Dennis Hobson: 'Never discount Jamie McDonnell'
Promoter Dennis Hobson gives his personal take on Gavin McDonnell’s recent win over Gamal Yafai and Jamie McDonnell's upcoming bout against Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue...
For me, Gavin McDonnell’s recent win over Gamal Yafai just proves that a defeat doesn’t mean you’re not capable of achieving. Gavin got found out when he stepped up [against Rey Vargas for the WBC super bantamweight title) and that tells me he’s at a decent European level. I don’t think he’s world class but he’ll give anybody a good scrap, and it shows that Yafai wasn’t ready for him, and that’s what Gavin said before the fight. Gamal took on more than he could chew and he got found out, but he’ll learn from it if he’s got enough under his shirt, and by that I mean application and desire.
Look, one thing Gavin has definitely got is desire, and I admire the McDonnells for that, even though I’ve had my problems with them. I do admire them because they’ve got plenty of bottle, and will go anywhere and fight. They are fighting men; men’s men, in that respect. Yafai got found out against a capable kid but, in my eyes, I don’t think Gavin will win a world title. He’ll want to prove me wrong, but it was a great performance. As for Gamal we'll see if he learns from it and goes on to bigger things.
Of course, Jamie McDonnell is now off to Japan to fight Naoya Inoue, defending his world [WBA bantamweight] title. Jamie went 13-0 with me from his domestic defeat [to Lee Haskins]. I took him to British, Commonwealth, European and on to the world title, and that’s when he left. If he’d have stayed with me he’d have topped more bills, and earned as much and more.
The one thing I do admire about Jamie though is that he’s gone away and done the business. I could have done that for him, got him the big away fights, because he’s got a title that others are after. So, he’d have got well paid, and there’d have been times when he’d have been fighting at home instead. So, getting well-paid and topping the bills.
For me, Jamie isn’t the household name he deserves to be, but you’ve got to admire what he’s achieved. Yes, I’m not happy with some of his antics but I do admire him as a fighter. It’s fantastic what he’s done, and I played a massive part in that when absolutely nobody was interested in him. He joined a big machine in Matchroom, but he’s just a number now. He has gone on to prove what I thought he was capable of doing though, and I do take my hat off to him.
Against Inoue, you can never discount Jamie. He’s capable, has plenty of bottle, and is very difficult to tie down. He’s up against it, going into the Japanese man’s backyard, but you can’t write Jamie off. It should be a cracker. I think he’ll step up to super bantamweight anyway, but this is obviously a big payday for him. I see it being close, but hopefully Jamie nicks it and comes away with the victory.