Almost 15 years ago, Arturo Gatti was pulled out of his fight against Floyd Mayweather – after 18 minutes of a gross mismatch – by his trainer Buddy McGirt.
The world witnessed one of the most one-sided fights in history. It was a massacre. In the end, Gatti admitted the obvious, that Floyd was a class above him. “Too much speed. Things weren’t coming outright. He’s fast. He was just too quick.”
The build-up to the fight was a heated one characterized by the trash-talking you expect before a Mayweather fight but once the verdict was read, it became clear that one was simply not up to the task. Contrary to the many motivational messages that we read and listen to, not everyone can climb Mount Everest. Not everyone can be a billionaire. Not every fight can be won. It’s a fact of life. Defeat is part of life.
It’s what you do with the experience that matters. It baffles me therefore how talk of a third fight between Isaac Dogboe and Emmanuel Navarrete has resurfaced. It is not just Isaac who believes he can beat the Mexican, his father and trainer Paul also believes that such a feat is possible. It is all well and good for its motivational value but the truth about life is that not everything is possible.
It may be a piece of PR to keep Isaac’s name in the mix but if Team Dogboe is really serious about a third fight against Navarrete then perhaps Roger Mayweather is right when he says “most people don’t know sh** about boxing.”
Most people in that statement may well include Isaac, his father Paul, and whoever else thinks a third fight is a good idea.
The great Aumah Nelson coined the term “father and son” and if it adequately describes a fight it is Isaac vs Navarrete. The first fight was so one-sided an immediate rematch didn’t make sense in the first place. Dogboe was second best in every department of the fight. Compubox stats revealed Navarrete out-landed Dogboe 221 to 176, which included 170 to 129 in power shots and threw more overall by a count of 804 to 686.
The three judges had it 116-112 on two cards and 115-113 on the third.
Boxing’s trilogies are usually rivalries or develop into one after the first fight. It is difficult to pinpoint a boxer who beat an opponent at the third time of asking or after losing two previous fights where he was dominated. Usually, when more than two fights have happened between boxers, the previous fights would have been so close the only natural course of action would be a decider.
Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton’s trilogy between 1971 and 1976 had controversy written all over it. Norton handed Ali his second loss in their first fight when Ali suffered a broken jaw – that was the selling point for the rematch. Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran’s third fight was dubbed “Revenge in New Orleans” and it was preceded by two fights, the first won by Duran and the second by Leonard.
Other trilogies that come to mind are Pacman vs Morales, Gatti vs Ward and Azumah Nelson vs Jesse James Leija.
A trilogy must make sporting and commercial sense. On a sporting level, a third fight serves no purpose, except the risk of further damaging Dogboe’s career. Commercially it is not a fight that will sell. Dogboe vs Navarrete will be a hard sell after the two beat-downs handed the Ghanaian. It is dishonest and quite frankly, an insult to boxing fans to lose two fights in that manner and demand a third.
The first two fights in a trilogy usually sell the third in the form of how close the fight was or by some form of controversy or when the outcomes are split with both fighters holding one victory.
The Dogboes appear confused about what exactly they want to do after those two fights against Navarrete. From Isaac taking time out of the sport to pursue further studies to switching trainers at least three times in less than two years to talk of a fight against Carl Frampton and the recent talk of a third Navarette showdown, every step has been shrouded in doubt.
It’s not about saying ‘I’ll bounce back’, it’s about how you bounce back. At the moment, the moves that have been made in that regard seems more desperate than tactful.
Isaac may well become world champion again but it won’t happen by looking back. Paul should get his son to the gym, work on the flaws exposed by Navarrete, get a couple of tune-up fights and most importantly put Navarrete behind him.
Isaac will not beat Navarrete in 10 fights.
And that is that.