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Opinions of Sunday, 29 April 2018

Columnist: Godfred Akoto Boafo

Isaac Dogboe’s process has him on top of the world

Dogboe beat Jessie Magdaleno to win the WBO World Super Bantamweight Title play videoDogboe beat Jessie Magdaleno to win the WBO World Super Bantamweight Title

For a few seconds Isaac Dogboe stayed on his knees. He was taking it all in, the magnitude of what he had just achieved at the Liacoras Centre on the campus of Temple University.

At just 23, his six year journey from amateur prospect to a fully fledged world champion, a journey mapped out with the precision you would expect from a military veteran like his father Paul.

Isaac Dogboe’s ascension on Saturday night is proof that ”The Process “works. NBA team, the Philadelphia 76’s coined the term during a four-year tanking period led by general manager Samuel Hinkie that was used to amass key building blocks like Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Robert Covington. After four years of losing and becoming the butt jokes of the NBA, that team is in the playoffs and considered a dark horse for the NBA finals.

The Dogboe process was not filled with losses but at the centre piece of it was a similar plan; to groom a unit that was experienced and talented enough to compete at the highest level within a given time frame. For Isaac and his father that involved forming a small tight-knit team of trainers and advisors. In the treacherous world of boxing , having trusted management is half the battle won.

The plan was to increase the experience level of Dogboe as quickly as possible as a platform to seeking more lucrative fights. In 20015, two years after turning professional after his failed Olympic turnout in London , he fought an incredible eight times. This rate of activity is fairly rare in modern day boxing where match ups are matters of long consideration and politics. By the time Dogboe was thrust into the Ghanaian boxing spotlight , he had become an interesting name for Ghanaian boxing fans who had long sought a reliable prospect who could carry the country’s proud boxing traditions to the world.

The Dogboe process also involved a business angle as they staged their own promotions in various locations around the country, starting from the home region of the family, the Volta region. Consistently drawing good crowds with decent match ups on their bills, these Dogboe fronted bouts brought quality to a sport that had been taken to the entertainment levels of the WWE by local names like Ayittey Powers and Bukom Banku.

There were instances when local pundits accused Paul Dogboe and his team of wasting money as the profile of their events including the opponents being brought in to face Dogboe went up.

These pundits had become used to fight managers in Ghana and their quick buck earning style which comprised of bringing in journey men boxers willing to earn a quick buck to help their boxers pad their win columns. Dogboe bucked that trend.

He was increasingly pitted against tougher opponents with world title ambitions of their own. The more he won against these guys, the greater his reputation grew and coupled with increased TV coverage of his bouts, millions of Ghanaians came to the realisation that they had finally found the one.

Through the process , Dogboe has honed his fighting style into a TV friendly one that combines aggression and decent ring generalship . He has become a master at the game of building fights as the pre fight hype activities before his slugfest with Magdaleno showed.

At ringside on the night of his great victory sat perhaps the preeminent fight promoter and manager of his generation, Bob Arum and he was backing Magdaleno. That did not stop him from admiring the results of the Dogboe process.

“I thought it was a hell of a fight,” Arum said. “He had a good reputation because he knocked out Juarez, and he proved that he was the goods. I thought the first round, when Jessie knocked him down, I thought, ‘Oh, s—, he’s going to get destroyed.’ But he got back into the fight, and he was winning the fight when he knocked Jessie out.” There is no greater validation and the world should watch out.

Isaac Dogboe’s process has him on top of the world.