Posts Tagged ‘Andre Dirrell’


Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott

In the midst all the hoopla from Saturday night’s exciting heavyweight battle between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz, there was a sad finale that occurred on the undercard. Andre Dirrell, once seen as one of the future big names in boxing, stood broken in the corner after failing to come for the eighth round of his rematch against Jose Uzcategui. Written off long ago by most fans and media, there won’t be many articles written about Dirrell’s closing chapter. But for those like myself who once saw the potential in the man dubbed “The Matrix,” his surrender last night serves as a sad finale to one of the most disappointing careers of the last 10 years.

As hard as it is to believe, there once was a time when Andre Dirrell was seen as a more promising talent than Andre Ward. My first introduction to the Flint, Michigan native and Olympic silver medalist came not as a writer, but as a fan way back in 2005. Laila Ali was headlining an ESPN2 card at Atlanta’s Philips Arena against Leatitia Robinson, and both Dirrell brothers were competing in their second fights. Each blew their hapless foes out with Andre doing his in less than a round. Even at this early stage, the otherworldly nature of Dirrell’s speed was something to witness live. He looked like a young Roy Jones Jr. in the making.


This is the worst fight I’ve seen in my life. This running and potshotting is just horrible! – Harold Lederman on Dirrell vs. Stevens

Speed alone does not make a great fighter. The first chink in the armor came in what was supposed to be his breakout showcase on HBO against Curtis Stevens in 2007. In one of the worst fights ever aired on the network, Dirrell played keep away from Stevens and was content to throw single punches sparingly while being booed out the building. The fight would be Dirrell’s first and last on the network.

He rebounded on Showtime the following year with an impressive fifth round TKO of contender Anthony Hanshaw. We saw Dirrell had power when he was willing to stand his ground, and it brought back some fan goodwill following a one-sided stoppage of Derrick Findley headed into the Super Six tournament in 2009.

The Super Six tournament was the best and worst of times concerning Dirrell’s career. In his two fights against Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham, he looked spectacular in landing dazzling left-hand counters and making his foes look like rank amateurs. In other moments, he turned into a deer in headlights at any semblance of pressure, resorting to constant holding and falling over when more than two punches came his way. He failed to meet Froch’s late aggression and dropped a close split decision, and took a DQ win against Abraham where many feel to this day he milked an illegal punch to avoid Abraham’s late rally.

Then came the “wandering in the wilderness” part of Dirrell’s career. He pulled out the Super Six after claiming neurological issues from the Abraham fight (other speculated it was due to not wanting to face Ward), he would fight just twice from 2010-2013 in non-descript bouts under 50 Cent’s doomed SMS Promotions.

Under Al Haymon, Dirrell got more active fighting three times in 2014 (his most busy year since 2008). That lead to his second chance at a title in early 2015 against James DeGale. The entertaining bout saw DeGale score two knockdowns in the second and hang on for a unanimous decision despite a late Dirrell surge.

By this time, the early flaws in Dirrell’s game had become more pronounced with age. The cat-like reflexes that allowed him to glide out of punching range had ebbed away with Dirrell now on the wrong side of 30. His bad balance was consistently exploited, as evidenced by Blake Caparello dropping him in the second round of what was supposed to be a tuneup fight. Dirrell still took the decision, by the word was out — Dirrell was there for the taking.

This brings us to the Jose Uzcategui, who likely will be the last significant opponent of Dirrell’s career. In the first bout, Dirrell struggled with Uzcategui’s pressure and was hurt several times from power shots. Uzcategui was in the midst of a combination when the eighth round bell sounded, and he hit Dirrell late with a left hand that put him on the canvas. Dirrell was awarded a DQ (and more controversy about whether he was acting) and his trainer, Leon Lawson Jr., a suspension and arrest for sucker punching Dirrell.

I’m going to give you one more round… you’re going to regret this day, son. – Virgil Hunter to Dirrell¬†

Last night’s rematch removed any doubt of who was the better fighter. Uzcategui stripped Dirrell of any confidence by battering him with right hands and constantly forcing him to the ropes. Dirrell retired in his corner after the eighth.

