By Jake Donovan
Less than 24 hours after a title fight in Japan produced a strong candidate for Upset of the Year, an equally shocking result helped revive an otherwise sluggish HBO telecast on Saturday evening.
Luis Carlos Abregu scored two knockdowns en route to a stunning 7th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Thomas Dulorme at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. The bout topped a tripleheader which also saw Karim Mayfield and Miguel Vazquez post wins in less memorable fashion.
As was the case for countryman Luis Orlando del Valle four weeks ago, Dulorme entered his HBO debut as a highly touted prospect from the boxing rich island of Puerto Rico. The opening two rounds saw flashes of potential brilliance as Dulorme took the lead against Abregu, whose lone network appearance was a points loss – the only of his career – to Tim Bradley more than two years ago.
The tide dramatically turned in round three when Dulorme hit the deck for the first time in his career. Abregu rode out an incoming jab, throwing a right hand over the top to catch the Puerto Rican flush on his jaw. Dulorme staggered around before eventually flopping to the canvas.
A second knockdown appeared to come later in the round, but was waved off as a slip. It hardly mattered, as Dulorme was still on unsteady legs and suddenly evened up on the scorecards after building an early lead.
The middle rounds saw Dulorme bounce back, though never to the point of convincing anyone – least of all his opponent – that he was in control of the fight. This much was proven as Abregu power punched his way back into the lead in round six, this time never looking back.
Abregu poured on the heat in round seven, sensing an inexperienced opponent suddenly struggling to keep afloat.
“He was too young and maybe with time he'll become a better fighter," Abregu assessed after the fight. The statement was perfectly reflected in the fight’s ending, which saw Dulorme suffer his second official knockdown on the night late in the seventh.
Dulorme once again attempted to rise to his feet and continue to fight. The referee gave him a long hard look, but his actions proved moot as Dulorme’s corner opted to rescue their charge from absorbing further punishment.
The official time was 2:35 of round seven.
"He couldn't get away from my right hand and I knew at some point he was going to get caught with it,” said Abregu, who improves to 34-1 (28KO) with his fifth straight win.
The bout marked his first appearance in the United States and HBO since the lone loss of his career to Bradley. On that particular evening, Abregu complained of an injured right hand. There was no such problem on this night.
The win came approximately 21 hours after journeyman Gamaliel Diaz scored a shocking upset with a 12-round points win over Takahiro Aoh in Japan. While Abregu’s name now enters the year-end discussion of winning performances in shocking outcomes, Dulorme is left to ponder life on the heels of a humbling loss on a major boxing network.
“My corner decided to stop the fight and I respect their decision. They were looking out for me,” Dulorme admitted afterward, as he falls to 16-1 (12KO). “I was controlling the fight but he caught me with a good punch but I came up and I was OK. I'll take this experience and learn from it."
Dulorme’s body language suggested otherwise. Four weeks after del Valle suffered a surprise points loss to veteran Vic Darchinyan, it’s back to the drawing board for yet another Puerto Rican prospect.
Meanwhile, new life is breathed into the career of Abregu, who continues the winning ways for Argentina as of late.
“I’m happy to have all of these great fighters in Argentina; they set a great example for me,” Abregu stated. “Fighters like Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez are great role models.”
Abregu gets to add his name to that list. The win may not rate compared to what has recently been accomplished by Martinez and 140 lb. contender Lucas Matthysse, but it still casts Abregu’s career in a different light.
There is still has a long way to go before he gains recognition in a talent-rich welterweight division – easily the most lucrative weight class in the sport today. An idea came about of how he can race to the top.
“My right hand feels so much better now,” Abregu revealed after the fight, referring to the hand problems he experienced in his previous HBO appearance. “So much that I would love a rematch with Tim Bradley. I’ll be waiting.”
In the televised co-feature, unbeaten Karim Mayfield continues the transition from prospect to budding contender. The Bay Area product racked up yet another notable win on the way up, taking a well-earned unanimous decision over Mauricio Herrera in their ten-round affair.
Scores were 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 in a solid fight, though one where the action never quite resonated with the dead atmosphere serving as the backdrop in the casino crowd.
Mayfield offered a wider variety of punches in this particular bout, an upgrade largely attributed to his time spent with reigning Trainer of the Year Virgil Hunter, who is best known for his work with super middleweight king Andre Ward. While the boxing display was impressive, it was his pure punching power which pushed Mayfield to the finish line against a determined Herrera.
The opening bout of the evening saw Miguel Vazquez rack up the fourth title defense of his lightweight title reign after scoring a 12-round split decision over Marvin Quintero.
Scores of 116-112 and a way-too-wide 118-110 for Vazquez overruled a 115-113 tally for Quintero in a painfully dull affair.
This bout made the card due to promoter Gary Shaw (who promotes Quintero) winning the purse bid, a fitting scenario considering the show itself was a leftover favor owed to the promoter by former HBO head Ross Greenburg. Vazquez lived up to his press clippings, hardly good news considering his reputation as a steady but boring fighter.
Quintero danced as hard as he could, offering arguably the best performance of his disappointing career. His efforts were valiant but fell just a tad short of yet another entry on a day of shocking results.
Vazquez is being groomed for a showdown with Mercito Gesta. The bout was rumored to land on the December 8 pay-per-view card headlined by Manny Pacquiao’s fourth dance with Juan Manuel Marquez. After Saturday’s performance, it’s doubtful that many will be clamoring for such a supporting bout on one of the few major upcoming fights left this year.
The televised tripleheader was presented as the latest installment of HBO’s ‘Boxing After Dark’ series.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox