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The ESPN2 Friday Night Fights TV Cheat Sheet- June 10, 2011

Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas make an appearance in their backyard with this week’s broadcast emanating from the elegant Roseland Ballroom in New York City. The card features two power-punching prospects, pitted against a former world champion and a proven gatekeeper. All but one boxer represent’s Puerto Rico, with the promoter’s smartly scheduling the event to coincide with the famed Puerto Rican Day parade. The feature fighters are members of the eight-man “Team Puerto Rico” squad, part of an innovative team concept flush with national pride. It’s been successful so far, gaining as much attention for its charity work (a part of their team obligations) recently as successes in the ring. Theirs is a positive concept, which I would like to see imitated around the world and state-by-state in America.

At the Roseland Ballroom, New York City, NY
(ESPN2) Thomas Dulorme (11-0) vs. DeMarcus Corley (37-17-1)
(ESPN2) Kenny Galarza (14-1) vs. Irving Garcia (17-6-3)

Irving Garcia – This well-traveled veteran is no stranger to big names, once a preferred sparring partner for the likes of Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya. Perhaps that actually became a bad role for Garcia, in retrospect, seemingly content with the role of a preparatory worker for bigger names instead of maximizing his own game. I was most disappointed by Garcia’s performance against Said Ouali (who knocked out contender Hector Saldivia and rounded into a legitimate threat at welterweight), in a failed attempt to break free from “Sparring Partner Syndrome,” where Garcia was stopped in the second round trying to bully a stronger foe. Garcia did surprise me two fights later, earning a draw against undefeated Ukrainian prospect Yuriy Nuzhnenko in the Ukraine. Followed that success up by comprehensively outboxing Chris ‘The Mechanic’ Smith in a rare home appearance as the main event. That status could have motivated Garcia and definitely spoke to his good mindset for that bout. Both those fights showed Garcia had not given up mentally, riding out rough patches to string positive rounds together. Garcia did lose his last fight to contender Antonin Decarie but it was a majority decision in Canada where he could not take advantage of a cut his opponent suffered. Has been stopped twice in two years but only encounters that problem when facing opponents who come straight at him with consistent pressure. Garcia has a fine jab when he pushes it out consistently and counters well off lateral movement. Showed himself a strong finisher, sweeping the last three rounds against Smith and Nuzhnenko. Is now 32-years-old and Garcia has endured more hard rounds in his last three fights than his first 20 combined. Garcia has the right mix of boxing skill and lack of power, making him a perfect foe for up-and-coming prospects to test themselves. Has not been in the ring for eight months, so this fight will tell if he needed such a rest to recharge his battery or if Garcia’s charge has been permanently drained.

Kenny Galarza - Puerto Rican banger, all 14 of his wins via kayo, is trying to rebound from a lopsided defeat in his last appearance on ESPN2. Galarza was outpointed by Brad Solomon, a forgivable loss, given Solomon’s underrated skill set, with the only positive emerging from the bout that Galarza completed the ten-round distance for the first time. Bounced back from that loss to knock out a faded and much smaller Ilido Julio in a rematch and should have his mental confidence tested tonight. As an amateur, won seven national titles and participated in numerous international tourneys for his country. Won a silver medal at the Pan American games and reportedly ended his amateur career with a 252-58 record. Comes from a boxing family and remains trained by his father. Offense is obviously what catches the eye first, where Galarza’s educated hands and fluid combinations had me hitting the rewind button to properly comprehend what Galarza accomplished. Average opponents were similarly mesmerized, as when he switched from an orthodox to southpaw stance, mid-combination, and are put on their heels early by confusion. Galarza is calm and always has a lead jab in front but bounces on his toes before uncoiling a punch, which sometimes makes him reach with a jab. Galarza looks teachable but was not able to adjust mid-fight against Solomon and only five pounds of weight fluctuation since turning pro four years ago shows he works in the gym. Needs to pay more attention to body punching, especially when his foe is hurt. On defense, lacks head movement, which will be tested tonight, given his opponent’s reach and volume-punching ability. Two of Galarza’s stoppages have come after the sixth round, so he carries power late and did not get frustrated when the early kayo did not appear. Remains a blue-chip prospect who will have to show he is more than a slugger in this stern step-up. As an aside, I appreciate the imagination behind his nickname of "Battlestar." I often refer to Hall-of-Famer Kostya Tszyu as someone who learned from his first loss and became better for it; does Galarza have a comparable mindset to overcome his first career setback?

