In his fourth appearance on ShoBox: The New Generation, 29-year-old Cleveland lightweight Thomas Mattice came in as the opponent, traveling to Michael Dutchover’s hometown of Midland, Texas, for a 10-round main event.
Mattice pulled the upset, stopping the previously unbeaten Dutchover at 1:33 of the eighth round due to a cut caused by a clean right hand.
Mattice (15-1-1, 11 KO) came in 1-1-1 on ShoBox, with a controversial win over Zhora Hamazaryan in July 2018, a rematch drawtwo months later, and a loss to Will Madera on Feb. 1 of this year.
He looked better than he did in any of those fights in this one, giving Dutchover (13-1, 10 KO) some valuable schooling in what was the first 10-round fight of either man’s career, and the first time the 21-year-old Dutchover had ever gone past six.
Judges had the fight 67-66 Mattice, 68-65 Dutchover, and the third score wasn’t read but was “rather lopsided” for Dutchover, according to Showtime’s Barry Tompkins. Bad Left Hook had the fight 67-66 for Mattice at the time of stoppage, but Dutchover had taken the previous two rounds on our card and may well have pulled it out late.
After the fight was stopped at the direction of the ringside physician, with referee Robert Velez rightly ruling the cut was caused by a punch, fans in the crowd began throwing drinks and whatnot into the ring. Dutchover, to his credit, quickly took control of the situation and calmed the fans, and walked out alongside Mattice, perhaps to assure there wouldn’t be any more projectiles hurled the visiting man’s way.
It’s a big win for Mattice, whose career was looking level capped, to put it one way. A rematch would make sense when Dutchover is healed up and ready to go, but who knows? Mattice may look to take this and get a money fight — of some sort — which you can’t hold against him. He’s 29, his career just got a boost.
I wouldn’t count Dutchover out here, either. It’s a loss, yes, but he’s young, talented, and showed he can hang when the opposition is a little tougher than it had been previously. While we’re starting to get past fans who overly romanticize the undefeated record, it’s still a factor with much of the boxing audience, particularly in the US. But be wise, I’d say — this is still a promising young fighter with a future.
Ruben Villa UD-10 Enrique Vivas
Both came in undefeated, so an “0” had to go, and it did. It was the “0” of Vivas (17-1, 9 KO), the 25-year-old from Mexico who had a couple of OK (for level) wins before this fight, so he wasn’t totally empty on the record. He was a prospect, and Villa (17-0, 5 KO) was just a much better one.
Scores here were 100-89 across the board, Bad Left Hook had it a bit closer at 98-91, but it was a clear Villa win either way. The 22-year-old “RV4” is a slick southpaw with skills, doesn’t have a lot of power though he dropped Vivas late in the second round here with a left hand. That round also wound up going about a minute too long, and then there was an over 10-minute delay in the sixth round when a rope broke.
Villa is hard to project, really, because he doesn’t look crazy gifted or anything, but he’s outclassed the ShoBox level opposition. We’ll have to see him really step up and find out what’s what. Showtime’s Steve Farhood suggested Rico Ramos be put back on TV to face Villa, to which I suggest Steve Farhood should be put in jail for said suggestion.
Brandun Lee KO-2 Milton Arauz
Lee, a 20-year-old 140/147 prospect, was stepping up on paper here for his ShoBox debut, but it was more on paper than in reality, honestly. Arauz (10-2-1, 5 KO) came in with a winning record, but AGAINST WHO? AGAINST WHO? AGAINST WHO? AGAINST WHO? AGAINST WHO? AGAINST WHO? Nobody, really — he’d never fought outside of Managua, Nicaragua, or fought anyone very good himself. Lee (17-0, 15 KO) is promising, though, has power and is offensive-minded. His father is his trainer, but he’s ready and willing to pass the reins when the career gets serious.
In this one, Lee felt it out for about half of a round, and then started going for it, sensing no danger from Arauz. He pushed Arauz back in the first round, then drilled him with a right hand just before the end of the second, finishing the fight there.