Jab Hook's Predictions for The Hanger, Costa Mesa, California, Saturday, March 23 (ESPN)
Main Event: Kubrat Pulev 26(13)-1(1) vs. Bogdan Dinu 18(14)-1(1), heavyweights boxing in a 10 round prizefight.
This will be “The Cobra“ Pulev's third fight in two years, and his 1st ever in the USA. October 27, 2018 in the Arena Armeec, Sofia, Bulgaria was his comeback bout and Kubrat Pulev fought well against Hughie Fury despite the long layoff. The younger Fury started strong, but could not match Pulev's output or accuracy as the rounds progressed. The fight was better than expected and “The Cobra” Pulev won by clear unanimous decision over Hughie Fury.
Romania's Bogdan Dinu is a decent boxer who won the 2013 “Bigger is Better” tournament, which Latvia's Mairis Briedis also conquered in 2012. Dinu has some power and fighting lesser opposition had KO'd 8 in a row before he fought Jarrell Miller back in November 2018. That bout was a big step up against a very “Big Baby“ Miller and the course of the contest reflected Dinu's competitive downside. Jarrell walked Bogdan down and went to the body, body, body. Dinu tried to respond, but could take neither the pressure, nor the pain. So by the 3rd round, he was in survival mode. “Big Baby” finished the job by knocking Dinu down for the 1st and 2nd times in his career in the fourth round. The the referee had seen enough.
Kubrat Pulev is 37yo, and this bout is meant to be his next step in a last shot at a belt. The Ring #10-ranked heavyweight is waiting in the queue of “mandatories“ for AJ. The circus in the heavyweight division has recently become even more convoluted. It is a nerve-racking “hurry up, no wait…” situation made more acute by Pulev's ticking clock.
So now “The Cobra's”career tactic is to step out of the AJ line, try to get a big win and jump forward among potential title contenders. This match up with Bogdan Dinu is naturally no accident. The Bulgarian's team surely sees Dinu as less than robust after he willingly folded under the weight of “Big Baby“ (pun intended). Pulev is once more a big step up in pro boxing quality for Bodan. “The Cobra“ has faced much better opposition, is more skilled and meaner than Dinu.
Jab Hook expects Kubrat Pulev to use jabs and basic 1-2 combinations mixed with hard body shots to discourage Bogdan Dinu. Winning round after round, “The Cobra“ may notice the physical and emotion deterioration of his Romanian rival. Pulev will dominate and likely stop a disheartened opponent who fully embraces his losing role.
Co-Main Event: Jessie Magdaleno 25(18)-1(1) vs Rico Ramos 30(14)-5(2), featherweights boxing in a 10 round prizefight.
Jesus “Jessie“ Magdaleno is a Mexican-American boxer of superior quality. A decorated amateur, he managed to win both the coveted National Golden Gloves Championship, and the US National Championship in 2009. Magdaleno finished with a 120-16 amateur record, which is nicely reflected in his boxing skills and professional success today.
Now a seasoned professional veteran of over 8 years, the southpaw took the WBO Super Bantamweight belt from Nonito Donaire in November 2016. Almost a year ago in Magdaleno's 2nd defense of the title he got KO'd in the 11th round by Isaac Dogboe. This is “Jessie's“ comeback bout after that first ever loss and KO. (His older brother Diego was taken apart and brutally stopped by Teofimo Lopez in February 2019.)
Magdaleno vs Dogboe was among the best bouts of 2018. The ebb and flow began with Magdaleno coming out strong and knocking down (mostly a trip) Dogboe in the 1st Rd for the 1st time in his career and Dogboe fighting back and knocking down Magdaleno in the 5th Rd for the 1st time in the champ's career! Magdaleno tried hard to get back into the bout, but Dogboe was a pitbull who would not let go.
Dogboe kept up the pressure and fought intensely, working Magdaleno's body throughout the fight. Breaking him down steadily, he put him away with two knockdowns in the 11th Rd, both via left hooks to the head. Another great champion from Ghana was crowned, the greatest little boxing country in African! And Dogboe did it in Philadelphia, one of the best boxing towns in the USA.
His latest opponent is Rico Ramos, a Puerto Rican American who was also a good amateur boxer, showing promise and boxing talent on a national level. His career started modestly in 2008, but it took off within two years. July 2011 was the peak of his success as he won the WBA World Super Bantamweight belt at 24yo by knocking Akifumi Shimoda out with crisp left hook in the 7th round. But sadly for Rico, (cue the ominous music) trouble was coming from around the Caribbean corner of Cuba.
