By Jackie Kallen
Some say the road to the top is the hardest, but others believe it is that long comeback ride that really tests a fighter’s mettle. We will find out on the 17th, what Michael Dallas, Jr. is made of. He will fight Miguel Gonzalez on ESPN2 and his future is on the line.
From the day that Prentiss Byrd and I signed the promising young fighter in 2008, we have always believed that Dallas, Jr. could become one of the best Jr. Welterweights in the world. His speed, amateur background, training habits, and attitude convinced us that he could hold his own against the best.
We signed a promotional contract with Goossen Tutor and set off on our quest toward a world title. Things rolled along as planned for the first seven fights. He fought predictable opponents and performed well. For his eighth outing, we headed to the Mandalay Bay in Vegas, where he sparkled against Terrance Jett.
In his 10th fight he faced veteran Francisco Rios Gil, who had fought 25 times, and has been in with guys like Bayan Jargal and Javier Molina. Michael demolished him in the first round, dropping him twice. Five more wins in a row added up to a solid 15-0 record. It was time for a test.
In July, 2010 on ShowBox, Michael faced off against 12-0 Lanard Lane. Someone’s 0 had to go. Thankfully, it wasn’t Michael’s. He won unanimously on all three judge’s scorecards, looking impressive and being touted as a future champ.
After two more wins and two more knockouts, we moved up another notch, fighting tough Josesito Lopez for the NABF title in January, 2011. The fight was at the Pechanga Resort and Casino. This one didn’t go our way and Michael was stopped in the 7th round. Some argued that the referee stopped it a tad too soon. But whatever the case, he suffered his first loss. We were disappointed, but not discouraged.
Five months later, in June, Michael fought Mauricio Herrerra. The fight was again at Pechanga, which was kind of a bad luck omen, but we had no idea just how bad that luck could be. Although the TV announcers, boxing writers, and most of the fans felt that Michael clearly won–the judges saw it differently. Jack Reiss called it a draw, but the other two judges gave it to Herrera. This loss was a real set-back.
Two losses in a row can be very harmful to a fighter’s ego and self-esteem. Especially when one of the losses was so controversial. But not one to sit back and complain or feel sorry for himself, Michael Dallas, Jr. set out to improve his game and regain his position in the division.
He went up to Oakland, CA to train under the tutelage of highly-regarded trainer Virgil Hunter, who has masterfully guided Andre Ward to the top. An excellent teacher as well as coach–Hunter saw the potential in his young charge and set out to improve the product.
After more than seven months of hard work and intense focus, Michael is ready to show the boxing world what he is made of. When he faces 20-2 Gonzalez in Arlington, TX for this 10-round bout, he will be in great shape and at the top of his game.
Gonzalez is no easy opponent. His only two losses were back in 2009 and his nearly 70% KO ratio speaks for itself. Like Michael, he fought twice in 2011, but his most recent bout was only four months ago. He sees this as a major opportunity as well and the boxing fans will no doubt get an exciting fight.
I am admittedly biased, but my heart will be with Dallas,Jr. as he sets out to regain his status as a viable contender in the 140# division.
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