There are times in the sport of Boxing where what appears to be a close fight on paper does not materialize once the fighters get in the ring. By the same token, there are also times when what appears on paper prior to an encounter seems to match up perfectly once the fight starts. The latter is precisely what occurred when former WBO Jr. Featherweight world champion Isaac Dogboe met former world title challenger Joet Gonzalez in a Featherweight bout on July 23rd at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, MN.
A fight that was billed as an elimination bout for the right to challenge recently crowned WBC Featherweight world champion Rey Vargas that this observer in the days prior to the bout referred to as a “Crossroads Fight” for both fighters. This was due to both Dogboe and Gonzalez suffering some setbacks in the recent past. While a loss for either fighter would not signal the end of the road at least in the eyes of yours truly, the fighter who would come out on the short end would at least appear to be out of contention for a period of time.
In previewing this bout, I did my best to point out the similarities between the two fighters both in terms of style as well as the setbacks both Dogboe and Gonzalez had suffered prior to this fight. It would be those similarities in style between the two boxer/punchers that would manifest inside the ring. The first three rounds were largely dictated by Dogboe and his ability to attack Gonzalez in offensive spurts, which were focused on Gonzalez’ body. Despite having a height and reach advantage, Gonzalez was ineffective at this stage in the fight simply because he appeared reluctant to let his hands go.
This allowed Dogboe to pick his spots to throw and land punches in short, compact combinations and evade Gonzalez’ reach by moving out at angles. In round four Gonzalez landed a flush overhand right to the head of Dogboe that had the former world champion stunned. Dogboe was able to survive, but it would be this moment that would somewhat change the dynamic of how the fight was fought during the second half of the bout.
Gonzalez began to apply consistent pressure on Dogboe and did find success in being able to back him up against the ropes. While Dogboe ‘s activity did not seem to decrease significantly down the stretch, the pressure of Gonzalez as well as seeming to land the harder punches whenever he did throw resulted in an extremely close fight at the conclusion of the scheduled ten round bout.
At the end of the fight, I was not surprised to see the appearance of what could be a closely scored fight that could go either way. As readers may recall in previewing this bout I eluded to the possibility of a close fight and perhaps even the possibility of the fight being scored a draw based largely on the styles of Dogboe and Gonzalez.
Although I felt Isaac Dogboe did enough to win the fight largely based on the success he had in the first three rounds as well as being able to win a few close rounds down the stretch in my view, I felt the fight could go either way based on Gonzalez’ harder punches and how that element can leave an impression on three official judges scoring a fight. It was no surprise to see a split decision rendered with all three judges turning in scores of 96-94 or six rounds to four. Two of those three official scorecards were in favor of Isaac Dogboe giving him a hard fought split decision victory.
While not necessarily the statement-making performance that he was likely looking for, it was still a hard fought victory for Dogboe. Even though the fight was close and competitive and that would give the impression that circumstances might warrant a rematch, it is more likely that Dogboe will try to secure the opportunity he has earned by trying to get a fight with WBC Featherweight world champion Rey Vargas. As to when that fight could take place will likely depend on how quickly a negotiation between the respective representatives can take place and how quickly they can come to an agreement on the terms to sign the bout. Of course, when there are different promoters and networks involved, unfortunately, things are not always as simple as getting respective sides to the negotiating table. Hopefully, for Isaac Dogboe, the politics that be in the sport of Boxing will not result in his waiting a long period of time for the opportunity he has earned to attempt to become a two-division world champion.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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