Last night at the Robert Treat Hotel, in front of hundreds of hometown fans, super middleweight prospect Richard Pierson put on a show for three and a half rounds before dropping opponent Charles Hayward with a vicious right that ended the fighter’s night.
Pierson (11-2, 8 KO) was originally set to face Joshua Snyder for the New Jersey Super Middleweight Title, but Snyder pulled out only days before the bout. History seemed to be repeating itself, with another fight for Richard Pierson falling through last minute.
When presented the chance to fight the bigger man and former light heavyweight Hayward only days before the scheduled bout, Pierson accepted…nothing was going to prevent him from getting into that ring last night.
After the fight I caught up with Pierson.
“I’m feeling like a winner right now. Tonight was the first time Jersey came out to see me fight, and I feel like I finally got a chance to show everybody what I’m trying to do. It’s not about having my family, friends from the neighborhood block and people who watched me grow up there to support me. It’s about them coming to see me and say, ‘wow, I grew up with this kid, we stood on the same block together, we ran from the same cops together; now look, he’s living a different life.’ To see the crowd go crazy like that off the knockout, that was something special. Most of the people cheering for me would’ve thought I’d be dead at the age of 31. And for them to see me walk out with all those little children—whom I didn’t know—as my entourage, that moved me even more. They could see that you don’t have to be anything other than yourself. This is who I am right now; what you see is what you get.”
The win was Pierson’s second consecutive KO victory following a near 19-month layoff, though the super middleweight looks to be back in full motion in all aspects of his fight game—mentally and physically ready.
In his fight against Anibal Acevedo in February, Pierson didn’t have a chance to get ring time in as he stopped his opponent with a vicious right to the body at the end of the first round.
Last night he went out and executed as he was supposed to, fighting his fight and waiting for his opportunity; and when he saw his opening, he ended the night with one shot.
Richard Pierson demonstrated last night where perseverance, hard work and determination, and a sheer refusal to accept anything less than greatness can get you. At the age of 31, Pierson has a lot left in the tank and has the talent to continue to make a huge impact within the super middleweight division.
“Boxing truly is a mental sport. A lot of fighters will tell you that they had the best camp ever. For this fight I can honestly say it wasn’t the best camp. My head trainer and I barely were able to get together because of our conflicting schedules, but my manager Lou Esa took me to sparring, and he gave me advice as he saw fit. My last week of camp we had a strong week, and got in good sparring with Omar Sheika, but the following day my body felt like it was breaking down. Over the weekend I went to the hospital and found out I was coming down with bronchitis and a sinus infection, but I knew if I told Lou, he would tell me not to fight. I don’t pull out of fights, and there was nothing that was going to prevent me from getting into that ring. So I took antibiotics, and then I found out that Joshua Snyder pulled from the fight. When that happened, I figured it was a sign that the fight was going to fall apart anyway. Names started coming in for opponents, and I didn’t deny any names, all the way down to Gary Jones who is 22-2. But we got Hayward, and I prepared for the fight. Tonight I went out there and did what we trained to do. At one point I was having so much fun in there, I forgot about the sickness, my head trainer not being there through camp, and all the support I had at the fight; I forgot all about that.”
From when he first turned pro in 2005, Pierson has dealt with his large share of fights falling through and controversy, yet the rising star continues to plunge forward working toward the super middleweight championship of the world.
“My whole career I was thrown in there, fighting on 2-3 days’ notice. I looked at it every time as I was being setup to lose. And these fights I took on short notice, I went out and won, but also got robbed. But I quickly learned that if I was being setup to lose, I won’t lose regardless; I knew I had won the fights.”
Richard Pierson could’ve found excuses not to get into the ring last night—from the illness, to the issues with his head trainer, to having his opponent changed only days before the fight. But he didn’t utter a complaint; he focused on the task he had in front of him, and stepped between the ropes and went to work, emerging victoriously.
Outside of the ring Pierson is an active member of the community, unrelenting in his efforts to inspire others to make a change for the better. He believes in leading by example, and has become an iconic figure to the youth and adolescents. As he made his way to the ring last night, he was surrounded by his entourage of fans—local boys and girls, including Tavone Martin Hood—who had the opportunity to sit ringside and watch their idol and mentor go to work.
The future for the heavy handed super middleweight is bright, as he continues to evolve as a fighter and a person inside and out of the ring. Big things lie ahead for Pierson, with HBO and Showtime already making bids to have him on one of their fight cards in the near future.
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