By Jackie Kallen
Building a professional boxer is a tricky process. As a manager, you have to make the right moves at the right time and the boxer has to come through in each fight. Add the right trainer to the mix and if you are very lucky–you may end up with a world champion.
Prentiss Byrd and I signed Michael Dallas, Jr. in 2008. With his youth, solid amateur background, and speed, we believed he had all the ingredients needed to go all the way. We took him to our good friend Dan Goossen, and he signed Michael to a promotional contract. We were off and running.
After two successful bouts in San Jose, Michael made the rounds of Tachi Casino, Pechanga Casino, and the Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. He remained undefeated and impressed fans with his skills and determination.
We went to Las Vegas in 2009 and fought at the Mandalay Bay. The wins kept coming and we continued our journey toward a title fight. After 16 fights, we were offered a shot at undefeated Lanard Lane on Showtime. Of course, we grabbed it. It was a risky fight because someone’s 0 had to go, but after watching footage of Lane, we believed Michael would out-box him.
The unanimous decision over Lane, put Michael in the exact position we wanted. We had two more bouts in 2010, both KO wins. Team Dallas was confident and stoked. Thanks to Joe Donofrio, Prentiss and I even managed to slip in a bout in Detroit to show our hometown boxing buddies our new prospect. We headed into 2011 with high hopes and big plans.
We were offered a TV fight at Pechanga Casino against Josesito Lopez on January 28. Although Lopez had three losses on his record, we knew he was a dangerous puncher with a strong will to win. But a win against Lopez would be a big step forward so we took the fight. It was for a vacant NABF title, so that made the fight even more appealing.
Michael Dallas, jr, is a superb boxer and we knew if he used his jab, his speed, and a lot of movement, this could be a solid win for him. He trained diligently and was well-prepared. But the fight did not go as planned. Lopez caught Michael in the seventh round and after several unanswered punches, the ref stopped the fight. Michael suffered his first loss.
Along with the devastating loss came a 45-day suspension. Michael was out of the loop for a few months, but had a chance to rethink his career and analyze what went wrong. His dad has always been his principal trainer, but Michael decided to add some new energy to the team so he traveled to Oakland to train with Virgil Hunter, the brains behind Andre Ward,
An offer came in to fight Mauricio Herrera on ESPN2 on June 24 at Pechanga Casino. Their records are identical. Both have 17 wins, one loss and seven KOs. We grabbed the opportunity.
My belief in Michael has never waivered and I feel extra confident that Hunter has sharpened and improved the talent that is already there. His experience and calm demeanor will be a major addition to our team.
Michael has been away from home for four months, even missing his son’s birthday. He has never trained harder, sacrificed more, or been more focused. He is determined to show the boxing world what he is made of. A loss can either destroy your confidence or make you hungrier, and I believe it will be the latter in this case.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen