Story Lines: Roots, Rock, Dogboe
Unquestionably the most important fight of the night is the only world title bout of the week: Jessie Magdaleno vs. Isaac Dogboe, for the WBO junior featherweight title. The contest will be televised live on ESPN (7:00 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
If anyone hadn’t known there was a rivalry between the two, they certainly found out at Thursday’s final press conference.
“I know this guy is coming,” said Magdaleno, who looks to make his second defense of the WBO 122-pound belt. “I hope (Dogboe) is ready because I came ready. I don’t want any excuses. I don’t want ‘No, it wasn’t his night this and that.’ No. He’s gonna get the ass-whoopin he deserves to get.”
It all started once Dogboe, 18-0 (12), won the WBO interim junior featherweight belt, in January, after forcing a stoppage of Cesar Juarez in some fighting pit, in his hometown of Accra, Ghana. The atmosphere there was electric, and Dogboe’s post-fight call-out of Magdaleno resonated to those who caught a tremendous action fight for the five rounds it lasted. “I’m coming for you, Jessie Magdaleno!” Dogboe yelled, while tightly grasping the interim title.
Magdaleno, 25-0 (18), isn’t usually a trash-talker but once the fight was signed, he was given a reason, once Dogboe’s father compared him to a crazy chicken and eluded to President Donald Trump building a wall for them to throw Magdaleno over, once they beat him. Magdaleno, a Mexican-American born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, took offense and the animosity is still there. Thanks to a minor hand injury last October, Magdaleno hasn’t fought in a year but claims to have had a better training camp than the one that prepared him for his signature win: a unanimous decision over Nonito Donaire in November 2016. Any rumors of him having trouble to make the 122-pound limit were quieted once making the limit on the nose but it didn’t come without a deep breath before stepping on the scale.
“I can’t beat him any uglier than he already is,” said Magdaleno. “He’s already dog-ugly. Come Saturday, we’re gonna give him the name he deserves: The Ugly Dogboe.”
“Oh yeah, when you see me, you see my father. I am my father’s son,” Dogboe said.
“You are a very great-looking guy, so keep it up, added Dogboe. “At the end of the day, if you’re a man, you have got to look ugly. It shows that you are a caveman, not a pretty boy. You understand? It shows where we’re both coming from. I’m cut from a different cloth.”
“You are cut from the ugly cloth,” Jessie quipped.
“I don’t mind being called ugly because, at the end of the day, when I knock you out cold, that’s when you’re gonna know,” Dogboe responded. “I’m gonna feel a bit sorry for your little son because he’s gonna be crying seeing his father lying down cold.”
Apparently that was too much for Magdaleno, who threatened to slap Dogboe, once bringing his son into the discussion.
All this means nothing but it set the table for a tremendous match-up that could either be an intense tactical match between class opponents or an all-out war between unhinged rivals. Either way the fans watching will win but if you want a guaranteed fire fight, you won’t have to go far.
Longtime Philadelphia promoter, J Russell Peltz, of Peltz Boxing, was proud of not only help making this card but gleamed when talking about a certain match-up that is sure to bring a brawl: Jesse Hart vs. Demond Nicholson, a super middleweight contest that will also be aired on the ESPN telecast. Hart, 28, who was born and raised in Philly, comes from a fighting bloodline cherished in the city, and there was no one better to tell you about it.
“In the days of (Jesse’s father Eugene) “Cyclone” Hart, Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts, Willie “The Worm” Monroe, Billy Briscoe and (Stanley) “Kitten” Hayward, only one of those five guys fought the other four, and it was him,” Peltz said about Jesse’s father. “He fought Hayward, Briscoe, Watts and Monroe. Briscoe might have fought three of them but Cyclone Hart is the only one that fought them all. That, to me, is really what this fight is all about. I know Philly fighters go places without fighting each other but Philly boxing – what made Philly the great boxing town it once was – is when Philly guys fought each other. That’s why this fight is so big.”
Hart, 23-1 (19), has an action style that leaves his roots unquestioned and after falling short in his first world title shot to Gilberto Ramirez, he hopes to get the rematch.
“I’m fighting for my family’s last name.” he said. “The Hart last name, it’s here to stay and that’s what I’m trying to prove. I can carry the Hart name on my back and that’s what I set out to do. It’s deep in my family roots. All my uncles boxed but my dad is who took it the furthest. That’s the goal: take it further than my dad did.”
Nicholson, 18-2-1 (17), from Laurel, Maryland, poked the bear at the final presser. “I have four generations of family in Philly. Maybe even more than Jesse,” he said to a round of boos and a Hart retaliation that bled into an intense stare down at the weigh-in the following day.
“I get chills thinking about fighting at Barclays Center. I truly believe in my heart that I am the best middleweight in the world. I look to be impressive in all of my outings. Whether I win by knockout or decision, I want to look my best.”
Top middleweight contender and former title challenger Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs returns to his native borough of Brooklyn, this Saturday night, on HBO (10:00 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), nearly two-and-half years since sparking Peter Quillin there in round one. It was a different time then for Jacobs, who was fighting on Showtime, but his effort in defeat to unified middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin really put some respect on his name.
“It’s not just me I’m representing up here; it’s my whole team. Andre Rozier has been my trainer since I first put on gloves,” Jacobs continued at the final press conference. “Thanks to Matchroom Boxing for giving me the platform and to HBO for believing in me, after a very controversial decision. I’m excited to face Sulecki and know that with a victory, bigger fights await.”
Jacobs, 33-2 (29), also made a power move after the loss in signing with British-based promoter Eddie Hearn (groop managing director of Matchroom Boxing) and he enters the second fight of an HBO contract. A dominant unanimous decision over Luis Arias last November didn’t really move the needle, in Long Island, yet Jacobs faces yet another unbeaten middleweight hopeful in Maciej Sulecki. Fighting out of Warsaw, Poland, Sulecki, 26-0 (10), is more experienced than Arias and may very well put up a better fight but that doesn’t necessarily mean the match is drastically moving that aforementioned needle.
‘This is a big fight and a best test for me, I know how good Danny is. I’m strong; I’m fast and I’m ready to win,” Sulecki said. “I’ve had a very good camp with my coach in Poland. I have great fans in the U.S. and in England and look forward to having their support on Saturday night. I can’t wait to get in the ring.”
With Jacobs expected to win, the HBO card is complemented by another Brooklynite in Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller – a heavyweight contender who lives up to the “Big” half of his nickname.
“I feel terrific, glad to be back on HBO again on this great card, supporting my guy Danny Jacobs, so tune in on April 28th for a great night,” said Miller, whose big body is accompanied by an equally big mouth. “There’s been a lot of talk about my next fight but I’m not worried about that. I’m just looking to fighting (Johann) Duhaupas, beating him and taking it from there. Hard work, dedication and cheeseburgers.”
Miller, 20-0-1 (18), weighed in at a whopping 304 pounds yesterday but is extremely athletic, given his size and, as a former kickboxer, has a distinct knack for the fight game. Johann Duhaupas, 37-4 (24), is a serviceable Frenchman who gave WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder a good effort nearly three years ago. He really serves as the only thing standing between Miller and his first title shot. This fight making the broadcast gives reason to believe he could make a brash opponent for unified IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua to make his American debut against. This also may be a harbinger to another rumor that HBO is trying its best to land Joshua with an exclusive television deal, which would likely prevent a Joshua-Wilder unification bout for the undisputed championship from happening, Only time will tell.
It’s pronounced “Dog-bay” and once he beats Magdaleno this evening, you should start getting it right.