By Keith Idec
Gary Shaw still believes Thomas Dulorme has the skills to become a junior welterweight world champion.
Dulorme’s promoter also realizes Dulorme won’t reach his vast potential if he doesn’t defeat Karim Mayfield on Saturday night in Atlantic City.
“He lost once on HBO,” Shaw said. “He can’t afford another loss on HBO. It’s an interesting fight, but it’s one that he has to win.”
Argentina’s Carlos Abregu stopped Dulorme during the seventh round the last time Dulorme appeared on the premium cable network. Puerto Rico’s Dulorme was winning that welterweight bout by the same score, 57-56, on all three scorecards at the time their October 2012 fight in Verona, N.Y., was halted by referee Benjy Esteves.
The rugged Abregu (35-1, 28 KOs) dropped Dulorme once apiece in the third and seventh rounds. Jose Bonilla, Dulorme’s former trainer, told Esteves to stop the fight following the seventh-round knockdown.
Overconfidence, according to Shaw, led to Dulorme’s downfall against Abregu.
“I don’t believe he was in over his head,” Shaw said, refuting what some suggested following Dulorme’s first professional defeat. “He was leading on all the scorecards, and that was after the knockdown [in the third round]. Sometimes fighters read their own press clippings and they start to believe everything. I think that maybe if he wasn’t that confident and he had more respect for Abregu, the outcome may have been different. It was a major setback.”
The 24-year-old Dulorme (20-1, 14 KOs) has won four straight fights since Abregu beat him, but each of those wins came against carefully selected foes. San Francisco’s Mayfield (18-0-1, 11 KOs) owns a unanimous-decision win over Mauricio Herrera (20-4, 7 KOs), whom the 33-year-old Mayfield out-boxed in a 10-rounder the same night Dulorme lost to Abregu at Turning Stone Resort Casino.
“He’s a rugged fighter,” Shaw said of Mayfield. “He’s got a good trainer [Virgil Hunter] and he has a good pedigree. I just don’t think he’s in Dulorme’s class. I still believe Dulorme’s a world-class fighter. And I don’t believe Mayfield’s a world-class fighter.”
Shaw thinks Dulorme’s switch from Bonilla, his longtime trainer and still his co-manager, to Robert Garcia also should show in his performance Saturday night. Dulorme, who moved back down from welterweight to junior welterweight following the Abregu bout, began training nearly two months ago at Garcia’s gym in Oxnard, Calif.
“I hope he learned to circle the right way,” Shaw said. “He was winning the [Abregu] fight, and then he circled into Abregu’s power. I call that kind of a rookie mistake. I think with this fight, you’ve got two different styles. Mayfield is more of a brawler. Dulorme is more of a technical fighter. He’s got a great jab, he’s faster, has good movement. The question will be who will be the offensive fighter? Will it be Mayfield walking Dulorme back? Or will it be Dulorme walking Mayfield back?”
The 10-rounder between Dulorme and Mayfield will open HBO’s two-bout broadcast Saturday night at 10 p.m. from Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom in Atlantic City. Unbeaten Russian knockout artist Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KOs) will defend his WBO light heavyweight title against Chicago’s Cedric Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs) in this “Boxing After Dark” main event.
For tickets ($26-$152) to the eight-bout card, visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-736-1420.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.