Navarrete Shines in Tucson, Dogboe at a Crossroads

By Jon Uddin

As Emanuele Navarrete (27-1-0, 23KO) made his way to the ring Saturday night, the crowd at the Tucson Arena let the WBO Super Bantamweight champion know that they were behind him for his first title defense, which came in the form of a rematch with the man he took the belt from, Isaac Dogboe (20-2-0, 14KO).

Now in reality it was a surprise to no one that Navarrete would have the home advantage when it came to the crowd, the reported 4,420 in attendance was heavily made up of Mexican fans that filled the venue with energy that worked as fuel for the Mexico City native. You could see it play out in the ring as the cheers added a boost to Navarrete, who turned up the pressure with high volume relentless attacks that had Dogboe on his heels the majority of the fight.

Navarrete proved what many had believed after witnessing the first fight between these two, that the win wasn’t just a fluke, or a lack of focus or preparation from Dogboe, it was just the classic case of Navarrete being the better man in the ring and a nightmare matchup for the former champion from Ghana.

Classy in victory, Navarrete showed respect to Dogboe for his toughness and ability to continue when he was being hit with everything, including powerful head shots with a chopping right hand. Look no further than the final compubox stats that show Navarette landed more in both total (314) and power punches (215) than Dogboe landed for the entire bout (121).

To his credit, there is no doubt that when he is in the ring, Isaac Dogboe lives out his Ghanian ancestors battle cry of “NeHo” which means “to lift oneself through adversity” to the fullest extent. There is no quit in the 5’2 sparkplug, which unfortunately in this situation, meant that he had to be saved by his corner, who at the 2:02 mark of the twelfth round, mercifully threw in the towel. Many in attendance, and probably watching from home, felt like it’s a move that should have come much sooner.

We will see what’s next for Dogboe, but in his post fight interview he expressed interest in making the move up to the featherweight division. His father Paul doesn’t seem thrilled with the idea of his son continuing to fight at this point and wants him to turn his attention to his education and future. It’s understandable, Dogboe has suffered back to back once sided beatings at the hands of Navarrete in just a five month span.

Whatever his decision, hopefully Dogboe takes time to recover mentally and physically because although the weight may be easier to make by moving up, there is still tough, tough matchups for him with the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Josh Warrington, Oscar Valdez and Gary Russell Jr. being in the division.

There is the issue of a right hand injury for Navarrete to deal with, to what extent I don’t know, but hopefully it doesn’t keep him out of the ring for an extended period of time. He made it clear that he is ready for anyone that seeks to lift the belt from around his waist. With current champions Rey Vargas (WBC) and Daniel Roman (WBA/IBF) out there, the unification bouts should provide fans with great matchups.

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