With a record of 20(11)-0 and as the reigning WBA Champ, “Suavecito“ stepped into the ring with the great Cuban champion Guillermo Rigondeaux in January 2012 in his 1st defense of the title. Woefully, he got manhandled, ripped to the body repeatedly and stopped via KO in round 6. That humiliating loss started a career meltdown whereby Ramos lost 4 out of his next 8 bouts. But in 2016 he came back with a win and has had a streak of 6 victories since then. His new-found confidence has been rebuilt fighting in clubs and mid-sized venues versus less challenging opposition.
“Suavecito“ has the moves and the attitude of a winner, yet Ramos has found himself stuck on the B-side in his boxing career. Really good, but not great, and what's missing is more ethereal than substantive. He has landed fights and remains an interesting opponent for both the contenders and champs. Rico Ramos last fought a southpaw in July 2017 when he dominated Juan Antonio Lopez over 10 rounds, including a trip that was ruled a knockdown in round 10 in a somewhat sloppy boxing match for the NABA Super Bantamweight belt. “Suavecito“ signature win in 2011 was also against a southpaw, Shimoda of Japan.
If he hopes to ever win a title again, “Jessie“ Magdaleno needs a strong performance to remain relevant as a contender. “Suavecito“ Ramos is even more desperate for a victory, as a loss at this stage of his career will anchor him solidly among the ranks of opponents sliding toward the land of journeymen. The match-up is better suited for “Jessie“, who has superior skills and greater experience at the elite level of boxing. Ramos will have to dig deep and pull out his best performance ever to upset Magdaleno's comeback. “Jessie“ needs to take it slowly with “Suavecito“ Ramos and let the bout develop as he measures and times his rival.
Jab Hook expects a lively bout that keeps the referee busy as the boxers try their tricks. A cut would not be a surprise, nor would a couple of knockdowns. “Suavecito“ Ramos will struggle and fall short, as “Jessie“ Magdaleno frustrates him with counter-punches, hurts him to the body, and takes him apart. A TKO win for Magdaleno in the 8th round tops off an entertaining bout.
Undercard prospect alert: Maxim Dadashev 12(10)-0 vs. Ricky Sismundo 35(23)-12(4)-3, junior welterweights boxing in a 10 round prizefight.
“Mad Max“ Dadashev is a Russian prospect from the roster of Egis Klimas. Jab Hook named Klimas his “Manager of the Year 2018”. The self-made millionaire loves boxing and recognizes talent. Mr Klimas treats his boxers with respect. He's a savvy businessman who can handle the mixed-up, crazy world of boxing so well that his boxers don't have to worry about the business.
The undefeated Dadashev is a tall, lanky jr.-welterweight fighting out of Oxnard, Ca and trained by Marco Contreras, Robert Garcia's right-hand man. With 83% knockouts against low to mid-level opposition, “Mad Max“ stepped up in his last bout in October 2018 as he faced Antonio De Marco. Achieving a clear unanimous decision over the tough southpaw from Mexico, he lost a few rounds along the way. Despite breaking his 7-in-a-row KO streak, the De Marco bout was a very valuable 10 rounds of experience in Dadachev's development. It helped Coach Contreras to calibrate his skills and assess his weaknesses. Now the next building block of the 28yo Russian's career is assembled.
That is exactly why Ricky Sismundo has been hand picked for the lucky 13th bout in the career of “Mad Max“. The journeyman boxer from the Philippines has one very special thing about him, and it's not his boxing prowess. It's his nickname, “Chocolate Hills Mondo Harada“, a lovely substitute for a decent defense. The 32yo professional opponent will be fighting for the 2nd time in the USA, and he can count on the locals from the Filipino diaspora to turn out for his bout and cheer loudly for him. Such small comforts of Pinoy pride from his people will help ease the pain of losing many bouts over a working-class career in the “hurt game”.
Sismundo's style will play into Dadachev's strengths, while the low level of risk posed by Sismundo will allow “Mad Max” to try new things and work on his areas of need from the trainer's perspective. Basically, “Chocolate Hills Mondo Harada“ is an ideal opponent that will enable Dadachev to be entertaining as he gets some good on-the-job training. It has been over seven years since “CHMH” has been KO'd, so that will likely be the goal of this engagement as Dadachev tries to start a new KO streak.
Jab Hook sees “Mad Max” taking his time and implementing the newly acquired moves from his training camp. “Chocolate Hills Mondo Harada“ will be awkward, but not so complex that Dadachev cannot decipher his code. Maxim Dadashev wins by KO in the 9th round over “CHMH”.
“Jab Hook”, aka “Brooklyn” Joe Healy is a boxing writer, an expert commentator for DAZN.de, a professional cutman from the BOXWERK gym, and a licensed referee/judge in amateur boxing. A lifelong aficionado born in Brooklyn and living in Munich, “The Sweet Science” is his passion. Please feel free to contact him as Jab Hook on, FaceBook or https://www.linkedin.com/in/