It is amazing what a loss does to a fighter, especially when that fighter is a highly-touted prospect.
Some fighters are never the same, either because they could not psychologically get over the loss or the loss exposed their lack of talent.
Then there are those fighters who learn from the loss, get stronger mentally and physically, and eventually fulfill their dream of becoming a world champion.
Thomas Dulorme believes he’s in the second category.
Dulorme will face unbeaten junior welterweight contender Karim Mayfield in a 10-round bout inside the Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. on Saturday. The fight will precede the main event bout between WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev and Cedric Agnew.
Both bouts will be televised live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
It was almost a year and a half ago when Dulorme was stopped at the hands of hard-hitting Luis Carlos Abregu on another B.A.D. show. The seventh-round TKO made many fans question whether Dulorme was more suspect than a future contender. Rather than dwell on the loss, the soft-spoken Dulorme moved on, returning to the ring within four months of his first loss.
Dulorme (20-1, 14 KOs) has won his last four bouts over modest competition. In his last bout on Nov. 30, in his hometown of Carolina, Puerto Rico, Dulorme won a one-sided eight round unanimous decision over rugged former world title challenger Hector Velazquez.
He will face a difficult and awkward fighter in Mayfield, who fought on the same October 2012 card when Dulorme lost to Abregu. On that night, Mayfield won a 10-round unanimous decision over Mauricio Herrera.
“Mayfield is a good fighter, but his style will play in to my hands,” Dulorme told RingTV.com in a recent interview in Oxnard, Calif., where he trained for the Mayfield fight. “He’s not technically sound and he opens up a lot. His style favors his punching ability. However, I know I have power and I believe I can hurt him.”
While Dulorme has a quiet confidence about him, he might be walking with more spring to his step now that he is being trained by Robert Garcia. He has worked with Garcia for the last three months.
During his time in Oxnard, Dulorme has sparred with some of the fighters that also train with Garcia, including former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios. While sparring was good, it is what he saw every day in the gym that left an impression with the 24 year old.
“I have a great team,” said Dulorme, who is promoted by Gary Shaw. “Robert Garcia has helped prepare me very well for this fight. I’ve learned a lot from him. He is at the top of the sport and he has demonstrated it with fighters like Brandon Rios, Marcos Maidana, and others.
“What I’ve noticed with them is that they have the same hunger and drive. I look at the sport differently than I have before. I always want to have that hunger and desire and I see that with all the fighters here. I needed something new in my career (after the Velazquez fight) and I’m glad I found that here in Oxnard.”
Some fighters want to return to the ring after a loss, but may not be ready psychologically and emotionally. One loss turns into two, and then that fighter is never the same, eventually wearing the journeyman title.
Dulorme got over the loss to Abregu and seems to have righted the ship thus far. Although he is still developing and is young, Dulorme figured getting back to the ring right away and finding a trainer like Garcia was the move for him.
“I grew from the loss and corrected the mistakes I made,” he said. “The loss is in my past, but it helped give me experience and I learned a lot from it.
“As far as my physicality goes, I feel stronger. I feel like I hit harder. I feel faster and my legs are stronger. While I feel my strength is there, the key, especially in the Mayfield fight, will be to be more technical and to box.”
Falling off a bike may result in a skinned knee. If so, looks like that “skinned knee” that Dulorme suffered at the hands of Abregu has healed over. While Dulorme is still a work in progress, he still believes he can fight and compete at the highest level of the sport.
It may not be soon, but a win over Mayfield could open doors towards contender status and an eventual title opportunity.
“I’ve worked hard to win this fight. It could be an opportunity for a world title down the line. I just want to prove I could be a world champion.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing