Wednesday, February 21, 2024  |


Chris Pearson, Badou Jack on Erislandy Lara-Ishe Smith card

Fighters Network



Junior middleweight Chris Pearson and super middleweight Badou Jack will appear in support of a 154-pound clash between title challenger Erislandy Lara and former beltholder Ishe Smith on Dec. 12 at the Illusions Theater at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, Mayweather Promotions announced on Monday.

A former IBF titleholder who is THE RING’s No. 7-rated junior middleweight, Smith (26-6, 12 knockouts) was originally scheduled to face the No. 2 rated Lara (19-2-2, 12 KOs) on May 2. But Lara took an opportunity to face Canelo Alvarez, which the southpaw lost by disputed split decision in July.

Smith, 36, dethroned Cornelius Bundrage as IBF beltholder by majority decision in February 2013 but lost the title by split decision to Carlos Molina almost seven months later. Molina lost the belt to Bundrage by unanimous decision last month.

“This is a fight I needed, the fight I wanted to secure my legacy in the sport of boxing. There’s a chink in Lara’s armor,” said Smith, who stopped Ryan Davis in the second round on May 2.

“I’m fully ready to expose it on Dec. 12. I’ve always played the underdog role. I love when people count me out. I will become a two-time champion, crowned a champion again for the greatest city in the world, Las Vegas.”

Prior to facing Alvarez, Lara rose from knockdowns in the fourth and ninth rounds en route to a 10th-round knockout of Alfredo Angulo in June 2013. Lara’s following fight was last December, when he floored Austin Trout in the 11th-round of a unanimous decision victory.

“This is a fight I wanted and I’m happy that it’s finally going to happen. We’ve had words in the past but now, it’s time to see who the better fighter is. I’m the champion,” said Lara, 31.

“Ishe Smith is going to realize that I’m on another level once he steps in the ring with me. I have a great team behind me and you’re going to see the best junior middleweight in the world in the ring on Dec. 12. Make no mistakes about it; I’m coming to dominate.”

Lara and Smith will clash as part of an event entitled “Lonestar Battle” and will feature Pearson (11-0, 9 KOs) opposite Steve Martinez (15-1, 12 KOs), as well as Jack (17-1-1, 11 KOs) against an opponent to be determined.

A 24-year-old southpaw, Pearson had stopped eight consecutive opponents entering his last bout, a split decision victory over Lanardo Tyner in February.

“I’m thankful for another opportunity to showcase my talents,” said Pearson. “I believe success is when opportunity meets preparation and I’m prepared. I will allow my performance to tell the rest of the story.”

Martinez, 24, could offer a stiff test for Pearson, having scored knockouts in his past two fights and three of his last four since falling by split decision to Denis Douglin in January 2012.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to fight on Showtime,” said Martinez, who is coming off a fifth-round technical knockout over Antonio Chaves Fernandez in May.

“Chris Pearson is a great prospect and my dream was always to fight the best in my division. This is the second go-around for this fight. My respect to Mayweather Promotions who kept their word and put this fight together again.”

Jack was last in action for a unanimous decision over Jason Escalera in August to bounce back from a 61-second stoppage loss to Derek Edwards in February.

“I’m very excited to get back in action,” said Jack, 31. “I’m ready to put on a fan-friendly fight in a great fight town.”



After winning last Friday’s bloody unanimous decision over rugged Monty Meza Clay, lightweight Rod Salka (20-4, 3 KOs) wants a shot at a fighter within either THE RING’s 130 or 135-pound rankings.

In victory over Meza Clay, Salka, ended his opponent’s eight-bout winning streak that included three knockouts. Meza Clay was also coming off August’s 10th round stoppage victory over Alan Herrera.

Salka, 31, bounced back from from a second-round knockout loss to RING junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia in their 142-pound, non-title bout in August.

Prior to facing Garcia, Salka dropped previously unbeaten Alexei Collado in the third round en route to an upset unanimous decision victory in April.

The win over Collado had followed a majority decision loss to Ricardo Alvarez, the older brother of RING No. 1-rated junior middleweight Canelo Alvarez.

A couple of boxers Salka would like to test himself against are former beltholder Orlando Salido and Javier Fortuna, THE RING’s No. 9- and No. 10-rated 130 pounders.

“That’s the fight that I want is Javier Fortuna. That’s the fight that I’ve been talking about. I would very much like to get that fight, Javier Fortuna. I think that it would be a very interesting fight. Salido is a beast also,” said Salka, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

“But the thing is, that at 130 or 135, [Fortuna]’s not that much bigger or stronger than me. I don’t know if he would be able to manhandle me like has those smaller 126-pounders. But I think that that would be a great fight too because I box. I don’t sit there and run. I throw combinations. I would be excited to get in there with any of those guys.”