Feature: Stop toying with your career, Isaac Dogboe!

Author: Bernard Neequaye

Isaac Dogboe recently announced that his planned featherweight fight with Carl Frampton on November 30 was off due to an ankle injury he sustained during training but I hope it was not just an excuse to pull out of the bout.

The former World Boxing Organisation (WBO) super bantamweight champion’s decision to forfeit the fight could be legitimate but detrimental to his young career should it come out that it was all cooked.

I don’t want to believe that his injury was feigned because having been close to Team Dogboe, I have always respected their professionalism when it comes to matters of this nature.

My problem, however, has to do with the lack of straightforward planning by Dogboe since losing his world title to Emanuel Navarrete last December before failing to reclaim it in a rematch in May.

We were told by father and trainer, Paul Dogboe, immediately after the second consecutive defeat by Navarrete that his son would quit the sport to concentrate on his education. Listening to Paul at the time, I realised he was rather talking out of frustration rather than facing reality that Dogboe was just a mismatch for the Mexican.

Paul also told us that he was vacating his post as trainer should Dogboe decide to make a return to the sport which we all believed when the news about teaming up with legendary trainer, Freddie Roach, broke.

At the end, all these statements by Paul proved futile as his son’s return to the ring was announced quickly than expected, as well as the union between Dogboe and Roach lasting just a month after which they parted ways.

As a matter of fact, the union between Dogboe and Roach got Ghanaians and boxing enthusiasts excited and personally, I felt it was time for him to be transformed into one of the best to have come from Africa by the legendary trainer.

Whatever led to an abrupt collapse of that relationship is yet to be known.

I am sometimes tempted to believe Paul tried to interfere in the work of Roach during what the American trainer’s spokesperson confirmed as a “trial period”. In my opinion, that could have been an important reason for Roach to conclude that the period wasn’t “the right fit.”

My assertion may sound judgemental which I seek to avoid but the relationship between Dogboe and his father remains so close that the boxer once threatened to quit the sport after his father decided to get him a new trainer following his world title triumph over Jessie Magdaleno in 2018.

As I write, it is not clear if former WBO super middleweight champion, James Toney, is in full control of Dogboe having been appointed as his trainer.

Learning from mistakes

I remember stating clearly in an article I wrote in the Graphic Sports in May entitled “Isaac Dogboe, a promising career cut short?’ after his second defeat to Navarrete that Dogboe’s fall from grace to grass was a managerial failure on the part of his team.

Yes, I still stand by that assertion because it is obvious that his handlers failed to study Navarrete before accepting to fight him which really affected Dogboe.

How can a world champion admit to underrating a boxer of Navarrete’s calibre who before his bout with Dogboe had an impressive knockout record of 22 out of 25 fights. It shows how lousy the managers of Dogboe were in ensuring their fighter was in shape to fight a power puncher in the Mexican.

I thought the two consecutive defeats will serve as a lesson to Dogboe and the entire team in approaching subsequent fights but it looks as if they remain undecided on what next to do after saying one thing and doing the other.

If my memory serves me right, Paul said he would allow a new trainer to prepare his son for the rematch with Navarrete but ended up keeping up the role. It proved dangerous to Dogboe’s career as he was knocked out by the Mexican in a one-sided fight.

I think Team Dogboe must sit down to analyse the current career dip of their boxer in order to set targets and work towards getting his career back on track rather than continuing with the same things that brought him where he is now.

From the recent happenings in the camp of Dogboe, it is evident that the indecisive decisions that led to his fall from grace to grass are not being addressed and the earlier they are solved, the better for his career.

Dogboe needs new direction

It is just better that after failing on two occasions to convince the boxing world of your technical prowess against Emanuel Navarrete, the best thing to do is to give way for a more experienced brain to revive the already dwindled career of Dogboe.

As it stands now, the entire Team Dogboe are in crisis with no direction and I think Paul must accept the fact that his son’s career is now bigger than him in order to allow a fresh face to takeover without any interference.

Whether the arrivals of James Toney as the main trainer and the legendary Billy Blanks, strength and conditioning coach, will be allowed to perform their roles without interference remains another headache because I foresee another falling out should Paul attempt that.

I was perplexed to hear about the falling with Roach because I felt it was the best of marriage after all that he had been through with the Navarrete fight. However, Dogboe believed otherwise when he said he needed to be in an environment that suited him and felt the ex-American boxer was the best option to revive his career.

“I got into Wild Card Gym for six days, not one month. Freddie welcomed me and all the people there were so nice to me. Freddie is a great man and we love him to bits.

“However, Isaac Dogboe has to be in an environment that suits him and that makes him comfortable. Sometimes you have to be in an environment where you can spread your wings, and thanks to God we met James ‘Lights Out’ Toney.

Everybody knows his track record because he used to fight guys who were big, tall and with shoulder movements,” he explained his decision.

The only advice I can leave them with is to note that having a direction in life is really important in helping you achieve your ambitions and as far as I am concerned, the entire Team Dogboe needs a new direction without any interferences if they are to bounce back in the sport.