When people look back on the best super middleweights of the 2010s, Andre Dirrell won’t be mentioned. He failed to win a title in two attempts, and never had the signature wins or come from behind victories we’ve seen from his peers in Ward, Froch, Abraham and Mikkel Kessler. He disappeared for long stretches of time. And he never displayed the ability to adjust in the ring and will himself to victory, as we saw Wilder do in the main event against Ortiz.

Could Andre Dirrell’s career trajectory been different under another trainer? Were the Abraham and first Uzcategui first bout just instances of bad luck? Or was Dirrell just an irreparably flawed fighter? That’s the thing about unfulfilled potential — no theorized answer is wrong. And Andre Dirrell is now left to create his own narrative.




Photo Credit: Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions

BOSTON, Massachusetts — James Degale became the first British Olympic medalist to win a world title yesterday by scoring two knockdowns to defeat Andre Dirrell by unanimous decision (114-112 twice, 117-109) at the¬†Agganis Arena. This was a crossroads fight for two fighters desperately seeking to live up to their perceived world-class potential. Despite an uneven performance, Degale proved to be the one wanted it more.

TAKING CONTROL: Degale drew first blood by scoring two big knockdowns in round two. They came in the last minute via a counter overhand left, and later a barrage on the ropes¬†that forced Dirrell to his knees. This 10-7 round proved to be crucial on two scorecards as Degale’s activity severely dropped in the second half of the fight. Although Dirrell never appeared to seriously hurt him, Degale’s putrid punch output allowed Dirrell to take the majaority of these rounds on sheer activity.


CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND AWAKENING: Finally sensing the bout was slipping away, Degale woke up in the 11th and 12th stanzas. While the former was close, Degale’s closed the final minute strong and appeared fresher and more aggressive in the 12th. Despite the one dubious card for him by Alan Davis (117-109), Degale’s late rally sealed the deal on his first title win.


NEW BUSINESS: Sporting his new IBF belt, Degale was ecstatic and also looking forward to more elite competition.

“I am speechless. In my whole career, what I have been building up to is winning a world title and I have finally done it,” said Degale. “It is an unbelievable feeling. I have made history; I am the first British Olympic Gold medalist to become a world champion.

I am back now and injury free. I will take on any super middleweight in the world. There is no other super middleweight in the world who will beat me. I am hard to beat when I am at my best.”

Dirrell was livid at the decision.

“They said I ran from Carl Froch and they took that fight from me,” he fumed. “He ran tonight and they gave it to him. All he did was run, no way I lost this fight.”

Degale has star power in the UK and can look at a domestic showdown with the likes of an Arthur Abraham, or eye a unification with the winner of Badou Jack vs. George Groves.

As for Dirrell, his career continues to be a massive disappointment. It’s amazing to consider in a modern era where you have four major titles per division, Dirrell has gone 10 years without winning anything.


EDWIN RODRIGUEZ TKO3 CRAIG BAKER: Edwin Rodriguez was in complete control but got the benefit of a quick stoppage in his third round TKO over Craig Baker. Rodriguez’s powerful right hand drove¬†Baker against the ropes. Baker continued to take shots, but had his guard up and was rolling with the punches¬†as the ref called it.


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QUEBEC CITY, Canada — 2014 wasn’t the year most envisioned for lineal light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. Last night, the WBC title-holder finished the year 2-0 courtesy of last night’s domination and fifth round knockout of Dmitry Sukhotsky. And while Stevenson had an easy time of it, the other name fighters on the card had scares to varying degrees before securing their wins.

STEVENSON WINS AND DEFERS FUTURE TO HAYMON: There was never any doubt that Stevenson would emerge victorious. Sukhotsky had never faced a fighter of Stevenson’s caliber and it showed from the beginning. The action was sparse until Stevenson picked up the pace following a quick knockdown in the second. From there, his lethal left cross appeared to have a magnet with Sukhotsky’s cranium. The damage reached its apex in the fifth with Stevenson scoring three knockdowns that put an end to the beatdown.

