Richard Quiñones (Journeymen Boxing) – Mike Dallas Jr. knew he did not want to leave it into the judge’s scorecards, especially against the hometown hero in Dusty Hernandez-Harrison as the two fought in an entertaining 10-round main event Friday night as part of Roc Nation’s “Throne Boxing” card at the DC Armory in Washington, DC.
However, despite clearly outworking and at times dominating Hernandez-Harrison, especially early on in the fight, Dallas Jr. earned a split-decision draw in a very disturbing decision that robbed him of a win.
Both fighters exchanged knockdowns during the bout, as Dallas Jr., dropped Hernandez-Harrison in the fifth round, but Hernandez-Harrison turn the tables on Dallas Jr. as he dropped him in the eighth — albeit in controversial fashion.
In the end the judges saw it as a split draw, with one judge even scoring the fight 95-94 in favor of Hernandez-Harrison (29-0-1, 16ko’s), who was fighting in his hometown for the first time since 2014.
Another judge had it 96-92 for Dallas and the third had it 94-94.
JMB scored the fight 96-92 in favor of Dallas Jr.
Dallas Jr. was the aggressor throughout the contest as he continuously landed crisp combinations to the body against the hometown favorite.
For the first two rounds, Hernandez-Harrison was very reluctant to throw punches, falling behind on the scorecards.
He never really established his jab throughout the course of the evening, something his trainer wanted and needed him to do.
“We didn’t capitalize on the right moments,” trainer Barry Hunter would say afterwards. Hunter, who is one of the sports best trainers, was frustrated that his fighter did not get the jab going early.
“Dusty needed to jab more, that would have taken the fight,” he added.
With Dallas Jr. still landing shots in the second round, it was clear that he came to win and silence his critics and wipe away the notion that he was just a “test” for the upstart Hernandez-Harrison
In the third round, Dallas Jr. was beating Hernandez-Harrison to the punch, using his speed and athleticism, mixing in his jab brilliantly or going quickly to the body.
Whatever it was, it worked and for every two or three combinations Dallas Jr. threw and landed, he grew more confident, confusing his younger opponent.
He was brought in this fight according to many as the “safe hand-picked” opponent against the highly-touted Hernandez-Harrison, who is handled by Roc Nation
Dallas Jr,, who has stepped into the ring against Mauricio Herrera, Josesito Lopez, and who even floored Lucas Matthysse — only to lose to all three — showed tremendous poise even in the fourth round when Hernandez-Harrison woke up.
In that stanza, Hernandez-Harrison, who trained as middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez’ main sparring partner, started to rally in the fourth round, as he was able to close the distance.
To his credit, he stayed patient and was able to find a home and score more with his signature right hand, landing several blows to the head of Dallas Jr.
The 21-year-old spent five weeks at Alvarez’ camp and got in about 50 rounds of sparring as Alvarez prepared for his title fight against Amir Khan last weekend.
However, the rally was short-lived, as the native of Bakersfield, California, caught Hernandez-Harrison with a gorgeous right-hand followed by a short left hook that was a clean knockdown with about 30 seconds to go in the round, stunning the DC crowd.
Hernandez-Harrison sensing he was behind on the scorecards picked up the pace in the second half of the fight, but at times was clearly frustrated as he could not muster up any sound offense.
Several times he hit Dallas Jr. behind the head and was not deducted a point, but in the eighth round he made things interesting.
He dropped Dallas. Jr. with a left hand that appeared to be a low blow. Visibly angered, the 29-year-old Dallas Jr, complained to referee Malik Waleed, but it was all for not, as Waleed began counting.
Dallas Jr. was able to get to his feet but not before he had a couple more choice words for Waleed.
“The ref didn’t get the call,” Dallas Jr. said. “I guess it was a hometown thing. I thought I won the fight.”
Round 10 was perhaps the most entertaining round of the night, as both men fought in the pocket, trading and landing solid combinations until the final bell.
“I thought I finished it great,” Hernandez-Harrison said afterward. “I feel I pulled it out with the late knockdown. I will fight him in Bakersfield. I will fight him again,” he added as tensions and emotions flared up in the middle of the round moments after the decision was read out loud much to the dismay of Dallas Jr.’s corner.