IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston seeks the betting value in this weekend’s action featuring Joet Gonzalez vs Isaac Dogboe, and Gabriel Flores Jr. vs Giovanni Cabrera.
It’s a quiet week on the betting front but we have a couple of fights in the US on Saturday night that are worth looking at.
The most meaningful fight of the weekend is the 10-rounder between world-class featherweights Joet Gonzalez and IsaacDogboe. Their contest is the headliner on a Top Rank promotion at Hinckley, Minnesota. Top Rank promotes both boxers.
I favoured Gonzalez when the fight was announced but the price tag of 4/11 (-275) is steeper than I expected: this is a well-matched contest.
Gonzalez’ only two losses were at the highest level, against Shakur Stevenson and Emanuel Navarrete. He was game but outclassed against Stevenson but he did win four rounds on two judges’ cards against Navarrete, who, of course, twice defeated Dogboe, the second time by brutal stoppage.
Dogboe is only 27 but he has shown clear signs of slowing down. I thought he was lucky to get the win against Adam Lopez and then against Christopher Diaz in his last two fights although the draw seemed fair in the Diaz bout. Both Lopez and Diaz seemed to hurt Dogboe. However, Dogboe made tactical adjustments in the Diaz fight and went to a boxing, moving, style in the later rounds. This seemed to confuse Diaz, and Dogboe swept the last two rounds on all three judges’ cards to pull out the win.
Gonzalez, 28, is a solid boxer-fighter. He looked good in his last fight when breaking down and stopping the Filipino, Jeo Santisima, in the ninth round.
The fight looks likely to go the full 10 rounds but the industry price on the fight going the distance isn’t attractive at 4/11. However, Gonzalez to win by decision at 10/11 (-110) might be a good bet. The only time Dogboe lost inside the distance was in his rematch with the relentless Emanuel Navarrete, and that fight went into the 12th round. Dogboe can punch but Gonzalez seems to have an outstanding chin.
Gonzalez looks the bigger man (he’s taller and he’s been boxing at 126lbs for six years whereas Dogboe only moved up from 122lbs two years ago). And although the fighters’ ages are similar, Gonzalez hasn’t had as much wear and tear on his body as Dogboe. So one can make a case for Gonzalez to win by decision, perhaps with a little sprinkle on the draw at 12/1.
On the same show we have an intriguing match-up in the 130lbs division, with Gabriel Flores Jr, once one of the rising stars in the Top Rank stable, taking on Giovanni Cabrera, an undefeated southpaw whose last two bouts were on Top Rank shows. Odds are basically pick ’em for this in-house match-up.
Flores, 22, was taken to school by Mexico’s tough Luis Alberto Lopez last September. This is the only loss on Flores’ record andto be fair he was in the ring with a formidable fighter. However, in his next bout Flores barely got past another Mexican fighter, Abraham Montoya, on a majority decision. I thought that Flores won clearly enough against Montoya, but he needed a strong last-round finish to pull out the win on the judges’ cards.
I’m wondering if Flores might have peaked at only 22. He’s talented but he showed in the Lopez and Montoya bouts that he’s not comfortable when the other man is taking the fight to him in an intense way.
While Cabrera doesn’t bring pressure he is good at getting in shots and quickly getting out of range. I quite liked the look of Cabrera when he outboxed Mexico’s rugged and tenacious Rudy Tellez in January. But Cabrera wasn’t impressive in his next fight when he won a unanimous but hard-fought decision over Argentina’s Elias Araujo, whose swarming, in-your-face style gave him a lot of trouble. Although Cabrera won a unanimous decision over Araujo he had a point deducted for holding.
Both Flores and Cabrera boxed in major tournaments in the amateurs. Flores was US national champion as a junior, Cabrera lost on a split decision in his second bout in the US Olympic trials.
Cabrera is 28, so he’s the more mature fighter. Flores is probably the more naturally gifted, but Cabrera can be a problem if allowed to get into his hit-and-hold, hit-and-move groove. And Cabrera trains at the Wild Card gym, so we can be pretty sure he gets top-notch sparring. Esteemed trainer Freddie Roach will be in his corner on Saturday night.
I sense that Cabrera genuinely dislikes Flores, who refused to shake hands with him at a pre-fight media gathering. No one likes to be snubbed like that. Cabrera fixed Flores with a frosty glare at the weigh-in face to face.
This is a tough fight to call. Flores could prove that he really is the real dealby giving a stellar performance. But my suspicion is that Cabrera has the style and the length to edge out a win. I don’t feel confident enough in Cabrera to endorse him, but but I will likely make a small investment in him myself.
Main image: Gonzalez (left) and Dogboe do battle tonight in Minnesota. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.