, is one of the Heisman Trophy front-runners. Staten is the West Virginia point guard. But in nine days, no one from here will be in the spotlight more than Pearson.
He’s landed one of the prized undercard spots that will preface the record-breaking Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez title fight at the MGM Grand. It took less than 24 hours for the show to sell out and the nearly $19 million that was taken in broke boxing’s all-time record for a live gate.
“When I first got word I was on the card I was like a kid in a candy store,” the 22-year-old Pearson said. “I had wanted the opportunity, but it had looked unlikely because I hadn’t been fighting (because of recent eye surgery) and there were just so many guys they could have picked.
“I guess I should have had more confidence in Floyd. He keeps his word. He said he’d look out for me and he did.
“But now that the fight is getting closer I’m not looking at it the same way. I’m in the fight mode now and I don’t care where I fight — whether it’s in the backyard or the MGM. After I get done that night I’ll become one of Floyd’s fans and be in the crowd and enjoy the festivities. But first I’ve got my own job to do.”
A king, after all, needs a crown, and the 8-0 Pearson believes if he keeps the victory string going he’ll have a shot at royalty sooner than you’d expect.
“I’ve been telling all my peers, everyone around me, it’s almost my season,” he said. “The talent has always been there, but physically and mentally now I feel like I’m in a different place than ever before and my imagination is amazing.
“I know it’s a process, but I truly believe I’ve got everything it takes to be a world champion.”
Back from exile
Early this year, though, Pearson’s dream was out of focus.
Following a standout amateur career — he had won a pair of national titles and starred in the World Series of Boxing — he had turned pro in October 2011 and everything seemed perfect. He had signed a managerial contract with fight game power broker Al Haymon and then aligned himself promotionally, first with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and later with Mayweather.
Then late last year he failed a Nevada State Athletic Commission eye exam and was not allowed to make his Las Vegas debut. He promptly returned to Dayton for lasik surgery to fix three tiny holes in the back of his eye — a problem experienced by other near-sighted people, too, his dad, Milt, said.
The eight-month exile from the ring was disconcerting for several reasons: He worried some boxers who had come to the pro ranks more recently were bypassing him. He worried about being able to support his young daughter, Mya, who was born in June 2012 and was living with her mother in New Jersey. And, of course, he worried about how his eye would respond once the punches resumed.
“Remember boxing is how I eat and being out eight months was tough,” he said. “I sparred some, but I wasn’t able to fight. Floyd definitely looked out for me financially, but as a man you don’t want to ask nobody for help.”
He finally returned to the ring in July and stopped Arturo Crespin in five rounds, although he bruised his hand early in the fight and then suffered a cut when his opponent connected on what Pearson said was an intentional head-butt.
“Chris used his talent that fight, but he needed to fight smarter,” said Al Mitchell, his veteran trainer who has coached three U.S. Olympic teams and mentored world champs like Vernon Forrest and David Reid. “Fighting at the elite level you have to use your head.”
Pearson nods at such assessment: “I have to learn to listen better, to trust what I’m being told.”
For most of his previous pro fights, he has trained in Colorado, California and, most recently, Las Vegas. But Mitchell said there was “too much hype” and “too many distractions” with the Sept. 14 extravaganza, so he pushed Pearson to come back to Ohio.
Before one other fight Pearson had trained at Ignition, a gym in Mason that caters to pro athletes, especially NFL players, including many of the Cincinnati Bengals.
That has now put him under the watchful eye of Ben Creamer, a former Waynesville High School athlete and Wright State grad who has become his strength and conditioning coach. For over a month now, the two have worked together six days a week, sometimes two and three times a day.
While Mitchell’s old-school boxing practices work in perfect concert with Creamer’s training, both men — and Pearson himself — agree one of the best things about preparing here is being close to the Pearson family.
“Coach Al and I either go to Dayton and stay at my grandmother’s house or we go to Cincinnati and stay with my auntie,” Pearson said. “I feel real comfortable here. And Coach Al likes it. He sits and talks all night to my grandma. They talk their heads off. That’s all part of being family.”
‘Just the beginning’
Hangar 18, the streetwear boutique at 114 N. St. Clair St. in Dayton, will host a “meet and greet” session with Pearson tonight from 7 to 9. An after-party, hosted by WROU’s Faith Daniels, will follow at Club Aquarius.
“To have my city rooting for me definitely feels good,” Pearson said. “For a lot of years here I was just like a ghost. Although I was doing well, I was kind of in the shadows.”
As the Sept. 14 mega-show will attest, those days are done.
“When you’re a fighter, that’s the kind of stage you’re looking for,” Pearson said. “And I think it’s just the beginning. I’m ready to break out. Over the years Dayton has had a lot of great athletes, but not the superstars.
“Norris Cole is a very good friend of mine and he’s a two-time world champ but he’s on the Miami Heat and that’s LeBron James’ team. Ron Harper won a lot of rings, but he was a role player.
“Very few guys get a chance to be THE superstar, to be a guy like LeBron. He goes to Akron now and he’s a world-renown figure. It’s not all about that, but in boxing your success is all about the world stage and being a world champ. You want that crown.”
Spoken like a true Young King.

