Middle ground – Dennis Hogan hits out at light middles who won’t ‘dare to be great’

Dennis Hogan [28(7)-2(0)-1] has revealed he is moving up to middleweight because unlike some of his light middleweight counterparts he ‘dares to be great’.

Not only did ‘The Hurricane’ not leave Mexico with the WBO world light middleweight title – despite the fact the majority believed he defeat champion Jamie Munguia – earlier this year, such was the Kildare native’s performance he seems to have scared off all the title holders at the weight.

Having come so close and feeling robbed, the DDP fighter wanted a quick return to the top, but he indicates none of the 154lbs fighters were willing to put their titles on the line against him – and having spent over year as Munguia’s mandatory he hadn’t the patience to force his way into #1 contender status.

So, when an opportunity to challenge for 160lbs title came along Hogan jumped at it. The Australian based Killcullen man will fight Jermall Charlo [29(21)-0] for the WBC world middleweight title live on Showtime at the Barclays Center on December 7th.

Charlo is undefeated in 29 fights and is a two weight world champ having previously held the IBF light middleweight title. The American was upgraded from WBC interim champion to champion after he defeated Brandon Adams in his home town of Houston earlier this Summer – and after Canelo Alvarez was given ‘Franchise Champion’ status by the beyond-parody governing body.

It’s a massive opportunity for the Irish fighter, but a riskier world title fight than one at his natural weight.

However, it’s an opportunity that suits his ‘dare to be great’ mantra – and one that means he doesn’t have to play governing body politics for another few years.

“All light middleweight avenues were explored. I had my team working hard for all the time in between my last fight. I knew it would be tough to get fights,” Hogan told Irish-Boxing.com following confirmation of his big title shot.

“I knew for a long time my best performance was yet to come and I wanted it to come as I captured the [world title] belt. The once I had the belt I felt everyone would want to fight me. Unfortunately the performance came [against Munguia], but we left without the belt. So I had nothing to offer, but everyone got to see how awkward my movement and I became avoided by the guys at light middle.”

When you can’t tempt someone to make a voluntary defence against you, your only option is work your way into mandatory position. That was something Team Hogan thought about, but they’ve had bad experiences there before. They secured the #1 WBO ranking, but had to wait over a year to be announced official mandatory challenger, watching on as Munguia made a number of voluntary defences.

34-year-old Hogan explains he couldn’t face that again.

“It was looking too difficult, it took years and years to get to WBO mandatory,” he adds before lamenting his rivals attitudes.

“Unfortunately in boxing most fighters are looking for an advantage on an opponent before they fight, but I’m just like ‘every fight is tough, dare to be great and go for the best to get to the top’ – and this fight is certainly that.”

“This definitely an opportunity move, rather than do all the getting position to force mandatory again. We have the world title fight straight up and ready right now, what more can you ask for? I have been a champion at middleweight before and I can do it again at world level.”

Kildare boxing is proudly supported by Liffey Crane Hire

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]