By: Hector Franco
LAS VEGAS – Starting the main telecast on ESPN at The Theater at the Virgin Hotels, in Las Vegas, Nevada, was featherweight contender Adam Lopez (15-3, 6 KOs) taking on former WBO super bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe (22-2, 15 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight bout for the NABF featherweight title.
In a close action-packed bout that could have been scored for either man, Dogboe walked away with a majority decision victory. Judge Dave Moretti scored the fight 95-95, while the other two judges Don Trella and Chris Migliore, had the fight for Dogboe with scores of 97-93 and 96-94.
The smaller Dogboe in the first round overwhelmed Lopez by unloading barrages of punches on the California native. After losing two consecutive fights to Emanuel Navarrete, Dogboe switched trainers from his father to the acclaimed Barry Hunter to develop and build on his attributes.
Although the smaller fighter with a reach disadvantage, Dogboe was able to control the distance in which the fight would be fought by utilizing his counter punching. The counter left hook landed clean and hard for the Ghanaian fighter on numerous occasions.
The bout’s momentum changed in Lopez’s favor in the third round as he seemingly survived Dogboe’s onslaught, landing clean uppercuts during exchanges on the inside. The former super bantamweight champion tends to lean forward with his head leading to him being susceptible to uppercuts.
The jab for Lopez became more of a weapon in the fourth, using the punch to keep Dogboe at a manageable distance. However, the shorter fighter wasn’t intimidated, continuing to stick with a game plan of attacking the body.
The Ghanaian fighter utilized movement in the middle rounds by rolling with punches while on the back foot. The ambush-style of boxing used by Dogboe was effective in keeping Lopez second-guessing when an attack was coming.
Whether on the inside or at mid-range, Dogboe found a way to land power punches on Lopez effectively.
After five rounds, ESPN commentator Andre Ward had the fight scored 49-46 in Dogboe’s favor.
Lopez, for his part, never lost his composure, continually applying pressure on Dogboe while using his jab to set up punches. Dogboe had to be wholly disciplined at all times as Lopez would take advantage of any lapse in focus the Ghanaian fighter exhibited.
The eighth round was a seminal round for Lopez, who landed a deadly uppercut in the first minute, putting Dogboe on the back foot in survival mode. All of the exchanges were at Lopez’s advantage, with him landing the cleaner and harder shots.
The avalanche continued in the ninth round for Lopez as he cornered Dogboe, unloading combinations on the former super bantamweight champion. Time was running out for Dogboe, but his tremendous heart did not stop him from throwing punches back.
The 10th and final round was remarkable. In what will go down as one of the best rounds of 2021, Lopez and Dogboe went to battle in the last round. Lopez’s punches seemed to be more impactful based on the reactions of both fighters.
ESPN’s Andre Ward encapsulated the fight perfectly, stating, “Dogboe is fighting for a career, and Lopez is fighting for bonafide respect.
The judges favored Dogboe’s work in the first half of the match, giving him the majority decision. The CompuBox numbers signified how tightly contested the fight was, with Lopez landing 152 out of 527 total punches to Dogboe’s 134 out of 487 total punches.
In a fight that could have gone either way, a rematch may be the best course of action for either man.