(Article via Dayton Daily News)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pearson has big fan in Mayweather


Floyd Mayweather is considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the fight game. He has a 44-0 record, has won world titles at five weight classes and is the WBC welterweight and WBA junior middleweight champ.
A year ago — after he pocketed $85 million for two fights — Forbes named him the world’s top-earning athlete. He’ll likely wear that crown again. His upcoming September megabout with Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas sold out in less than 24 hours and already topped boxing’s all-time live gate with nearly $19 million in sales. Pay-per-view earnings and all the rest is still to come.
Yet, according to this account out of Vegas, it turns out Mayweather does have a loss on his record.
The story involves Chris Pearson, the unbeaten Trotwood middleweight who got the TKO, not in the boxing ring, but on the basketball court.
As Pearson was preparing for his Las Vegas debut as a pro tonight — his six-round undercard bout with Arturo Crespin is part of a Mayweather Promotions offering whose co-main events will be broadcast live on Showtime — a colorful story has surfaced about the night he and Floyd faced off.
After a stellar 93-8 amateur career, Pearson turned pro late in 2011 and soon found himself based mostly in California. Eventually he began training in Vegas, as well, and that’s where he met Mayweather, who had been one of his fistic heroes as a kid.
“The first few days my coach, Al Mitchell, wasn’t there yet, so I just worked in the gym by myself,” Pearson said. “I saw Floyd there, but I didn’t say anything.
“But then one of the other guys talked to him about me and what I did in the amateurs. And he said, ‘Oh, and he’s a good basketball player, too.’ And that caught Floyd’s interest. He loves basketball.”
Milt Pearson, Chris’s dad, picked up the story there and gave it his own spin:
“They had been going back and forth at each other good-naturedly about boxing and then Chris happened to pick up a wadded up piece of tape and shot it into the trash can,” Milt said. “And Floyd supposedly said something like ‘you don’t know nothing about that either.’
“Well, Chris said, ‘Look, the best thing for you to do is try to get me in the ring, ‘cause you can’t touch me on the court.’ They laughed that off and Chris forgot about it, but that night about 2 a.m., Floyd calls him and says he’ll send somebody over to pick him up. They were all going to play basketball at the 24 Hour Fitness gym.
“And that’s just what happened, and they sent me pictures.”
So did Chris, who played four years of basketball at Trotwood-Madison High School, really school Floyd?
“Oooh yes he did,” Milt said. “Floyd made a shot early and started talking junk and Chris said that got his competitive juices flowing. He crossed at the top of the key, Floyd fell down and Chris pulled up and hit a 3-pointer. Then he looked at Floyd and said, ‘Hey Champ, it happens to the best of them.’ ”
As he recounted his version of the story by phone from Vegas, Chris was a bit more subdued: “Floyd’s an athlete and likes the sport, so he’s not bad. But I’m a little more accomplished. I really played basketball. I’m legit.
“But truthfully, all that means nothing. What counts is that basketball gave us a chance to meet each other and share something we liked, and from that Floyd and I sat and talked about a lot of things. He’s totally different than the guy you see before a fight at a press conference. He is an outstanding guy.
“And this has nothing to do with his status or him being bookoo rich or any of that. He took to my personality and I took to his. We laugh and argue about sports and we talk about serious things, too. He’s like that with some of the other young guys, too. He’s adamant about giving us knowledge about the game to help us avoid the negative things he went through.
