‘The Hurricane’ told anyone that would listen he had the skills, resilience, and the gameplan to beat the WBO light middleweight world champion who was had an Ivan Drago style reputation as a monster and a fighter that was being built as a future foe of Canelo Alvarez.
It turns out the Kildare native backed up the talk with possibly the best away Irish performance ever and, although that wasn’t reflected in the scorecards, it may have earned the 34-year-old some lucrative Stateside opportunities.
The performance raised eyebrows around the world and it raised the spirits of Dublin middleweight Keeler, a former amateur team-mate of Hogan [28(7)-2(0)-1].
The Ballyfermot native can probably associate with the Brisbane-based boxer in terms of being a fighter that turned over without massive fanfare. Both had to work hard and into their 30s to secure world rankings and proved to be ‘learn as you go’ experts.
Hogan has gone one further than just working his way into the rankings, he has proven that those not lauded early doors can go on and beat – although he didn’t get the result – world champions with massive reputations.
That has inspired the much liked Dub and he has really taken note of Hogan’s self belief.
While it should be noted that DDP’s Hogan and his team were smart enough to see that there was an element of wizard behind the curtain to Munguia, the Kilcullen fighter is a massive positive mindset advocate and it’s something Keeler may look to bring into his game.
“I actually messaged Dennis… that [fight] gave me huge belief,” Keeler said while on Off the Brawl this week.
“He went over there and Munguia was a monster really and what struck me with Dennis was his belief going into that beforehand. Without being dismissive, I was saying like he is nearly deluded in his level of belief.”
“He was going over there to win, there was no ifs or buts. It was a big lesson for me. You kind of have to have that level of belief and he pulled it off in fairness to him. He didn’t get the decision and hopefully he gets the rematch.”
Having regained the WBO European rankings title by defeating Conrad Cummings at the Ulster Hall in late March, Keeler now boasts a WBO #7 world ranking.
The Pete Taylor-trained fighter is eligible to fight for a world title and, while he himself would possibly like to step to take two more steps toward that shot, he revealed he is staying in the gym in case a surprise opportunity arises.
His management are not just waiting on a phone call, however. They are proactively looking to secure the former St Matthew’s and Crumlin amateur a shot and there are suggestions they plan to have Keeler out in a June test before trying to secure a final eliminator.
‘Cool Hand Luke’ couldn’t go into much detail on air but did suggest moves are being made.
“I am not far away now, please God, there is talk. They are working on something. I am probably in a similar position to Jono [Carroll] he signed – world title eliminator, world title.”
“That is what the team is trying to get for me. Touch wood I get something like that next. ”
Watch this week’s edition of Off The Brawl in full below: