Compared frequently to a young Miguel Cotto, Thomas Dulorme is being hailed as the next great Puerto Rican boxer. Whether this is hype or he's the real deal, Dulorme's next fight against power-packing Argentinean Luis Abregu should provide some answers, along with some dynamite action as the main event in a highly competitive tripleheader on Oct. 27.
"I'm very thankful to be compared to someone like Cotto, he is a great boxer," says the 22-year-old native of Puerto Rico. "But I am just starting out, and it is not fair to compare me to someone like that or to Trinidad. They're my idols, and first I have to prove myself."
So far, Dulorme has done some fine preliminary work in that regard, winning all 16 of his fights and knocking out 12 opponents, while tantalizing fans with his supersonic hand speed and abundant power.
The comparisons of Dulorme to Cotto and Trinidad have some foundation. Like Cotto, Dulorme fires crisp, precision shots while working behind a thudding jab. He also digs extremely well to the body. The parallel with the great Felix Trinidad stems from the level of excitement Dulorme brings to the ring with his one-punch knockout power, excellent boxing skills, and charisma both in the ring and out of it.
Abregu (33-1, 27 KOs) also carries with him some national legacy, coming from a long line of Argentinean power punchers, including Oscar Bonavena, Carlos Monzon, and more recently Sergio Martinez, Marcos Maidana, and Lucas Matthysse. Abregu's only loss came to unbeaten Timothy Bradley in a fight in which the Argentine slugger was hampered by an injured right hand. Despite lacking his signature right-hand punch, Abregu still impressed many with his gutsy performance. Scorecards from the judges show that Bradley did not dominate Abregu by any means. Two of the three judges scored it 112-116, and 111-117, and the third had it at 110-118.
While Dulorme does not have the stature yet of a Bradley, he may prove to be a tougher outing for Abregu. For one thing, Bradley is not a knockout artist by any stretch. His record shows just 12 KOs in his 29 wins, and only one stoppage in his last 11 fights. In contrast, what Dulorme hits, usually goes down. The Puerto Rican's power is all the more frightening because of his incredible hand speed, which is comparable to the swiftest boxers in the sport today. "I work really hard at being so fast that it is hard to see my punches coming," Dulorme says.
Certainly Harrison Cuello, whom Dulorme knocked out in the second round last year, can attest to that. Even watching several replays of the fight-ending left hook that put Cuello down, it was extremely difficult to pick out the punch.
How Abregu deals with Dulorme's combination of power and speed could well determine the outcome of this fight. Despite showing improved defense over the past two years, Abregu is still eminently hittable. Only Abregu's strong chin and lion's heart has kept him from being knocked out, even after tasting canvas more than a few times. What was impressive about Abregu in the fights in which he was knocked down, not only did he get right back up, but he turned aggressor, throwing combos as soon as he reached his feet.
The question hovering over this fight is whether Abregu can get up if tagged by one of Dulorme's punches, especially his left hook. Although Dulorme is right-handed, he says his left is more concussive. "I have a lot of power in my right hand, but it doesn't even compare to my left. My left has a lot more power," Dulorme says.
Abregu turns the argument around by saying, "Dulorme has never been in the ring with a hard puncher like me. I will break him down with power shots, something he's never experienced before." Dulorme shrugs off Abregu's claims. "I feel I have a great chin," the Puerto Rican says. "I have never been knocked down, either as a pro or an amateur (80 fights)."
One of the prime reasons he's been able to stay on his feet is the grueling training regimen Dulorme goes through for each of his fights. "The main thing that differentiates me from others is that I train three times a day," he says. "I try to be the best-conditioned boxer in the ring. A lot of fighters have more ability than me, but nobody works as hard as me."
The primary edge the 28-year-old Abregu has is that he has faced better opponents than Dulorme, including victories over tough guys David Estrada and Richard Gutierrez. Dulorme has boxed just 59 rounds professionally since turning pro four years ago, but he didn't just suddenly appear on the scene. Having started boxing at eight, Dulorme points to his extended amateur career in international competition as one reason why he is unusually relaxed and confident in the ring for a boxer so young.
Although Dulorme has far better boxing skills than Abregu, the Puerto Rican says he won't just box Abregu for 12 rounds. He intends at some point to engage in a brawl. "I have seen some of Abregu's recent fights, and yes he has been boxing a bit more," Dulorme says. "But he always starts out boxing and later goes back to brawling. That's his nature. That's the way he was developed in Argentina. I am prepared to box with him and also to brawl with him, whatever happens."
Why play Abregu's game and go toe-to-toe when he could box in the center of the ring and outpoint him? "Being on HBO, I won't just go out to win. I want to bring emotion to the fans and entertain them. I want them to remember my name after the fight," Dulorme says.
The opening bout on the card features a boxer who already has a name, lightweight world champion Miguel Vasquez (31-3, 13 KOs), who will face hard-hitting Marvin Quintero (25-3, 21 KOs). "I believe I am the best lightweight champion in the world," says the 25-year-old Vasquez, whose only losses were at welterweight to Bradley and twice to Saul Alvarez. "My defeats were to the best fighters in the world in higher weight classes," Vasquez says. "I'm unstoppable at lightweight." Quintero, who is also 25, has scored knockouts in all nine of his last victories and poses a significant threat to Vasquez because of his power.
In the second fight of the night, Karim Mayfield (16-0, 10KOs), who is 31, has not faced any big name fighters yet in his career, and will be looking to use his junior welterweight bout with Mauricio Herrera (18-2-7) as a breakout fight. "My golden opportunity has finally arrived, and I'm not going to let it pass me by," Mayfield says. "Herrera better be ready for a war, because I'm coming out guns blazing." Herrera, 32, has fought a higher level of competition than Mayfield, including his last bout against well-regarded and undefeated Mike Alvarado (33-0, 23 KOs). Herrera gave Alvarado all he could handle and more in an out-and-out brawl in which neither fighter clinched the entire fight. The scorecards indicate how much trouble Herrera gave Alvarado, as he lost a unanimous decision, 94-96, 93-97, and 91-99. "I've faced the better competition," Herrera says, "and I have the better boxing skills. I'll be ready for anything Mayfield brings to the ring."