“The best thing I can say about Floyd is that he’s become a friend.”
And he may soon be a business partner.
Although Pearson has a managerial contract with Al Haymon, he never signed with any one promoter. Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions has put on most of his first seven pro fights, all of which he won, but Mayweather has him under his promotional banner tonight.
Failed eye exam
Up until the end of last year everything had been going well, Pearson said. He was unbeaten, training alongside the best boxer in the game and he had a new baby daughter, Mya, (who soon will move with her mom from New Jersey to Las Vegas to be with him.)
But then he was denied a Nevada boxing license.
The problem? He couldn’t pass the eye exam.
“He had basically the same thing that Sugar Ray Leonard had, but with Chris they caught it early,” Milt said. “At the back of his eye there were three tiny holes. A lot of near-sighted people have that, but if you’re not fighting, it’s not a problem.
“Chris came back here to Dayton and Dr. Patrick Spencer — he’s one of the best ophthalmologists in the nation — performed the lasik surgery and he came back better than ever.”
At first Pearson admits he struggled both physically and mentally with the setback: “When I first came back I wasn’t quite ready and it took a while for my eyes to adjust. And it was hard watching my peers advance while my fights kept getting canceled.
“But now everything has gotten back on track and I’m ready to show nothing changed.”
Over the past couple of months he’s worked as a sparring partner in Big Bear Lake, Calif., for WBO middleweight champ Zaurbek Baysangurov and then moved his own operation back to Las Vegas.
This week he’s been spending time with Chris Wright, the fellow Trotwood basketball player who starred at the University of Dayton, played briefly with Golden State and now is playing with the Toronto team in the NBA summer league in Las Vegas.
Pearson has gone to a couple of those games and Wright will be ringside tonight.
After this, Pearson hopes to fight again in August or, better yet, on the Mayweather-Alvarez undercard Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand.
“I feel I’m a top guy when it comes to prospects so realistically, if I do the right things and listen to my coaches, I should be in a position to fight for the world title in a year or so,” he said. “I know I’ve got what it takes to perform at the elite level.”
Mayweather seems to think so, too.
“Floyd told me he’d like to sit down and talk about my son,” Milt said. “He wants to be his promoter. He said Chris is the total package in and out of the ring. He thinks he’s got all the tools.”
And that would include a cross-over dribble and an ability to drain the 3.

(Article c/o Dayton Daily News)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ignition Launching NFL Preseason Performance Enhancement Program

Who: NFL Players

What: NFL Pre Season Training at Ignition with Performance Coaches Clif Marshall and Ben Creamer. Included but not limited to: strength, speed, agility, power, position specific, flexibility, injury prevention, boxing and hand-to-hand combat.

When: Monday June 24th through Friday July 19th.

Training options: 5 days a week at 11am. Training sessions are two and a half hours in length.

Where: Ignition APG in Cincinnati, Ohio -- a training facility that has trained more than 200 NFL Athletes since 2008.

Why: Have your best preseason camp ever and be in the best shape of your career. Stronger, faster, fitter and better.

List NFL Veteran Defensive Tackles: Colts Ricardo Matthews, Falcons Corey Peters, Bengals Geno Atkins.

"I want to thank Clif Marshall and Ignition for the time they put in helping me reach my goals and helping me get ready for my season." 

