Andre Dirrell “I said DeGale first then Froch. I am putting my ducks in a row”


Andre DirrellSuper-middleweight contender Andre Dirrell(24-1, 16KO’s) was looking very pleased indeed when he spoke to recently to discuss his upcoming bout with James DeGale(20-1, 14KO’s) for the vacant IBF World title.

Perhaps this is because after five years out of tope tier competition he has managed to secure himself a title shot on home turf after Warriors Boxing Promotions outbid Degale’s Matchroom Sports representatives to hold the event in the US. Time and date are yet to be decided, but Dirrell was savouring this as a triumph in itself.

“This is a beautiful, beautiful situation for me. The world know I’ve been out for a little while, came back three fights strong, three fights in six months, and it was all in preparation for a moment like this man.”

This is a pretty sweet deal for Dirrell. It came as an unexpected shock to see Matchroom miss out on an opportunity to crown one of their more talented acquisitions in the UK, where everything would be stacked in DeGale’s favour. Now Dirrell needn’t worry about suffering a controversial loss on the scorecards as he did to Carl Froch in 2009. That remains his only professional defeat and despite repeatedly praising DeGale’s talents, Dirrell seemed unwilling to separate this upcoming challenge from the bitterness he felt on that night in Nottingham.

“I’m thinking win, win, win and that’s all I see in my head man. Winning is the only thing I know. I got one defeat; cheated but never defeated against Carl Froch and once I get that IBF, if he wants to get a shot at it and come back for it then by all means I’m right here man. I got a thing for the UK, I love the fans out there, a lot of em’ love me but I know they love their fighter more, and I wanna earn they respect man. So like I said DeGale first then Froch. I am putting my ducks in a row because I know I’m gonna handle the job man.”

The rematch with Froch seems unlikely if only for the fact that Dirrell frustrated the hell out of him last time they met. His evasiveness and athleticism combined to leave Froch chasing shadows all night, leading the Englishman to resentfully label Dirrell’s tactics on the night as ‘running’ because he was unwilling to stand and trade. Froch is after a marquee name who will do just that for his last run-out and regardless of Dirrell’s talents, he doesn’t fit that criteria.

James DeGale is a lot more technically proficient than Froch and so looking past him for revenge’s sake is a foolhardy thing to do for Dirrell. A tricky, slick southpaw who looks to be developing his power is not an ideal opponent against which to win your first world title, and Dirrell’s chances at such have been scant, to say the least.

“This is my second shot at a world title. I think it’s pretty sad, not to put the blame on anyone, but to be fighting for a world title for only the second time in ten years, it’s pretty heavy on me man, and that’s why I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove.”

When put like that it is quite unusual that a fighter of Dirrell’s calibre would be starved of title chances in this way. I don’t know which way the blame should be directed. Surely he has not helped his own cause by taking several long lay-offs from action between now and his last failed attempt, so all he can do now is carry on winning, a conclusion that is far from forgone in his next fight, even in his home country, against a fighter like DeGale.