Verdict – Pure strength: Galarza has it and Garcia is vulnerable to it. The key to beating Garcia is making him take backward steps, which Galarza can do by working the body and pushing off to force Garcia to reset. I expect a hesitant Galarza for two rounds but gradually, he settles in and drains Garcia of ambition with his advantages in speed and power. After Galarza accepts the fact that Garcia cannot hurt him, Galarza advances with abandon and stops Garcia by the seventh round.

DeMarcus Corley- East Coast veteran has filled his passport and racked up frequent flyer miles traveling to Argentina, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Canada, and Russia over the last three years. Is not slowing down, contesting 12 fights since 2009 and this is Corley’s third fight of 2011. Aside from two stoppage losses (to Freddy Hernandez and Lucas Matthysse), has put forth credible performances, losing his last bout via split decision. Corley gave a tough fight to hard-punching Marcos Maidana and he was chosen to give Dulorme some needed experience against a southpaw. Puerto Rican fans will remember that Corley had Miguel Cotto out on his feet as well, hurting the champion repeatedly. The D.C. native is always in the gym and ready to pack his bags, giving himself a fighting chance despite the last-minute nature of calls to fill in as an opponent. For this fight, has had plenty of time to prepare, so we could get an actual game plan from the veteran besides relying on experience alone. Corley was a WBO junior welterweight champion but remains a viable test for more than his status as a former titleholder. Mostly because he can deliver at least one potent burst of speed or a quick combination per round, enough to create some doubt in prospects. Flounders now because he cannot maintain any of that momentum and has mentally accepted his role as a test vice a roadblock. At 37, Corley has slowed down in the speed department but always played angles and counterpunched well so he falls back on those skills now. His hand speed has not totally dissipated (legs being the real problem) and Corley’s chin stands up to all but the elite. Corley is 1-5 in his last six fights but has been fighting in other people’s hometowns against top prospects and contenders. Remains one of the most experienced gatekeepers, 358 pro rounds, who keeps sharp by fighting more regularly than champions. Yes, Corley is past it in terms of title aspirations but remains a viable test for developing prospects and veterans looking to stay fresh.

Thomas Dulorme - Young slugger has the look of a champion, blending power, speed, and accuracy into a dynamic attacking force. Despite high kayo ratio (stopped ten of 11 foes), begins everything with a stiff jab, finding openings by boxing instead of overpowering foes. It is the strategy of Dulorme’s boxing idols Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya; of course, he gives the obligatory nod to Felix Trinidad, expected of someone based in Puerto Rico. I say “based” because Dulorme’s parents are Dominican and he was born on the island of St. Maarten, moving to the Dominican Republic before settling in Puerto Rico at age 15. Began boxing at age eight and it shows in the ease in which he switches between a southpaw and orthodox stance to utilize punching angles. Had a lengthy amateur career but never excelled to the point of international acclaim. Picked up tricks and learned more in rough sparring sessions at Puerto Rican gyms, most recently with fellow prospects Jesus Pabon and Kenny Galarza. Because of his size, 5’10” tall with a 70-inch reach and broad shoulders, Dulorme will suffer under Felix Trinidad comparisons, meaning that he has gone up from 132 to 147 pounds in only two years. Presents a calm and relaxed manner in the ring, never rushing or falling into punches. Against weak opposition, has shown a perfect blend of power and speed but does not rely entirely on those, starting everything with a stiff jab that he steps into. The blinding jab makes everything which follows more potent, especially given his punching accuracy. Unlike many youngsters (Dulorme is 21), Dulorme throws combinations to the body when on the inside and does not allow himself to be tied up. Gives ground unnecessarily while looking to create space for his long punches but keeps both hands high and his chin down when advancing. Since a decision win in his debut has not allowed an opponent to see the third round. That includes tough southpaw Harrison Cuello, who went the distance with Breidis Prescott. Dulorme will get even stronger, a frightening prospect, as his “man strength” evolves with age. Enters the fight with the right attitude, stating he must score a knockout in his TV debut. Promoter Lou DiBella believes in Dulorme’s power, “He is one of the most devastating young punchers. He is the entire package. Within a year, he will be challenging for a world title.”

Verdict – This one could get ugly, with Corley only able to deal with one opponent’s weapon at a time. Individually, Corley can still negate speed or power but not the combination of both where his mind forces his body into a vapor lock. Frozen into inaction by the multifaceted Dulorme, Corley is sent to the canvas in the first round but saved by the bell. A dazed Corley gets on his bike and survives the second round on adrenaline and muscle memory. Dulorme tracks down and stops Corley in the third, cutting off the ring as much with his reach as his feet, snapping back Corley’s head and forcing the referee to stop the fight.

Prediction record for 2011: 86% (87-14)
Prediction record for 2010: 85% (218-40)


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