‘Deluded’ Dennis Hogan has proved something of an inspiration for Luke Keeler as he bids to dethrone a different kind of ‘deluded’ Demetrius Andrade tonight.
Keeler watched on in admiration last year as Hogan told the world he would shock Jaime Munguia to become a world champion.
The Kildare light middle was a massive underdog against the young rising star who was stopping all before him.
However, whilst the wider world had an abundance of doubts the Australian based challenger was adamant he was going to win.
‘The Hurricane’ spoke with so much conviction and belief that anyone who spent anytime in his company would be forgiven for believing he had traveled back from the past with the title over his shoulder.
Things didn’t work out for Hogan on that ill fated April night in Mexico, but effectively he did defeat the man being groomed as a Canelo Alvarez opponent. Hogan out boxed the giant for the weight star and only the judges ringside hadn’t got him winning the DAZN broadcast fight.
That kind of self belief reaffirmed the confidence Keeler had that he would one day make it to the top.
Hogan proved you don’t have to turn over with fanfare to be a success, he showed there was a different way to the top and pertinent to Keeler’s fight against an Olympian, amateur world champion and two weight pro world belt holder Andrade, proved differing reputations and bookies odds don’t always count for anything within the squared circle.
“What I took from Dennis was his mindset,” Keeler told Irish-boxing.com minutes after he sparred Tony Brown in Inchicore recently.
” I do believe if you really believe something it helps. You can’t let doubts creep in. His mindset was unbelievable for that Munguia fight. Mental! I said he nearly sounded deluded and I don’t mean that disrespectfully. He just believed! When I call Andrade ‘deluded’ it’s different, he thinks he can do it without having to put the work in. He believes his hype and overlooked me.
“When you have a fighter that genuinely believes it there in front of you it gets in your head. I have seen it myself in sparring. Now I took from that and I am bringing it to this fight. They are kind of similar fights, like the stories around them and look what Dennis did.”
Keeler doesn’t just feel mentally ready going into the Miami hosted world title fight.
The Dubliner claims he is physically hitting his peak. He has been a walking advertisement for going full time over the last few months, pointing out it has changed his capabilities. Speaking recently he admitted he feels the cumulative effect of full time camps, claiming it has left him physically ready for elite action.
“I feel fresh and primed. After the Falls Park fight I took a week off and was straight back in. I knew there was a big fight coming and I was in camp since then. The World title fight then added to it. Every decision since it’s been made has been with this fight on my mind from sleeping to what goes in my mouth and so on,”he continues.
“You’d have the odd bar of chocolate, but with a world title your totally dedicated. I used to cut completely clean the last three or four weeks, but it’s been 10 weeks completely clean now. Food wise my sponsor Gym Trition has been great and training wise I have just be on it. My body changed because of that. My fat percent is at it’s lowest and my muscle percentage is it’s highest.”
Over the past few weeks there has been a real groundswell of public support for the former full time engineer.
Some suggest his the fact he is one of those genuine ‘Mr Nice Guys’ aligned with the fact ala Hogan he is proof the everyday fighter can achieve big are the reasons for that.
Keeler, who has noticed the extra well wishes, is too humble to suggest it’s anything to do with him and puts it down to the fact people side with an underdog.
“People like to see the underdog story. My story isn’t the same as others I suppose. I never really had that expectation and maybe I wasn’t meant to reach this level in some peoples opinions and people like that.
“My phone has exploded and their has been a real ground swell of support. I really appreciate it and I do sense the goodwill from them and people genuinely wishing you well. It’s nice to see. It is an underdog story,” he adds before ending with some real Hogan style talk.
“I have zero doubts. I won’t be over awed I am going to America and Miami to win a world title not to fight for one. I know I’ll do it.”