Bill Tibbs writes about the uncertain future of former champion Issac Dogboe
WBO junior featherweight champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete (27-1, 23 KO’s) scored a very impressive TKO 12 over Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe (20-2, 14 KO’s) on Saturday night at the Tucson Arena in Tucson, Arizona.
Navarrete seemed to just pick up where he left off after their last bout only this time the hard body and head shots started even sooner rocking Dogboe early and often. Dogboe was dropped in rounds 6 and 12 and took an awful lot of punishment in between before his trainer, and father, Paul Dogboe finally stopped the bout with just under a minute remaining. This return fight was the rematch of their December bout in which Navarrete won a lopsided UD over the game, rugged (former) champion.
In their first bout, the fight could have easily been stopped anytime after the 10th round and nobody (outside of the never-say-die Dogboe) would have complained. On Saturday night, Dogboe absorbed a lot of punishment, for the second fight in a row, in a bout that he was clearly unable to turn around.
ESPN ringside analyst Joe Tessatore chided his corner on the air, round after round, for not stopping the one-sided beat down. The truth is that the corner’s job is to step in save the fighter from unnecessary punishment; the fight should have been stopped much sooner.
Heading into the fight the question one asks is that if Dogboe is to win the rematch, what is different? And, during the pre-fight build up Dogboe spoke loud and proud that the first fight was a fluke and that “Navarrete couldn’t stop me when I was at my worst” and the he was “coming back for what is mine."
Team Dogboe seemed confident that they had a strong camp, Isaac felt good and said he was in great shape. Dogboe certainly got fight fans wondering, ‘was the first fight just an off night for the champion?’ who had looked so dominant and unstoppable in his 3 previous fights (TKO Cesar Juarez, KO Jesse Magdaleno and TKO Hidenori Otaki).
Or, was the somewhat unknown (pre-Dogboe) Navarrete better than they thought? Well, the answer came hard and fast last Saturday night with the taller, stronger champion dictating the pace and punishment from the get-go.
After the fight, the gregarious and well-spoken Dogboe was as classy in defeat as he was brave in the ring complimenting the champion and, in a refreshing display of honesty, offering no excuses except to say that the better man won.
It was a tough loss and a huge career setback at this stage. Not just the back-to-back losses but the manner in which he was handled in both fights. So, what is next for the exciting former champion? It is to say the least, in the short term anyway, uncertain times for the London-residing, Accra, Ghana born fighter.
Was Navarrete, a strong and well-rounded fighter just executing a style that was a difficult match up for the shorter Dogboe? Was the 122-pound weight, despite having a good camp, still too much of a struggle and draining the champion? Would he be better off, and stronger, at a higher weight?
However, moving forward, there might be some changes in the camp if he does indeed continue his career, no matter the weight.
The day after the bout Dogboe’s father and trainer, perhaps speaking out of emotion as much as anything, sounded like whatever his son decides to do it won’t be with him on board.
Former British Army officer, Paul Dogboe, stated that, “Oh yes, he will take a long vacation and continue his education and if that hunger comes back then he will come back to fight. I think I will have to get him another trainer if he decides to come back and fight because I can’t do this anymore,” he said.
And, Isaac himself, a fighter if there ever was one, stated that he would indeed be returning but at a higher weight.
“Making super bantamweight is getting too difficult. My next fight, I will be moving up to featherweight. I will be much more comfortable there. All the credit to Navarrete. I thank him for giving me the opportunity to regain my title. It just didn’t go my way tonight. I will be back at featherweight in a big way.”