Jessie Magdaleno still has the potential to be a star in boxing, but the WBO Super Bantamweight champion will have to hope that activity in the ring becomes more frequent.
Saturday night will be just his second defence of the belt he won back in November 2016 when upsetting Nonito Donaire with a convincing points triumph.
In his first fight in just over 12 months – and that win over outclassed Adeilson Dos Santos lasted less than two rounds – he meets a hungry and unbeaten prospect in Isaac Dogboe of Ghana.
Dogboe 18-0(12KO’s) first came to light in the 2012 Olympics, and has been faultless as a pro, looking right at home since moving down from Featherweight. His previous two stoppages of Javier Nicolas Chacon and Cesar Juarez have set up this world title clash in the buzzing sports city of Philadelphia.
Both are fast out of the blocks and have the hand speed to match. Magdaleno 25-0(18KO’s) gives the impression of being the much lighter on his feet, looking extremely elusive off the back foot when beating Donaire. Meanwhile the challenger can fight both on the attack and going backwards, but the former is where he seems to be most successful, especially defensively.
The worry for Magdaleno here is the unknown. There is enough footage of Dogboe online, but given his opposition and fighting much of his career in Ghana, it is hard to gauge just how hard he hits and how effective he will be on the biggest stage.
Dogboe is the shorter man, and should he get inside he will be the more dangerous, especially with his left hook.
That will be the danger punch that Magdaleno would be wise to avoid. But in a contest that is likely to be as fast and frantic as this one, then there will be plenty of leather seeping through the slightly porous defence of Jessie.
At 23-years old, this opportunity may have come that bit too early for Dogboe, and while Magdaleno’s style may suit a more experienced version of Dogboe, in just his 19th fight, he won’t quite have the know-how to really fulfil his potential so early in his professional life.
Dogboe can start well as Magdaleno attempts to find a range that will suit him without being too close to the ropes. The fight may become scrappy at times, with Magdaleno getting off the better punches once the action resumes at range.
At times the contest could come down to what the judges prefer, and the pick is for that to be the cleaner and more consistent countering from the favourite. Magdaleno doing enough to earn a tight unanimous decision win.