The Arboleda-Dulay Fight - A postscript
By Ed de la Vega, DDS
17 Jul 2017
Recky Dulay (10-2-0, 7KO) of Laoang, a bucolic municipality a few miles north the capital city of Catarman, Northern Samar was not even supposed to fight last Saturday night at the famed Forum at the City Inglewood, much less score a scintillating knockout against an undefeated opponent being build-up by Golden Boy Promotions - Jaime Arboleda (10-1-0, 8KO) of Panama. Dulay was a huge underdog and was assigned to the blue corner.
But win he did!
Dulay was really scheduled to fight last Friday night at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles against Arboleda. They were scheduled to tangle on the first televised fight of the evening that was to be beamed via Estrella TV and streamed thru RingTV.com.
However, for some reasons Team Dulay never fully understood, why they got a call late Friday morning informing them that the fight was moved to the Forum and made part of the Miguel Berchelt vs. Takasi Miura WBC Super featherweight title fight card.
In its attempt to decipher why the fight was moved, it dawn to them that perhaps some people wanted to give Arboleda additional time to recover from the weight reduction program he had to make the junior lightweight bout that was originally scheduled at the Belasco Theater. In fact, at the weigh-in for the Belasco fight held last Thursday, Arboleda barely made the contracted weight of 130 lbs. But when they weigh them again last Friday afternoon, Arboleda hit the scales at 140 lbs. On Saturday night, he was 142 lbs.
What else could be the reason to move up the fight except perhaps give Arboleda a little more time to prepare? Team Dulay saw no need to push the fight up another day other than that. In fact, the fight was put up as the curtain raiser. It happened at 3:05 PM when there were hardly any fans around to see it. They don’t move fights just to make them as curtain raisers!
Recky Dulay interview:
As a perspective, it was so easy for the promoters to say that they will cancel the fight when Team Dulay was a bit late coming to the venue as they were caught by the horrendous traffic in the area of the Forum due to road closures owing to the construction of the nearby giant 100,240 seat football stadium for the Los Angeles Rams right next door to the Forum.
But Team Dulay made it to the venue with only 22 minutes to go the mandatory weigh check, hand wrapping and putting on the rest of the battle gear. Team Dulay diligently did all the above without seemingly being under duress with two minutes to spare before the production people lead all of us into the bowels of the Forum and the ring.
By now the rest is history.
The changes in the schedule worked both ways. It could have helped Arboleda to “recover” from the weigh issues, but it also gave Recky Dulay the same opportunity to better prepare himself.
“I felt better Saturday morning than Friday morning. I don’t know about Arboleda, but the extra day gave me extra strength,” said Dulay
When the fight started, Dulay did not waste time showcasing his power. His jabs started to close the right eye of Arboleda midway in the first round. Arboleda on the other hand seemed tentative. But that was easy to understand. The guy maybe undefeated but he was fighting for the first time outside of his native Panama and at the “Fabulous Forum” in Southern California no less. The enormity of the event must have taken a toll on him.
Towards the end of round two, Arboleda’s nose begun to bleed from the power shots being thrown by Dulay. At the end of the round, Mayol instructed Dulay to keep an eye on the left hand of Arboleda as he seem to drop it after he throws a punch. “Counter mo siya pag baba nang kaliwa,” I heard Mayol said.
When the third round started, Arboleda appeared to sense that he must do something to stay in the game. The fight was too close to call at that stage and he probably felt the urgency to win the fight. His eye is fast closing and his nose was bleeding. So he attacked.
Then the fateful knocked out happened! Arboleda threw a left and on instinct dropped his hand thereafter as predicted by Mayol. Dulay swiftly countered with a right cross that landed solidly on the left side of Arboleda’s face.
For a split second, Arboleda did not know what to do after he was hit. Clearly he was dazed by the punch and could not decide if he would stand or fall. Then he turned to his left and fell face first to the canvas. As the ref started the count he turned over to his back covering his face with his gloves and seemingly deciding what to do next. He tried to stand up to beat the count but his legs betrayed him and they wobbled badly as he tried to regain his balance. Seeing these, the ref waived off the fight.
The great win was a far cry from Dulay’s last US fight when he lost to Gervonta Davis. His victory showed clearly what a supportive and well-entrenched management can do for fighters. Rey Rodis gave that to him and Dulay responded positively.
More importantly, it showcased a newfound trainer in Rodel Mayol. Mayol is imparting all his experiences and knowledge as a former WBC flyweight champion to all his wards. Given more opportunities, no one knows how far he can carry the boxers he trains.
The change in schedule also proved unfortunate for Arboleda and the Golden Boy Promotions. Instead of showing their new undefeated prospect, it was Dulay’s hidden power that was clearly displayed.
As GBP’s Robert Diaz said to Team Dulay after the fight, “You guys are killing all our boys. First it was Romero Duno, now its Recky Dulay,” he said. “But that is good, and you guys will get three more fights before the end of the year,” he added.
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