Joe Joyce at least temporarily derailed the Daniel Dubois hype train on Saturday, scoring a 10th round knockout win over the heavyweight prospect to win the European, British, and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in a highly-anticipated fight that more or less lived up to its billing.
The 35-year-old Joyce (12-0, 11 KO) used his jab to great effect throughout the bout, closing the left eye of Dubois (15-1, 14 KO) and finally stopping him on a jab early in the 10th, when Dubois took a knee and the full count. It’s the sort of finish that is going to have people questioning the heart of Dubois and whether he can take it when the going gets tough. That might be unfair, as Dubois was in there with a good fighter, but it’s how boxing is, and it can come from fans and fellow fighters alike.
But Ricky Hatton was on hand to do commentary for talkSPORT, and offered a constructive criticism of the bout and of the performance from Dubois, and what he faces going forward as he looks to come back from his first pro defeat.
“Daniel had boxed a pretty decent fight up to the stoppage,” Hatton wrote on Instagram. “I had him three or four rounds up. Having said that, Joyce boxed a clever fight, coming down the home straight his tactics were beginning to work, but I thought he might have left it a bit too late.
“I think if Daniel would have just tried to go through the pain barrier them last couple rounds — stay close, hold him, fiddle and fuck his way to the final bell — he’d have won on points for me. Prior to the final jab landing on the eye, there was no stress signals or warning signs from Daniel, as in fights such as Benn-McClellan or Brook-Golovkin, where both boxers were blinking rounds earlier.”
Hatton recalled a fight he had back in 2000, when he went to Detroit to fight Gilbert Quiros. Quiros bashed Hatton’s eye, cut it up bad in the opening round and had it nearly closed. (You can watch the fight on YouTube.)
“I had a fight back in the day in Detroit where my eye was closed. The ref gave me one more round,” he remembered. “Every punch on the eye was torture, but I stayed in there and fortunately knocked him out. Sometimes you have to go through the pain barrier in this game. I just maybe think Daniel could have bit down on his gum shield a bit more and dug in. If he had, I think he might have pinched a close decision.”
“Congrats to Joe Joyce, though. He done us proud in the amateurs and Olympics and is doing the same in the pros. Right up there now. Daniel boxed a good fight and can come again maybe.”
The former two-division titleholder makes some good points, I think, and he does leave it with something of an open question, and that’s fair enough at this stage. We have to see Dubois get through tough fights to know what he can or can’t do. It’s not fun to say, but there is a chance this ruins the rise of Dubois. There is also every chance he takes the experience, learns from it, and comes out a better fighter, more aware that everyone isn’t going to crumble to his power, and sharpens up his overall game.
We’ll see what Dubois does going forward, how he comes back from this.