Michael Dutchover from Midland, Texas got the better of Clarence ‘Mr. St Pete’ Booth in a Last Chance tournament quarterfinal.
Dutchover had been progressing nicely as a prospect but hit a speed bump when in September 2019 he lost a hometown gala session against Thomas Mattice, on ShoBox. In his last outing, the low-key and upbeat pugilist took on Nahir Albright, hitting the deck four times in absorbing his second loss.
At the ProBoxTV Event Center, though, Dutchover restored some shine to his rep, edging a SD8 over Booth by scores of 78-74, 78-75, with one dissenter seeing Booth ahead, 77-75.
A veteran of 150-plus amateur fights, Dutchover, a righty trained by California fixture Danny Zamora, seemed to be in the zone heading into the bout. He professed to be holding on to zero negativity off of those losses and told ProBoxTV News his reaction to getting the call to do Last Chance: “This is a very crucial part of my career, I feel like this opportunity I’m getting is a blessing. This will re-energize my career.”
Those new to the ProBox product got a deep insight into the brand identity when Malignaggi in the first round noted that neither Booth nor Dutchover are heavy movers. “Why do you think (ProBoxTV founder) Garry Jonas picked them for the tournament?
Garry doesn’t want any runners,” Paulie said. “He wants all action, like we had in the first quarterfinal (Antonio Moran v Jeffrey Torres)!”
In round one, Jones said that it looks as though Booth was treating this fight as a massive opportunity, because, hello, Booth is 34 and his window is closing. Then, at the end of the round, Jones admitted that he saw Booth not following up on a sharp body blow as quickly as one would like.
Booth went lefty after being a righty in the first. Roy didn’t like the move, after seeing Booth eat a too-clean shot 2/3 of the way through round two. Watchers heard a mini treatise on switching stance, with Tarver telling fans that he is ambidextrous, but he didn’t go righty more often because his defense wasn’t as tight as when he stood southpaw. Jones said he would switch, but only when he knew that he had his foe under control.
24-year-old Dutchover was punching through the foe moreso than Booth after three rounds. Roy, before the start of the fourth, opined that switching wasn’t working well for the Florida-based boxer, who almost had his career (and life) ended in 2019 when he was hit three times in a drive-by attack.
Trainer Rick Carronogan, after the fourth, told Booth to, “breathe deep, relax.” That may have been a hint as to an issue that the fighter struggles with. He’d advised the Floridian to relax after the second as well.
In the fifth, Booth looked to get to Dutchover, but his aggression wasn’t too effective, he was too polite. Carronogan asked for work on the body from the ten-year vet after the fifth. Dutchover moved smartly in the sixth, and Booth would follow, but he didn’t cut that ring off. All the ex-fighters focused on Booth and pointed out how he might be able to be more effective in round seven. “Can’t catch up with him if you’re following him,” Jones noted. “Another round like this, Booth maybe is gonna need a knockout,” Tarver intoned after the charming Texan looked to be the better ring general.
Booth going lefty in the eighth didn’t impress Tarver or Roy or Paulie, and Malignaggi said midway through that Booth needed a knockout. “I would have liked to see what happened if Booth stayed orthodox,” Roy said.
That didn’t happen, and this fight didn’t really lift off. But for Dutchover (16-2) the methodology employed seemed sound. He fought focused and savvy, and didn’t leave himself open to take on Booth (21-5) fire, one fight after his chin got harshly nicked.