Dallas knows he can’t trade punches against powerful Matthysse

Mike Dallas Jr. probably doesn’t want to stand in the middle of the ring and slug it out with Lucas Matthysse on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel. Instead, Dallas plans to use brain over brawn to wrest away the powerful Matthysse’s WBC interim super lightweight title.

“I have to fight a smart fight,” said Dallas (19-2-1, eight knockouts). “I’m going to box, fight my fight and be myself in the ring.”

That might be easier said than done given the 30-year-old Matthysse (32-2, 30 KOs) is a pressure fighter who likes to use his superior strength to bully his opponents and take them out of their game plans.

“You’ve got to use his aggressiveness against him,” Dallas said. “I feel like I trained well to fight a smart fight against him.”

Dallas, 26, took the fight on short notice after Hank Lundy pulled out three weeks ago because of contractual issues with his promoter. But Dallas said having trainer Virgil Hunter in his corner will help offset the lack of preparation time.

“Virgil is the master when it comes to game planning for a big fight,” Dallas said. “We’ve studied (Matthysse’s) past fights, and he’s definitely got some flaws in his style.”

Dallas, who sparred with Amir Khan last month, said he and Hunter have gotten along well in the time they’ve been together.

“Virgil doesn’t try and change you,” Dallas said. “He works with what you have.”

Dallas knows Matthysse will pressure him from the outset, but that doesn’t mean he will run for 12 rounds. He’ll probably have to engage the hard-hitting Argentinian inside and is prepared to do so.

“I can punch too,” Dallas said. “We’ve been working on placing my punches so I can be more effective.”

Hunter will join Dallas on Saturday in Las Vegas. He is in Long Island, N.Y., today working Demetrius Andrade’s corner for his fight against Freddy Hernandez.

Dallas said he is where he needs to be mentally. His father, former professional boxer Mike Dallas Sr., died in mid-November in their hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., after a seven-month battle with leukemia. Dallas, who last fought June 22, had time to be with his dad and grieve after he died. Now, he can focus on himself and try to take the next step toward his goal of becoming a world champion.

“As a kid, you dream about big moments like this,” said Dallas, whose two losses came back to back in 2011, to Josesito Lopez and Mauricio Herrera. “Every boxer’s goal is to be a world champion, and this fight is the next step toward that.

“I know (Matthysse) is a tough fighter, but I’m ready to step up.”

■ NOTES – Today’s weigh-in will be at 4 p.m. at the Vinyl Nightclub at the Hard Rock Hotel. It’s open to the public, and admission is free. … Tickets, starting at $25, are available at the Hard Rock Hotel box office. … The Showtime Extreme telecast begins at 5 p.m., followed by the regular Showtime telecast featuring three fights. Along with Matthysse-Dallas, super welterweights Jermell Charlo (19-0, nine KOs) and Harry Joe Yorgey (25-1-1, 12 KOs) and junior middleweights Selcuk Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) and Jesus Soto Karass (26-8-3, 17 KOs) will meet in 10-round bouts.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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