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Jessie Magdaleno vs. Isaac Dogboe on April 28 on ESPN


By Chris Williams: WBO super bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno will be battling unbeaten #1 WBO Isaac Dogboe (18-0 12 KOs) in a Top Rank promoted card on April 28 on ESPN a The Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.

The televised fight card starts at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs) and the 23-year-old Dogboe will headline the card on ESPN. It’s a good fight, but neither guy is well-known with the casual boxing fans in the U.S. This is a fight that casual fans might stumble upon if it they’re watching ESPN, but it’s not likely one that they’ll seek out.

Dogboe is a 2012 Olympian from Ghana, who is getting better with every fight he takes since he turned pro in 2013. Dogboe looked sensational recently in stopping a very good fighter in Cesar Juarez in the 5th round last January. The 26-year-old Juarez had never been stopped before during his career, and he’s been in with the likes of Nonito Donaire, Giovanni Delgado, Hugo Patida, Jorge Lara and Edgar Lozano. Dogboe just annihilated Juarez, treating him like he was a rank amateur instead of a tough-nosed pro.

Dogboe won the interim WBO super bantamweight belt with a 7th round stoppage win over Cesar Juarez on January 6. Dogboe was supposed to fight Magdaleno, but he was out with a wrist injury and couldn’t take the fight. It might be a good thing for Magdaleno that he didn’t, because Dogboe looked great in battering Juarez for 7 rounds. Magdaleno has bad luck. If he had won his WBO title years ago, he wouldn’t have to worry about a talented fighter like Dogboe coming along until he’d already been champion for quite awhile. Unfortunately for Magdaleno, this fight is coming early in his career, and it could end badly for him.

Dogboe and Magdaleno were scheduled for the co-feature bout on the undercard of the Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford welterweight title match on April 14 on ESPN, but that fight needed to be moved off that date due to a hand injury that Crawford suffered. Magdaleno’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank moved his fight with Dogboe off the card and placed it as a headliner fight on ESPN for April 28. Magdaleno will be defending his WBO 122lb. belt against his World Boxing Organization mandatory challenger Dogboe.

Magdaleno-Dogboe is a good fight, but unfortunately they’re not well-known enough for them to guarantee huge ratings. This is kind of premature for them to be in a headliner match. Top Rank might have been better off keeping Magdaleno-Dogboe with the Horn-Crawford fight, but then again, that fight isn’t a great one either. Crawford is only popular in Nebraska, and Horn is a complete unknown in terms of the casual boxing fans in the U.S. It’s too bad Manny Pacquiao chose to reject the fight against past his prime Mike Alvarado on the Horn vs. Crawford undercard. It would an awful fight for Pacquiao, but at least he would have helped attract attention to the Horn-Crawford card.

“I feel like this going to be a very exciting fight,” Magdaleno said. “All the fans are going to see a great fight from Jessie Magdaleno. I’m going to do things the fans have never seen from me. I have a great undefeated opponent in front of me. Someone’s ‘0’ has got to go, but mine isn’t going anywhere.”

Magdaleno, 26, doesn’t have the same impeccable amateur credentials that Dogboe possesses, but he does have a one-sided 12 round unanimous win over past his prime 35-year-old Nonito Donaire in November of 2011. However, Donaire struggled to beat Cesar Juarez by a 12 round unanimous decision a year earlier in December 2015. So that kind of shows you the level Donaire was at when he fought Magdaleno. This isn’t the same Donaire that was one of Top Rank’s best fighters in 2012.

In other fights on the same card, heavyweight Bryant Jennings (22-2, 13 KOs) faces journeyman Joey Dawejko (19-4-4, 11 KOs) in a 10 round fight. The 27-year-old Dawejko has had a couple of draws recently against Demetrius Banks and Ytalo Perea in the last two years. Dawejko was beaten by Amir Mansour three years ago by a 10 round unanimous decision. Dawejko has won five out of his last 7 fights. Jennings, 33, needs to step it up already and start fighting contenders if he wants to get a title shot before he ages out. He’ll be turning 34 in September. Jennings is ranked #8 WBO and #13 WBA. If Top Rank matched Jennings against some good heavyweights, he’d get pushed up the rankings a lot faster if h won the fights.

Super middleweight Jesse Hart (23-1, 19 KOs) fights Demond Nicholson (18-2-1, 17 KOs) in a 10 round stay busy fight. Hart, 28, is trying to get another title shot against WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez after losing to him by a 12 round on September 22, 2017. The World Boxing Organization didn’t drop Hart down after that loss for some reason. Normally when a top contender loses, they get dropped down to a lower spot in the rankings so other fighters can get a chance, but in the case of the Top Rank promoted Hart, the WBO kept him ranked No.1. It must be nice for Hart to keep his ranking, but not so good for the other contenders that have been waiting patiently for a title shot. Hart did win his last fight against journeyman Thomas Awimbono (25-7-1, 21 KOs). Hart won that fight, but it was against a weak opponent.

Featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (5-0, 2 KOs) will be fighting unbeaten Roxberg Riley (12-0, 6 KOs) in an 8 round fight. Stevenson, 20, is a 2016 U.S Olympic silver medalist. Stevenson has looked good technically since turning pro in 2017, but his lack of punching power is disappointing. Stevenson might not go far in boxing unfortunately. You’ve got to have punching power or good hand speed. Stevenson has neither, which is why he’s not been knocking guys out. He’s not even getting close to nocking his opponents out. Top Rank is going to need to take it easy with Stevenson if they don’t want to see him get beaten watch him lose his confidence. Stevenson needs to hit the weight room to try and find some punching power. If he faces a good featherweight anytime soon, he’s going to take a beating. He can’t punch hard enough to hurt any of his opponents, even against the lower level fighters he’s been facing.

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