Isaac Dogboe dissects world title triumph over Jessie Magdaleno
PHILADELPHIA — By Sunday, the swelling had gone down, though Isaac Dogboe was still dodging punches, moving his head and holding his hands up by his face as Jessie Magdaleno tried hitting him on the Mac computer screen. Team Dogboe had taken over the Renaissance Philadelphia Airport Hotel main lobby the day after Dogboe annexed the WBO junior featherweight title by stopping Magdaleno at 1:38 of the 11th round on ESPN-televised main event at Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
For the first time, Dogboe, 23, who survived a first-round knockdown to knock down Magdaleno Saturday night in the fifth and twice in the 11th round, was watching his handiwork on his laptop perched on a mahogany table.
The newly crowned Ghana national hero let RingTV.com in on what he was thinking as the fight transpired.
Here is his narrative:
Isaac Dogboe: “It’s been a long road and I couldn’t have done it without the grace of God. The challenges were there, and when they come, you face them. I faced them Saturday night, when I was knocked down in the first round. I’ve never been knocked down before. I went through the storm. I didn’t feel hurt by [Magdaleno’s knockdown punch]. I got up straight away. I should have taken three or four more seconds to get up, and that’s my inexperience that got in the way.
“It was a good shot that I could feel in the back of my head. It’s boxing. Wherever the punch goes, it goes. But I was like, ‘Aw man, I’m looking at a 10-8 round.’
“In the second, I started forcing too much, and that’s because I was loading up too much on my punches. My father [Paul, Isaac’s trainer] kept telling me to relax and just let the fight flow. My legs may have looked strong in the second, and that comes from a lot of training on the beach and running in the mountains and stairs. My father is an ex-military man, so when it comes to the physical aspect of things, at times, you feel the pain during training sessions. Then I see here how I reacted in the second round. I got knocked down and got right back up, just another day at the office for me.
“The reason I kept missing early was because I tried going for the head and kept missing with wide shots. I sparred Jessie four years, and he wasn’t as quick as he was four years ago, but he was still as strong. We sparred together in Vegas in 2014, and I knew when I jabbed, when I left myself open. He picked me along the way, and my father kept telling me to tap him, and keep my hands up. Then, I wanted to go to the body, and touch him on the chest.
“There was no need for me to load up. That’s the mistake I was making the first two or three rounds. My dad kept telling me to relax. I knew when I hit him in the third round, he was feeling it. He felt the shots to the body, and there were a few times, like in the third, I switched to southpaw.
“His punching output began slowing down in the third. That’s when his punches began coming wide and he was actually struggling. I fell in the third round and grabbed his legs, but that was because our legs got tangles. He was the one stalking me, if you see the fight, in the center of the ring.
“But I could sense it. I could sense he was weakening. My dad yelled at me between the third and fourth rounds because he wanted me to go to the body more. Every time I went to the head, Jessie would slip the punch. He’s a slick fighter.”
Paul Dogboe: “I wanted Isaac to lay off the head and go to the body more, slow him down and come on. I kept telling Isaac to move to Jessie’s left and set him up. I told him to slip inside Jessie’s punching range, go to the body. Tap him, tap him, tap him, and then go to the body.”
Isaac Dogboe: “I thought the fight changed in the fourth round. I had to get warmed up. I didn’t warm up properly. From the beginning, I wasn’t hurt in the first. I started to think he couldn’t hurt me, though I had to tread cautiously. I knew I was much, much stronger than him and I shouldn’t be making any mistakes.
“I had to stop chasing his head. I realized I was touching more with the jabs than the previous rounds. I was also much more relaxed. I backed him up. That followed in the next three or four more rounds. In between the fifth and sixth, my dad kept telling to go to the body, and throw double shots, then mix it up and go to the head. But the priority was throwing the body shots. My dad told me when I finish, I should (keep) my hand up.
“In the fifth, I knew he was tiring out. He kept yelling at me, ‘Come on, you can’t hurt me!’ The punch that knocked [Magdaleno] down was semi-right hook, semi-right uppercut, and right on the chin. He wasn’t yelling ‘Come on, you can’t hurt me!’ then. I could hear my dad telling after the knockdown to relax, don’t tense up. When the time is right, he’s going to go. [Magdaleno] is a tough guy. I have to respect him. We called each other some things before the fight, but that all goes when the fight goes on.
“It’s the fight game, people say things. He put his chin out in the fifth, and told me I wasn’t hurting him. The knockdown punch came from throwing a counter punch in the direction of his head. I kept missing earlier because every time I saw his back [left] hand down, I thought I couldn’t get him. But my timing wasn’t right. The punch I wanted was where I wanted it to go, right on the jaw.
“The seventh round was his last shot at me. He came on strong, but I knew I had to maintain my composure. I knew he was getting tired and I kept to going to the body. I still need a bit more maturity and I’m a student of the game. I want to keep on learning.
“I knew I had him then. I weathered the storm. I was taking instructions from my dad and I stayed calm. In the later rounds, I wanted to extend my hands more. I wanted to use the long jab and keep a high guard. I wanted to punch inside his punch. I waited for him to counter him. He slowed down and was looking for one lucky shot to end the whole show. I think that’s what he was thinking in the 10th and 11th rounds.
“When you’re tired and you’re desperate, you have to try and do something to keep your opponent off. My instructions were to keep my composure and keep walking to the left. I kept my eyes on his chest.”
Paul Dogboe: “We had to watch where Jessie placed his legs. When you’re fighting a southpaw, you don’t want to put your legs within their legs. We wanted to draw his power hand, and then counter with the right hook. He began overextending in the later rounds. He threw his backhand with his whole body and brings his legs to one side.”
Isaac Dogboe: “After the 10th, it was a matter of time. But in the back of my mind, I was a little cautious. I was thinking he might just be bluffing me, so I tried not to get too excited. After I threw two or three punches, I looked at him before going back in again. In the last round, it was important to touch him, touch him, and he was yelling at me, ‘Come on, come on!’ Every time that bell went to begin another round, he got off his stool a few seconds late.
“The first knockdown came from a right to the body and a right to the jaw, before a left hook. The second knockdown came from all of that body work earlier, and that brought his hands down. I hit him with a left hook to the jaw and that was it.
“In between rounds, I was always praying. I prayed for God to give me victory. I hugged Jessie and I told him, ‘Look, everything that happened in the build-up, let’s put it behind us. You’re a great fighter!’
Paul then proceeded to break down Isaac’s attack, still finding flaws.
“I’m still learning, of course,” Isaac said. “You can never stop learning. I had to have this title at all costs and it was a sense of relief afterward. I knew I was going to win.”
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