With 2014 essentially being a wasted year for Black Superman, you would think he’d be more forceful in calling out fighters to face in the new year. Instead, Stevenson¬†boasted that guys like Kovalev need to “come to him,” being that he’s the “big champion” of the division. In addition, he stressed that he’s letting advisor Al Haymon pick his future opponents.

In 2014, Haymon’s direction has caused Stevenson to miss out on lucrative fights against Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal and Sergey Kovalev. In an ultimate twist of irony, by March Kovalev will have faced both Hopkins and Pascal.

Maybe Stevenson is using the Mayweather strategy of letting all the top guys fight each other and then swoop in to face the #1 guy who emerges.¬†But as of right now, Stevenson’s track record in 2014 is proof positive that simply being the lineal champ doesn’t make you “the man” of the division.


BETERBIEV TAKES CHARGE: With all the hype building around Artur Beterbiev since his destruction of Tavoris Cloud, many have forgotten the 29-year-old only has seven professional fights. He made the cardinal mistake last night of underestimating his opponent Jeff Page and paid for it in the opening round by suffering a flash knockdown. Admitting the knockdown woke him up, Beterbiev went on a tear in the second round. He bulldozed Page with two knockdowns, the first off a straight right and second a left hook, to force a TKO stoppage.

Beterbiev is showing he’s a force to be reckoned with, but I’d like to see him get in 2-3 more fights against Top 20-25 opposition before we hear any talk about a title shot.


JOJO DAN EARNS ANOTHER SD OVER KEVIN BIZIER: The most competitive bout of the quadruple-header was the rematch between Jojo Dan and Kevin Bizier. Both guys laid heavy leather on each other throughout. What gave Dan the edge on the scorecards was a knockdown off a counter left hook, giving him the nod via scores of 115-112, 114-113 and 113-114.

The win now makes Dan the #1 contender for Kell Brook’s IBF welterweight title. Since Brook is trying to get Amir Khan in the ring, I’m sure the prospect of facing Dan isn’t high on his list. However, Brook has been inactive since his breakout title win over Shawn Porter over the summer. He needs to build back some momentum, and a credible win over his #1 contender in Dan would be a much-needed boost. Even more incentive is Dan’s propensity to brawl would play right into the hard-punching Brook’s hands.

DIRRELL WINS ELIMINATOR OVER EDWARDS: Getting stung in the 12th round was the only blemish on Andre Dirrell’s unanimous decision win over Derek Edwards (120-108, 119-109, 119-107).

Dirrell elected to fight the entire bout southpaw and still handled Edwards with relative ease. Chis Byrd was on corner duty for Dirrell¬†and spent most of the later rounds urging his charge to push for a KO. Dirrell did succeed in stinging Edwards badly with left hands, but he never went all out for a KO. Afterward, it was revealed that Dirrell¬†injured his left hand. Although he¬†denied this had any bearing on the fight’s outcome, it’s possible this was the motivating factor for Dirrell’s¬†southpaw strategy.

Edwards did make sure that Dirrell didn’t leave completely unscathed by rocking him with a right hand in the closing minutes of the 12th. Dirrell¬†wisely held to prevent Edwards from replicating his upset KO over Badou Jack from earlier this year.

Dirrell is now the #2 contender for Carl Froch’s IBF super middlweight title. Since Froch is focused on facing a big name in Las Vegas (Chavez, GGG), Dirrell will likely have to settle for facing the #1 contender in James DeGale. Count me in for that potential matchup.


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Photo Credit: Amanda Kwok/SHOWTIME

QUEBEC¬†CITY, CANADA¬†— Showtime is airing a special Friday night (December 19) of championship boxing with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson taking on Dmitry¬†Sukhotskiy, Andre Dirrell¬†facing upset-minded Derek Edwards, a rematch between¬†Jo Jo¬†Dan and Kevin Bizier, and¬†hot prospect Artur Beterbiev battling Jeff Page Jr.

