By Gav Duthie: Daniel Dubois suffered his first defeat at the hands of Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce in a battle of British heavyweights.
At 23 years of age, this is in no way the end for Daniel, but there are still serious questions to be asked and points to be addressed moving forward.
Criticism comes part and parcel with any defeat in this sport and when you are seen by many to have quit then that increases tenfold.
Dubois took a knee after a stiff jab by Joyce, one of 98 jabs landed by the Olympic silver medalist in the fight. He decided not to rise and was counted out.
He has been derided by many of the boxing community for giving up, and questions over his future in the sport are inevitable. This article will explore Dubois’s heart, his team, and tactics, as well as his matchmaking so far.
Did he Quit?
A fighter can gain huge extra credit for fighting through adversity. Arturo Gatti seemed to wait until he could not see at times before he exploded into action. Ali fought on against Ken Norton with a broken jaw, as did Arthur Abraham against Edison Miranda when it looked like half his face was hanging off.
We love to see fighters persevere through the pain. Dubois clearly did not do that, but in his defense, this is possibly the worst injury other than brain damage a boxer can receive.
The news is that Dubois, much like Kell Brook, fractured the orbital bone in his left eye. Having that break would make you feel like your eye was sinking and your vision was gone.
Pain is one thing but thinking you are going blind is another. It looked very similar to how Gerald McLennan took the knee against Nigel Benn, but we know now that he had already suffered serious brain damage.
It seems Dubois injuries are less severe but extremely serious none the less. Nevertheless, people will question his heart and how he comes through adversity.
Opinions can be changed, though, and at 23 years old, he has the time to change them. Roberto Duran is considered one of boxing’s greatest warriors, but he was a laughing stock in the aftermath of the ‘No Mas’ Sugar Ray Leonard incident.
Vitaly Klitschko was considered talented yet soft when he pulled out of a fight in the 10th round with a shoulder injury against Chris Byrd despite dominating.
After his wars with Lennox Lewis and Corrie Sanders, however, his status was changed to warrior. I will admit it didn’t look good for Dubois, but it was very serious, and he should be allowed the chance to prove his heart again.
The more worrying thing was the fact that he ate nearly 100 jabs in just under 10 rounds.
Daniel Dubois is trained out of the Peacock Gym established in 1978 by Martin Bowers. Bowers trains another 6 professionals, including undefeated prospect Chris Bourke but Dubois is by far the most high profile.
I’m not saying he should change teams, but I did feel that there was a lot lacking both tactically and in terms of motivation on fight night.
Joyce has a good jab; it reminds me a bit of George Foreman’s the way he pushes it out there. Joyce has added a few feints to his game, but his jab is by no means quick. Dubois should not have taken as many as he did. A boxer can do 3 things to avoid punches.
1 – Keep your gloves up
2- Head movement
3- Lateral movement
Dubois did very little of any of these. With all these quick knockouts, he has been solely focused on attack. I saw some head movement occasionally, but only after the first jab had landed.
Daniel has very little lateral movement as moving to his right would have both avoided that jab and created attacking opportunities.
In Dubois’s fight against Nathan Gorman, he won the battle of the jabs, so it was strange to see him use his own jab so little and stay at the right distance for Joyce.
His corner kept saying things like ‘We have trained hard for this’ they gave very little tactical advice for how he could land and avoid punches.
Perhaps even going southpaw, given the fact his eye had been injured so early in the fight. Obviously, that is something he hasn’t done before, but given how he could hardly see, I don’t think it’s a crazy thought.
Dubois stands really square, so he takes the jabs right in the face. He needs to learn that he cannot rely solely on his power, but all his experiences up to now told him that he could, and that’s where the matchmaking comes in.
It seems strange to me that both Dubois and Joyce are promoted by Frank Warren. He made it clear he wanted Dubois to win.
Despite having only 11 fights, Joyce had been in there with Bryant Jennings as well as ex-WBC champion Bermaine Stiverne and challenger Alexander Ustinov.
Dubois had been nowhere near that type of level. Joyce was also an Olympic gold medalist fighting the likes of Tony Yoka several times and lost only narrowly to Oleksandr Usyk in the World Series of Boxing.
Conversely, Dubois had been 10 rounds with the talented but lazy Kevin Johnson and 5 with Nathan Gorman. There was nothing in his mind he could use to cope with someone who could take his punches and take him past the midway point in the fight.
When Dubois comes back, he should be in there with second-tier opposition like Sergey Kuzmin, Carlos Takam, and Otto Wallin and play the European circuit a bit.
Frank has been in the game long enough to know that nobody can just rely on power, and he needed opponents who could give him more rounds.
In short, Dubois has had a setback. He needs to look at how much he wants this, his team needs to add some new tricks, and his promoter needs to bring him along a bit against solid but gradual opposition.
The myth is gone, he’s lost, but it’s how he comes back that is the most important thing.