By: Sean Crose
“I don’t dodge nobody,” featherweight contender Joet Gonzalez told FightHype in the lead up to Saturday’s match against Isaac Dogboe. “There’s a lot of fighters out there, they start demanding some fights and they don’t even fight. They fight punching bags, you know, easy paychecks, but me, I’m here fighting the best top guys, guys who are ranked up there pretty high. I’ll fight whoever, whenever.” After dropping a unanimous decision to Emanuel Navarette last fall, the Los Angeles based Gonzalez is looking to get another shot at a major title.
First, though, he’ll have to get past Dogboe in Saturday’s scheduled 10 rounder. “Dogboe likes to come forward,” Gonzalez said in the interview. “He wants to go to war, but lately there’s been little changes in his fighting style. He’s thinking a little bit more, he’s using his jab, he’s taking his time.” With the rugged and exciting Dogboe having moved up from super bantamweight to featherweight several years ago, Gonzalez feels like he’ll have a decent size advantage walking in. “My height, my reach, I think those are two big factors in this fight,” Gonzalez said.
Not that he expects Dogboe to be easy pickings. “I expect a good Dogboe,” said Gonzalez, “a strong Dogboe, but I think I’m just going to be smarter in there than him. I think I’m going to be quicker. I think I’m going to be stronger physically, and mentally more prepared than him, and I think I do make it look easy.” Gonzalez was asked what he thought of Navarette possibly fighting Shakur Stevenson, the only other man to have beaten Gonzalez in Gonzalez’ 27 fight career.
“He knows what he’s doing in there,” Gonzalez said of Navarette. “I would give the advantage in speed to Shakur, but the power definitely to Navarette.” At the moment, however, Gonzalez is going to keep focused on the 23-2 former world champion Dogboe, and for good reason. The winner of their match will be the WBO mandatory. The winner will also be striking distance away from a WBC world title shot. With Navarette holding the WBO belt, a rematch is an enticing prospect for Gonzalez, who battled Navarette tooth and nail in their 2021 battle. “I waited a little too long,” Gonzalez said of his hesitance in that fight.
“It’s tough,” he says of the current situation. “There’s a lot of politics involved. I can only hope for the best. I’m hoping I’m mandatory for WBC and WBO, but I’ll fight any of the champions right now.” The Gonzalez-Dogboe fight will be aired live from Hinckley, Minnesota’s Grand Casino Saturday night on ESPN+ starting at 9 PM Eastern Time.
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