LAS VEGAS – When Mike Dallas Jr. crashed to the canvas face-first in the opening round of Saturday’s Showtime Championship Boxing main event, it simply reiterated what everyone already knew: Lucas Matthysse is one of the most devastating punchers in the sport.
Matthysse (33-2, 31 knockouts) landed a crushing overhand right, followed by a left hook and right to the body, which rendered Dallas motionless. Referee Robert Byrd reached the count of five, but when it was apparent Dallas wasn’t moving anytime soon, he waved the bout off at 2:26 of the first round, sending the fans at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino home for an early night.
“I was so relaxed, I was just waiting for the opportunity to land the shot,” said Matthysse, THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight. “I knew he wasn’t getting up.”
Dallas (19-3-1, 8 KOs) came out quickly and tried to establish his jab, but never had enough time to get settled in the fight. He was doing well and landed a few body shots, but then the penultimate shot came and ended the fight.
“I never even saw the shot coming,” Dallas said.
There was controversy surrounding the fight after Dallas’ trainer Virgil Hunter voiced concern over a supplement that Matthysse took in the locker room prior to the bout. After inspection, it was deemed to be “just vitamins” by the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s executive director Keith Kizer, who said the Amino 4500 that Matthysse ingested is completely legal.
Matthysse said he “took vitamins, they’re going to do the urine exam and they’ll see.”
Dallas, 26, was a late replacement for lightweight fringe contender Hank Lundy, who was forced to withdraw from the bout due to managerial issues.
The Bakersfield, Calif. native entered the fight with a heavy heart after the passing of his father and cornerman Mike Dallas Sr. in November, who lost his battle to Leukemia.
Dallas’s other two losses came at the hands of Josestio Lopez (a seventh-round knockout) and Mauricio Herrera (a controversial decision).
Matthysse, 30, has made a big splash on the boxing world since arriving on American television screens in 2010. In his first HBO fight, he lost a close decision to former champ Zab Judah. In 2011, he was on the wrong end of a highly-controversial split decision loss to Devon Alexander. But his power was always evident, as both Judah and Alexander tasted the canvas.
“I’m progressing in every fight and I’m not going to need the judges anymore,” said Matthysse, of Trelew, Argentina. “I’m going to try my best to knock guys out.”
Since those setback losses, Matthysse fought twice on Showtime in 2012, scoring impressing stoppage wins of Humberto Soto and Olusegun Ajose. With the win over Dallas, he’s primed to fight the winner of the Feb. 9 bout between RING/WBA/WBC champ Danny Garcia and Judah.
“I definitely want Danny Garcia to give me an opportunity,” Matthysse said. “I want the top fighters at 140. I hope he doesn’t avoid me and fights me. Zab Judah is a great fighter, though, of course he has a great shot [to spring the upset].”
In the co-featured bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, hardnosed Mexican veteran Jesus Soto Karass turned in the signature performance of his career with a dominant upset unanimous decision over former contender Selcuk Aydin.
One judge turned in a head-scratching score of 95-95, while the other two judges scored it 97-93 and 97-93 in favor of Soto Karass, which more accurately represented the action in the ring. RingTV.com scored it 98-92 for Soto Karass, who out-jabbed Aydin throughout the bout.
“I have more boxing skill now and I demonstrated that tonight,” said Soto Karass, 30. “I felt like the winner since the third round – I needed to win this fight. I believed he might win only three or four rounds. He hits hard but he never hurt me. My body shots slowed him down. I was in command of the fight.”
Soto Karass (27-8-3, 17 KOs) controlled the fight with his effective body punching and non-stop pressure. He consistently bullied Aydin, 29, to the ropes with a two-fisted midsection attack that seemed to dissuade Aydin from fighting on the inside.
Aydin (23-2, 17 knockouts) is usually the aggressor, but with new trainer Adam Booth (best known for his work with British fighters David Haye and George Groves), he resorted to a style predicated on movement, timing and counter-punching. Aydin, of Trabzon, Turkey, never got his timing down, though, and had trouble fending off the larger Soto Karass.
The bout was contested at a catchweight of 148 pounds, but the size disparity was stark: Aydin rehydrated to 154 pounds while Soto Karass jumped up to 162.
Soto Karass almost doubled the punch output of Aydin. He threw 950 shots to Aydin’s 523.
Soto Karass entered the fight having lost five of his last seven, but he earned a victory when he needed it the most and figures to get another meaningful bout as a B-side on network television as he’s proved to be a reliable gatekeeper.
Aydin lost his second consecutive fight after losing to Robert Guerrero last July.
Photos / Naoki Fukuda
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