                                                            - Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals, Pro Bowl

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Team Ignition NFL Draft Class

We're excited to announce our 2013 Team Ignition NFL Draft Class. Everyone at Ignition is so happy for all of our new NFL rookies. Take a look at where each of our players landed, below:

Khaseem GreeneChicago Bears – Rutgers University
TJ MoeNew England Patriots – University of Missouri
Larry BlackCincinnati Bengals – Indiana University
Collins UkwuMinnesota Vikings – University of Kentucky
Martavius NelomsDetroit Lions – University of Kentucky
Mario BenavidesKansas City Chiefs – University of Louisville
George WinnHouston Texans – University of Cincinnati
Etienne SabinoNew York Giants – Ohio State University
DC JeffersonArizona Cardinals – Rutgers University
Mark JacksonMinnesota Vikings – Glenville State College
Ray GrahamHouston Texans – University of Pittsburgh
Stefphon JeffersonTennessee Titans – University of Nevada
Steve GreerWashington Redskins – University of Virginia
Casey BrockmanSeattle Seahawks – Murray State University
Dax SwansonIndianapolis Colts – Sam Houston State University
Demontre HurstChicago Bears – University of Oklahoma
Quentin SimsAtlanta Falcons – University of Tennessee-Martin
Taylor HousewrightCincinnati Bengals – Ashland University
Cam CheathamCincinnati Bengals – University of Cincinnati
Jamaine CookCleveland Browns – Youngstown State University
Maalik Bomar Jacksonville Jaguars – University of Cincinnati
Freddie BishopGreen Bay Packers – Western Michigan University
Josh KlineNew England Patriots – Kent State University
Zac DysertDenver Broncos – Miami (OH) University

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ignition APG Announces 2013 NFL Draft Class

We're excited to announce this year's NFL Draft Class that has chosen to prepare for the NFL Combine and their Pro Days with Ignition. We are blessed to have 29 athletes in this year's Combine Class between Ignition FL and Ignition OH. 

Meet our 2013 NFL Draft Class!


Larry Black –

Black is a defensive tackle from Indiana University and accepted an invite to the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game. He is tied for the team lead with 15.5 career tackles for loss.

Collins Ukwu –

Ukwu is a defensive end from University of Kentucky and accepted an invitation to the Texas vs. Nation All Star Game.

Khaseem Greene –

Greene is a linebacker from Rutgers University and accepted an invitation to the 2012 Senior Bowl. He’s a 2012 AP All-American, 2012 Walter Camp All-American, Two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and 2012 All-Big East 1st Team.

TJ Moe –

Moe is a wide receiver from University of Missouri and accepted an invitation to the Texas vs. Nation All Star Game. He was a 2012 Team Captain and 2011
Honorable Mention All-Big 12.

Martavius Neloms –

Neloms is a defensive back from University of Kentucky and accepted and invitation to the Texas vs. Nation All Star Game

Mario Benavides –

Benavides is an offensive lineman from University of Louisville and accepted an invitation to the NFLPA All Star Game. He made 2012 1st Team All-Big East, was a Team Captain and was a 2012 Rimington Trophy Award Finalist.

George Winn –

Winn is a running back from University of Cincinnati and accepted an invitation to the Texas vs. Nation All Star Game. He made 2012 All-Big East 2nd Team, finished with 1,235 yards and 12 touchdowns, and is 2nd in rushing yards for the Big East.

Etienne Sabino –

Sabino is a linebacker from Ohio State University, and made 2012 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention.

DC Jefferson –

Jefferson is a tight end from Rutgers University and accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game.

Mark Jackson –

Jackson is an offensive lineman from Glenville State College and accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. He was a 2012 Team Captain, 2012 All-WVIAC 1st Team, and AFCA Coaches 1st Team All-American.

Ray Graham –

Graham is a running back from University of Pittsburgh and accepted an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. He was 2012 All-Big East 1st Team, and 2nd on Pitt’s All-Time rushing list with 3,271 career rushing yards.

