Eight months ago, Dennis Hogan was seen as little more than a sacrificial lamb heading into his fight with WBO junior middleweight titleholder Jaime Munguia.
Hogan, an Irishman based in Australia, really had just one notable fight on his record, a 2015 loss to Jack Culcay, and was a massive underdog going to Monterrey, Mexico, to face one of the sport’s top young stars.
But Hogan gave Munguia fits over 12 rounds, and plenty of people felt he’d done enough to win. He didn’t, losing a controversial majority decision in a fight where Hogan and his team had plenty of other complaints.
With no rematch granted, Hogan would have been right to fear for his immediate future. He’d proven himself a good fighter, which can be a horrible thing to be if you lack a power promoter and don’t have a big fan base.
Instead, he’s moving up to 160 pounds for another title shot, this time against WBC middleweight titleholder Jermall Charlo in Saturday’s Showtime main event.
Like the first time around, Hogan (28-2-1, 7 KO) will be a significant underdog, written off by most. But also like the first time around, the 34-year-old is confident that he can pull the surprise.
“It means the absolute world to me to win this title on Saturday night,” Hogan said at a media workout. “I’m very conscious of that and I’ve worked so hard for it. This is my opportunity to make all of my dreams come true and raise that belt over my head.
“I showed in the fight against Jaime Munguia that I’m willing to do whatever it takes inside that ring. I’m so persistent and I want to achieve my goals more than anything. Losing the fight just made me want to go even harder and that led right into my training. It’s made me twice the fighter I was before and everyone will see that on Saturday night.”
Moving up a division doesn’t worry Hogan, either, as he says he’s feeling stronger at 160.
“I’ve gained power because of the extra carbohydrates that I’ve been able to have in camp,” he said. “I have more back muscle, leg muscle and I can feel the power. It’s an extra 10 to 15% snap on my punches.”
“This is 100 percent the best version of myself,” Hogan added. “I’ve worked so hard after the last fight and here I am now. I’m proud of the levels that I reached in training and how hard I pushed to become champion of the world.”
Charlo (29-0, 21 KO) is a good puncher and good all-around fighter, a different sort of challenge than the rawer Munguia was, and Hogan says he’s ready for whatever Charlo brings on Saturday.
“We’re prepared for absolutely everything. It’s really all come together perfectly,” he said. “I believe that in life, if you work hard and want something, it will come. This time we really put the intent into making sure we take full advantage of any opportunity that presents itself in this fight.
“Everyone who’s seen me fight fully knows that I can win this and I have 100 percent confidence that I will get it done. If you know how determined I am, you know that I can win this fight.”