Michael Dutchover is ready to erase a bad memory this Sunday
Michael Dutchover didn’t want to see it. Why revive it, he thought? So, it took a few days. Then a few days more. He needed it. A week later, he sat by himself in the dark, picked up the remote, found the on-demand button, and then turned down the sound.
The 22-year-old lightweight from Midland, Texas, relived his fight last September against Thomas Mattice. The fight in which Dutchover (13-1, 10 knockouts) suffered his first professional setback.
Dutchover gets to put some salve on the memory when he takes on Jorge Marron Jr. (18-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight fight this on Sunday, July 26, from the Omega Products International Event Center, in Corona, Ca., on the 3.2.1. PPV broadcast, airing live on the Thompson Boxing Promotions website (www.thompsonboxing.com/4:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. ET).
Dutchover was stopped by Mattice on an eighth-round TKO on cuts in what was a scheduled 10-rounder on Showtime’s ShoBox: The New Generation from the La Hacienda Event Center, in Midland, Texas.
Referee Robert Velez ended it with 1:33 left in the eighth, when Dutchover suffered a gaping cut over his left eye. The ringside physician made the call that Dutchover couldn’t continue, and since Velez ruled the cut was caused by a punch, Mattice was awarded the biggest victory of his career.
The setback ruined what was supposed to be a homecoming for Dutchover, who last fought in his Midland hometown when he was a 16-year-old amateur fighting in the local Golden Gloves.
It took time to absorb what happened.
But Dutchover, who’s co-promoted by Banner Promotions, did what any good young fighter would do, assess what happened. He just needed to find the gumption to sit and do it.
He twisted in his seat, throwing punches in the dark. He knows he’s too good, filled with too much character and too much belief in himself to get thrown back.
“I watched the fight again by myself, and I think this is a good thing what happened to me,” Dutchover said. “I know what I did wrong. My training camp has been great. I plan on looking impressive and doing what I’m expected to do.
“But I let the whole thing about being home get to me. I don’t put that loss on anyone but myself. I know it was a technical loss, because of the cut, but I still could have performed better in some spots. I just came out too fast. I was so filled with adrenaline.
“I let it get to me. It’s why I started a little too fast, going for the kill too early and not sticking with my game plan. I learned not to focus on the outside of the ring. I was charged up.”
Too charged up.
Dutchover’s opening onslaught was uncharacteristic.
Mattice knew how to handle it.
“The mind games come into play, and that was the biggest takeaway I took from the Mattice fight, and I’m at a point in my career when these guys aren’t going to go away easy,” Dutchover said. “Mattice had experience and more rounds than me. I should have fought smarter. I made it hard for myself going for the kill. I punched myself out.
“I’ll throw it my bag for my experience book. It will show this time around.”
Dutchover feels his confidence is different this time. He wants to stick to the game plan and listen to his corner.
“In my sparring I’m being patient, letting the shots come to me,” he said. “I’m ready and I’m lucky to be one of the first fights in California. I’m trying to get one more fight, maybe two more before the end of the year.
“What happened in September happened. I can’t change that. I can change what’s ahead.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.