Stefphon Jefferson –

Jefferson is a running back from University of Nevada. He’s 2012 AP All-American 3rd Team, 2012 Walter Camp All-America 2nd Team, 2nd in the nation in rushing with 141.92 yards per game, and second all-time in Mountain West single-season history with 1,703 yards this year.

Casey Brockman –

Brockman is a quarterback from Murray State University and accepted an invitation to the Raycom All Star Game. He made 2012 All-OVC 1st Team. Brockman leads the OVC in attempts, completions, yards and total offense. He leads the FCS in completions and completions per game (32.64), and ranks second in passing yards and total offense per game (345.64).

Steven Greer –

Greer is a linebacker from University of Virginia. He made 2012 Coaches All-ACC 2nd Team, 2012 All-ACC First Team, and is ranked No. 1 among active ACC players in career tackles in 2012 and Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o was the only active BCS player with more career tackles.

Dax Swanson –

Swanson is a cornerback from Sam Houston State. He’s an All-American and also an NFL Combine invitee. He made the All-Southland Conference Team. He broke a school record, led the conference and was ranked No. 3 nationally with an 8 interception season.

Demontre Hurst –

Hurst is a cornerback from Oklahoma University and accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game. He made the All-Big 12 team in back to back years. He was also listed to the 2012 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List.


Quentin Sims –

Sims is a wide receiver from UT Martin. He accepted an invitation to the Raycom All Star Game. He was named an All-American, and also made the 2012 All-OVC 1st Team. He also set the OVC’s single-season and career receiving touchdown records.

Maalik Bomar –

Bomar is a linebacker from University of Cincinnati. He was a Big East Defensive Player of the Week and a 3 time Big East champion.

Taylor Housewright –

Housewright is a quarterback from Ashland University. He was 2012 1st Team All-American, a 2012 Harlon Hill Trophy Finalist (Division II Player of the Year), and the 2012 GLIAC Player of the Year. He set an NCAA Division II record this year with 377 consecutive passes without an interception.

Cam Cheatham –

Cheatham is a defensive back from University of Cincinnati. He accepted an invitation to the Raycom All Star Game. He’s 2nd in school history in interceptions for touchdowns. He also led the 2012 team in interceptions and is a 4 time Big East champion.

Matt Denham –

Denham is a running back from Eastern Kentucky University. He was named to the 2012 All-OVC 1st Team. Denham finished the 2012 season ninth in the FCS in rushing with 1,386 yards and ran for another 14 touchdowns. 

Hank Keighley –

Keighley is a defensive end from University of Toledo. He led the team in tackles for loss and forced fumbles. He was a 4 time team D-Line Player of the Week and a 2 time team Defensive Player of the Week.

Jamaine Cook –

Cook is a running back from Youngstown State University. He was a two time Walter Payton Award Finalist and two time MVP. He was a 3 time All-Conference 1st Team player.  On 20 occasions, he rushed for more than 100 yards in a game, the second most in school history. He set the school record for career all-purpose yardage with 5,220, averaging 121.4 yards per game during his career. He was also a two time Team Captain.

Freddie Bishop –

Bishop is a linebacker from Western Michigan. He made the 2012 All-MAC 2nd Team. He led the team in tackles for loss with 11.5, which is also 5th best in the MAC. He was also a Team Captain and Team MVP.

Drew Frey –

Frey is a safety from University of Cincinnati. He accepted an invitation to the NFLPA Bowl. Frey made 1st Team All-Big East in 2011.

Walter Stewart –

Stewart is a defensive end from University of Cincinnati. He was named to 2012 All-Big East 2nd Team. Before his injury, Stewart was the Big East’s active career sack leader with 17. He was also co-Defensive Lineman of the year for UC.

Josh Kline –

Kline is a offensive lineman from Kent State University. He made 2012 All-MAC 2nd Team.

Christian Robinson –

Robinson is a linebacker from University of Georgia. He accepted an invitation to the Raycom All Star Game and was the 2012 Defensive Team Captain.

Russell Ellington –

Ellington is a linebacker from University of Illinois. He has the school’s longest non-scoring interception return for 75 yards and his freshman year was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.