Saturday night on FOX (8 pm ET), Jamal James and Thomas Dulorme will headline the Premier Boxing Champions return to the broadcast network in a 12-round welterweight bout for the interim WBA title.
Our staffers make their picks, and don’t forget we’ll have live coverage beginning at 8 pm ET on FOX tomorrow night, plus continuing coverage of the FS1 portion of the show at 10 pm ET.
I have no hard opinion on how this fight is going to turn out, because I simply think it’s a well-matched, pretty even contest on paper, a matchup of solid but second-tier welterweights with an interim WBA title on the line and a shot for one of them to progress to a bigger fight in the PBC pool at 147 pounds.
James is the taller man, a rather towering welterweight at 6’2”, and is a good fighter. But he’s also very flawed and can be drawn into giving up his natural advantages rather easily. Despite the wide scores, his last fight, with faded ex-lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco, was quite competitive, and his 2016 loss to a then-reeling Yordenis Ugas showcased some of his limitations, too. Good fighter, but not great.
Dulorme is the more classically skilled boxer in many ways, and is a good fighter, even if he’s been something of a disappointment compared to his early hype and backing. But despite three losses to Carlos Abregu, Terence Crawford, and the aforementioned Ugas, plus a draw with Jessie Vargas, he’s become a reliable and capable veteran fighter.
I’m going with Dulorme. I think his toolset is better, but this could just as easily go to James and I’d not be surprised at all. This isn’t some elite fight, but it’s good matchmaking, a chance for two guys outside the top 10 to make their case for something more. Dulorme SD-12
Thomas Dulorme is an interesting fighter because he hasn’t been quite good enough to beat elite opponents, but he’s certainly good enough to compete well with fighters a level below that. Jamal James hasn’t proven he can beat an elite opponent either, so that puts him on par with Dulorme, although I think Dulorme has the better experience against better opposition. So while James will come into this fight with a height advantage, he won’t have the reach advantage, which makes for an interesting physical matchup.
James doesn’t mind mixing it up, and Dulorme not so much either, so I think we could get a fight with good back and forth action throughout but I think Dulorme packs the bigger punch which may end up working in his favor. Dulorme can certainly have some leaky defense, so I don’t think it’ll come easily, but I’ll still pick him to win a decision. Dulorme UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg
I’ll admit to not really trusting myself in this analysis; I researched James first and felt like I went through the subsequent Dulorme tape already convinced that James would take it. At least I can justify my pick.
While Dulorme has the nastier jab and the heavier hands, James looks to be the crisper puncher and the better mover. He’s got the skills to control this fight on the outside, and even if Dulorme manages to force his way inside and look to open up, James is adept enough in the pocket to survive any rough patches until he can pivot away and re-establish range. Plus, though he’s not much of a puncher, he’s facing a man whose chin has repeatedly failed him in the past, so his volume producing a knockdown isn’t out of the question
The later rounds are where things get interesting; straightforward as Dulorme’s attack can be, he rips the body well enough to thoroughly sap an unprepared gas tank. The notably smaller and more weathered Antonio DeMarco managed to do some good work to James’ midsection, meaning that even if James puts together his combinations more cleanly than Dulorme, he’s cooked if he tries to plant his feet for a slugfest. Still, I favor James to do enough good work in the early going to take a competitive 8/4, 7/5 sort of decision. James UD-12
It’s third time lucky for a contest between two guys looking to move up a level in the stacked 147 division. Both share losses to Yordenis Ugas, with Dulorme putting up the better fight on the undercard of the May-Mac circus, despite being dropped twice and losing two points to low blows.
James has run 6-0 since his 2016 loss to the Cuban but has made a bigger impact outside of the ring helping his community in Minneapolis – it’s hard not to root for James after reading about his efforts to unite his hometown during a troubled year.
James is a towering welter and I expect he’ll be able to stay out of trouble from Dulorme who isn’t a massive puncher. It feels a close one, this, but one that may just canter along without really setting alight. James UD-12