ESPN Boxing Preview: Navarrete vs. Dogboe, Berchelt vs. Vargas
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Tuscon Arena in Tuscon, Arizona will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions Card on ESPN entitled “Twice as Nice”.
The main event of the card will feature a WBC Junior Lightweight Title rematch between Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas for Berchelt’s title. The co-main event of the evening will be another rematch between Emanuel Navarrete and Isaac Dogboe for Navarrete’s WBO Junior Featherweight title.
The undercard will feature several prospects, such as Mykal Fox, Carlos Castro, Miguel parra, and Miguel Marriaga. The undercard will be streamed on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Emanuel Navarrete (26-1) vs. Isaac Dogboe (20-1); WBO Junior Featherweight Title
Navarrete has spent almost his entire career fighting in Mexico, but his first fight in the United States was a big one against Isaac Dogboe, the then WBO Junior Featherweight Champion, and he shocked many by pulling off the upset.
They’ll rematch each other on Saturday night and Navarrete has a lot of inherent advantages. Both boxers are young and only twenty four years old. Navarrete has a significant edge in height as he is five inches taller than Dogboe. He also has a significant edge in reach as he has an eight inch reach advantage over him.
Navarrete also has the edge in power, as he has stopped twenty two of his opponents while Dogboe has only stopped fourteen. Both boxers have been fairly active, with Navarrete being the more active boxer. Navarrete fought four times in 2018 and five times in 2017 while Dogboe four four times in 2018 but only once in 2017.
Prior to beating Dogboe, Navarrete did not have an impressive resume of defeated opponents. He has beaten the likes of Jose Sanmartin, Glenn Porras, and Isaac Dogboe. His lone loss was in 2012 to Daniel Argueta.
Dogboe’s only loss in his career was to Navarrete. He has defeated the likes of Hidenori Otake, Jessie Magdaleno, Cesar Juarez, Javier Chacon, and Julian Aristule.
Navarrete had a pretty dominating performance against Dogboe, and his size and reach will be difficult for Dogboe to navigate and avoid. This bout will go a long way in determining if Navarrete is the real deal or not, but it appears likely he’ll walk away with another win.
Miguel Berchelt (35-1) vs. Francisco Vargas (25-1-2); WBC Junior Lightweight Title
Even though this bout is a highly anticipated rematch, Berchelt is still in his athletic prime at 37 years old and Vargas is now 34 years old. Based on age along it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Berchelt win convincingly.
Vargas will have about a one inch height advantage over Berchelt while Berchelt will have about an one inch reach advantage. Berchelt has the edge in power, as he has thirty one stoppage victories on his resume while Vargas only has eighteen.
Vargas’ lone loss was a knockout loss to Berchelt. He also drew with Orlando Salido. He has beaten the likes of Rod Salka, Stephen Smith, Takashi Miura, Will Tomlinson, Juan Manuel Lopez, Abner Cotto, and Jerry Belmontes.
Vargas also has an impressive amateur background that includes a trip to the 2008 Summer Olympics for Mexico.
Berchelt has defeated the likes of Miguel Roman, Jonathan Victor Barros, Maxwell Awuku, Takashi Miura, Sergio Puente, and Francisco Vargas. His lone loss was to Luis Eduardo Florez in 2014.
Berchelt never competed in the Olympics but he was a three time Mexican National Boxing Champion as an amateur.
Vargas fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. He has only fought two times since he lost to Berchelt. Berchelt fought three times in 2018 and twice in 2017.
This writer sees this bout going in Berchelt’s favor and possibly by stoppage.