Ever since his move up to 126 pounds, Isaac Dogboe faced questions about his prospects for success fighting bigger, more natural featherweights. After 10 tough rounds against a proven top contender in Joet Gonzalez, Dogboe (24-2, 15 KO) exited with a narrow split decision and showed once again that he may not have the size to dominate, but he can hold his own at the weight.
Dogboe won the first three rounds clearly, working well off the front foot while Gonzalez (25-3, 15 KO) started off very slow and cautious. Gonzalez only landed one punch in the first round, and fought so defensively that he effectively gave Dogboe a 90 second head start in the second and third rounds.
Gonzalez landed a punishing right hook in the first minute of the fourth that left Dogboe covering up and cornered for much of the round. Gonzalez jumped on the opportunity, finally shifting into another gear and sparking lively fifth and sixth round action with smart hooks landing both ways.
In the middle section, Gonzalez was the one who seemed to land more damaging punches. And once Gonzalez started moving forwards and letting his hands go, Dogboe struggled to reestablish his own attack. But either Gonzalez decided to hunker down again, or Dogboe found a path ahead. He managed to start moving forward again in the ninth and tenth rounds. All three judges gave the tenth to Dogboe, and it was just enough margin to win him the fight.
Two judges had it 96-94 for Dogboe, with the third card 96-94 in favor of Gonzalez. Bad Left Hook had it 96-94 for Dogboe, but the action was tight enough with two or three swing rounds that a draw card or 96-94 either way is completely fair.
This wasn’t a fight that brought you out of your seat. There were no knockdowns, and few if any dramatic swings of momentum. But it was a tough, proud performance from both men, and a consistently entertaining battle.
Dogboe seems to be in line for a Rey Vargas fight, a size and style matchup I’ve already said I’m very keen to see. For Gonzalez, it’s a tough defeat, and one that might have been a victory if he’d unleashed his offense earlier, or sustained it in the final rounds.
Giovanni Cabrera UD-10 Gabriel Flores Jr
Gabriel Flores Jr got a quick and unpleasant welcome at 135 pounds, as Giovanni Cabrera put him down on the canvas in just seven seconds, and then a second time less than a minute later.
Flores (21-2, 7 KO) survived, but kept eating hard shots from a very patient and crisp Cabrera (21-0, 7 KO). Flores looked twitchy and whiffed on a lot of shots in the third round, while Cabrera continued to land strong punches.
Flores finally seemed to settle down and start scoring in the fifth. It was his sharpest round of the fight, until Cabrera caught him and put him down again late in the round.
Cabrera seemed content to cruise through much of the last half of the fight. Flores went all out for a knockout, throwing heavy shots and taking a direct warning for hitting behind the head in the seventh round.
Cabrera got aggressive again in the final round, but not enough to put Flores down a fourth time or stop the fight. It went to the judges, who all scored it 98-89 for Cabrera.
Javier Martinez UD-6 Chino Hill
Javier Martinez took a unanimous decision on surprisingly wide cards over Chino Hill. It was a matchup of wildly different styles, with Hill (7-1-1, 6 KO) fighting strong and aggressive and Martinez (7-0, 2 KO) taking a more targeted, tactical approach.
Martinez isn’t known as a heavy puncher, and Hill took some risks that might have cost him dearly against a knockout artist. I thought Hill did more than enough work to win a few rounds, but the judges obviously didn’t agree. They had it 60-54 once, and 59-55 on the other two cards, all in favor of Martinez.
The last third of the fight clearly favored Martinez, who looked particularly sharp in the fifth as Hill fell off from his early pace. Hill, the fighting pride of Davenport, Iowa, goes the way of the Quad City Thunder CBA basketball team and the Quad City Downs harness racing horse track. Unjustly or not; undeniably entertaining, but ultimately unsuccessful.
- Guido Vianello TKO-4 Rafael Rios (2:59)
- Haven Brady Jr UD-6 Aaron Echeveste (60-53, 60-54 x2)
- Colton Warner UD-4 Jimmy Barnes (40-36 x3)
- Abdullah Mason TKO-1 Luis Fernandez (2:39)
- Antonio Mireles TKO-2 Dennys Reyes (2:19)
- Dante Benjamin Jr TKO-1 Corey Thompson (2:24)
- Antonio Woods TKO-1 Darryl Jones (2:36)