All fighters were on weight and the card airs at 9 p.m. ET.

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Adonis Stevenson – 174.5

Dmitry Sukhotskiy Р173.5

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Jo Jo Dan – 146 ¬ĺ

Kevin Bizier – 146 ¬ĺ


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Andre Dirrell – 167 ¬ĺ

Derek Edwards Р167  

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Artur Beterbiev – 174.5

Jeff Page Jr. – 174 ¬ľ Pounds



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Photo Credit: Amanda Kwok/SHOWTIME

Light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson and challenger Dmitry¬†Sukhotskiy¬†formally announced their December 19 Showtime fight yesterday at the¬†NRJ¬†Bell Media building. This isn’t the ideal fight for Stevenson considering missed opportunities to face Sergey Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins this year. However, the light-heavyweight landscape will be a lot clearer by the time this bout takes place, giving it more meaning for Stevenson as he heads into 2015.

Filling out the card will be Andre Dirrell, Kevin Bizier vs. Jo Jo Dan, and Artur Beterbiev vs. Jeff Page Jr.


Adonis Stevenson_Montreal Press Conference-0008


My hand has healed from the injury when I fought Fonfara. I’m healthy and I’m ready to go.

Going 12 rounds was a good experience for me. I train for 12 rounds in the gym. Sometimes it’s good to go the distance and get the experience.

Everybody brings their A-game because I’m the champ.

I know I’m the king of the light heavyweight division and I know that everyone wants to take my belt. I’m going to train very hard.

Sukhotskiy is a tough guy and he’s hoping to surprise me. I’ll prepare, my hands will be perfect and it will be a short night on Showtime.


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I’m hoping to fight with Kell Brook, but I’m concentrating 100 percent on the fight with Kevin Bizier. I’ve been waiting for this fight since I started boxing.

I know he’s learned some things and has more experience since our first fight. But I also know him better now than when we first fought, so I think it’s going to be an exciting fight.

If the knockout comes, it’s comes, but I always prepare for 12 rounds. If the chance is there, I won’t miss it. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t preparing for 12 rounds.

I train 100 percent and I’m sure he’ll be in the best shape of his life. We’re looking to make the fight of the year in Quebec.


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If I want to win the world championship then I need to prepare for the best and the toughest fight of my life against [Jo Jo] Dan.

It puts a little more pressure knowing that I could fight for a title if I win in December. But I’m focused on Dan and no one else. I’m just focusing on boxing. I’m not worried about stopping him.

I learned to be more relaxed after our first fight. In the first fight I was going for the KO. I’m going to try to be more relaxed and use my jab this time around.


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I’m not worried about getting another knockout. It all depends on the strategy of the fight. I’m going to fight until the last round.

With [Tavoris] Cloud I was preparing for 12 rounds and I could never have predicted that I would only box for four minutes. I was just doing my job and that’s what happened.

I’m going to be more motivated for this fight because he’s undefeated. Every fight I go in the ring thinking that I’ve already lost to my opponent before. That way I won’t take my opponent lightly.

The amateur career helped and I hope it will help me for the rest of my life. But at the same time I need to progress. I have a lot to learn in professional boxing and I’m looking forward to it.



No, I don’t think he’s overrated. He had a great amateur background and he went to the Olympics twice. He has beaten a lot of good fighters and he just beat Tavoris Cloud, so I think he’s a tough opponent.

I have great hand speed and great footwork, but I know I can’t run from him like everyone else has. I’m ready to exchange – I have great power myself.

I think him and his team are underestimating me, but I’m going to use that to my advantage. I’m going to come in and show him right away that I’m there to win, that I’m not an opponent.

Being an underdog is absolutely a motivator for me. Everybody back home is going to be watching. If I win this fight big things are going to start happening for me and my team. Everyone will know who I am.

I think my experience helps. He’s had a lot of amateur fights, but amateur and pro fights are a lot different. I’ve trained with a lot guys – I’ve been to Vegas, I’ve been to Chicago – and I’m getting ready to go to Big Bear. I have a lot of experience and I plan to use it.

