As 1940s and '50s major league pitcher Preacher Roe once famously said (and as the film The Big Lebowski more famously adapted), "Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you." Highly touted 22-year-old Puerto Rican welterweight prospect Thomas Dulorme stared down the bear on Saturday night in the form of Argentine bruiser Carlos Abregu. And, as happens sometimes when talented but inexperienced fighters are willing to step up and take risks, the bear ended up with a full belly.
Abregu (34-1, 28 KOs) scored a violent knockdown in the third round, then finished off Dulorme (16-1, 12 KOs) in the seventh with another knockdown that prompted the younger fighter's corner to halt the bout. The end came at the 2:35 mark of round seven at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.
The Dulorme bandwagon will empty quickly because of a single unexpected defeat; that's the way things tend to go in sports these days. But it's not necessarily a fair or even correct response. This fight didn't expose Dulorme as a fraud. It merely exposed him as a fighter with a lot of room to improve, particularly defensively. And it happened because Abregu was a high hurdle for any developing fighter to clear, a heavy-handed, in-his-prime warrior who had only lost once in 34 previous pro bouts, against the excellent Timothy Bradley.
"We analyzed [Dulorme], and we saw that he was too young," Abregu said afterward when asked how he scored the mild upset. "Maybe with time, he could be a great fighter."
For about two and a half rounds, Dulorme showed all the markings of a prospect worthy of his hype. Faster and longer than the 28-year-old Abregu, with solid balance and footwork, Dulorme controlled the first round with his jab alone. He exhibited speed, fluidity, and a willingness to sit down on his punches in round two. Simply put, the Puerto Rican was cruising along without the slightest hint of danger.
Then Abregu, more savvy with his counterpunches than he's generally given credit for, rocked Dulorme with a sudden right hand over the top, and deposited him on the canvas with a quick right-left-right combination to the chin.
"I was controlling the Argentine," Dulorme said of the first two-plus rounds. "Then he caught me with a good punch. But I came up, I was okay. I wasn't in bad condition."
Dulorme looked in bad condition when initially drilled, his eyes rolling back in his head momentarily, but he did recover quickly. Still, his defensive deficiencies kept getting in the way--Dulorme repeatedly left his jab hanging out and his chin blowing in the breeze--and Abregu rattled him with another right hand late in the third round. Dulorme fell to the canvas moments later, but referee Benji Esteves ruled it a slip, costing the prospect no additional points while buying him a few seconds of valuable time.
By the fourth round, Dulorme's legs were back, but he was still a sucker for the right hand. That is, until he switched to a southpaw stance. Fighting left-handed didn't do great things for Dulorme's offense, but it did serve to blunt the attack of the Argentine. Dulorme even appeared to come back and win the fifth round. But he reverted to an orthodox stance in the sixth, and Abregu took advantage by scoring again with right hands.
Dulorme never lacked for confidence or determination, but he simply didn't have the technical chops to stay out of trouble, and Abregu caught up with him again in the seventh. A sweet right-left combination again made Dulorme's eyes roll skyward. Soon another right hand hurt him and prompted Dulorme to get on his bike. Finally, it was the left hook of Abregu that sent the Puerto Rican back to the canvas. Dulorme got up reasonably clear-headed, but his trainers sensed that Abregu had fully solved him and it was only going to get worse, so they climbed to the ring apron and Esteves waved off the bout.
"My corner decided to stop the fight, and I respect the decision," Dulorme said. "They were looking out for me."
While Dulorme's step up resulted in a backward step, the bear that ate him is ready to repeat his own step up from 2010, predicting better results this time.
"I feel so good that I want a rematch with Bradley," Abregu said, noting that his right hand was injured when he faced Bradley two years ago. "If I would have been in this condition, I would have beat Bradley."
Earlier on the Boxing After Dark card, junior welterweight prospect Karim Mayfield (17-0-1, 10 KOs) faced a next-level test of his own, and though he got the win over Mauricio Herrera (18-3, 7 KOs), he didn't do much to raise his stock. The compact, muscular Mayfield swept the middle rounds to capture a unanimous decision by scores of 96-94, 97-93, and 98-92. But he never seemed to hurt Herrera and got by more on athleticism than obvious boxing skill.
Meanwhile, the less said about the opening bout of the tripleheader, the better, as lightweight belt-holder Miguel Vazquez eked out a split decision over Marvin Quintero in a stylistically awkward 12-round bout. Quintero (25-4, 21 KOs) tried his best to turn it into a high-contact fight, but Vazquez (32-3, 13 KOs) wouldn't stand for it. And we mean that literally. Vazquez utilized excessive lateral movement, to the disapproval of the Turning Stone crowd. The Guadalajara, Mexico veteran did, however, meet with the approval of two of the ringside judges, who favored him by scores of 118-110 and 116-112, overruling a 115-113 tally for Quintero on the third scorecard.