I train for knockouts but I’m ready to 10 rounds.




Seven years after his first reign, Jermain Taylor can again call himself a middleweight title-holder after dropping Sam Soliman four times and winning the IBF crown by unanimous decision (116-111, 115-109 and 116-109).

Was it an entertaining fight? Only if you like train wrecks? Has Jermain Taylor found a fountain of youth? Only if he gets to fight Soliman every time out. But the particulars don’t truly matter. Taylor has a belt, got paid an astounding $1 million dollars for last night’s effort, and as an Al Haymon client already has two fellow middleweights in his stable to face (Peter Quillin or Danny Jacobs).


MIDDLEWEIGHT WALKING WOUNDED: Although Soliman is 40 years old and absolutely reckless, I still didn’t foresee Taylor handling him so easily. Based on their recent fights and how they looked, I was certain Soliman would be able to overwhelm Taylor much like he did Felix Sturm in two outings. Taylor who started taking over in the seventh with a right hand that scored a balance knockdown on Soliman. Taylor then¬†exacerbated an obvious eighth round right knee injury by muscling Soliman in the later rounds for three more knockdowns.

Much like Sergio Martinez against Miguel Cotto in June, and Darren Baker against Felix Sturm last year, we had a middleweight title fight that saw its outcome heavily influenced by injuries.

For his part, Soliman declined to blame the knee for his performance.

“I [injured myself] a little bit in training and I nearly had to pull out of the fight,” Soliman revealed. “Absolutely no excuses because if he wasn’t as good of a fighter as he was — a former undisputed world champion — I would have been able to come away with the goods.

“[Taylor’s] performance — you can’t take that away from him. The knee was fresh and fine as I was fighting so it wasn’t an old injury that came back because of bad luck.”


LAME DUCK TITLIST?: The conventional wisdom among most is that Taylor is going to get blasted out in his first defense. Both Quillin and Jacobs can punch, so that’s a logical prediction. We already know Taylor will not be looking in GGG’s direction for a unification.

Since Quillin has taken so much heat for vacating his WBO belt, he’s the one in dire need of a “big win.” Expect lots of spin to make the fight credible. The interesting question will be where the bout¬†ends up. Will it be Showtime, ESPN or will Haymon possibly hold it for his rumored NBC deal set to kick off in January 2015? And if Taylor can get $1 million for Taylor to face Soliman as the challenger, is it possible we can see Taylor vs. Quillin generating career-high paydays for both?


DIRRELL TKO4 BRINSON: At least my other pick was spot on in Andre Dirrell destroying Nick Brinson in four rounds. Brinson. Dirrell’s quick counters let¬†Brinson know from round one that he had no chance. Dirrell has a lot of lost time to make up for, so I hope he takes another stay busy fight to close out 2014, and then starts getting in there with contenders by April 2015.




Shelton, WASHINGTON — Andre Direll (22-1, 15 KOs) ended an 18-month layoff with one-sided, fifth round stoppage over Vladine Biosse (15-5-2) at ESPN’s Friday Night Fights card from Little Creek Casino Resort.

Having lost his last two fights, Biosse was reluctant to engage and spent most of the fight on the backfoot. Dirrell fought at a methodical pace, later stating that the plan was to get some rounds under his belt.

Dirrell’s straight left and uppercuts from both hands were his main weapons. The blows repeatedly split the smaller Biosse’s guard and nearly ended matters in the closing seconds of the fourth round. In the fifth, a series of uppercuts, overhand lefts and straight rights caused Biosse to stumble into a corner, where Dirrell quickly finished matters with a cluster of hooks.

In his post-fight interview, Dirrell was adamant in stating he would like to  simultaneously compete in super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Dirrell also disclosed his main target is Carl Froch, who handed Dirrell his only defeat via a split decision in 2009.

Friday night’s contest was Dirrell’s first under a reunited partnership with advisor Al Haymon. Dirrell left 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions last month.

The entire fight and post-fight interview can be viewed below.