Two Fighters, Different Directions

By Tom Donelson
Updated: May 4, 2008

GlovesIOWA CITY, Ia. — Andre Dirrell has the talent to be a superstar in the Super Middleweight division.With quick hands and extensive amateur background, Dirrell faced his sternest test in Anthony Hanshaw.

Hanshaw was once seen a prospect but at the age of 30 and a career stifled by two long layoffs. His career was in danger of slipping from contender to plain old opponent.

Hanshaw competed in SHOBox Super Middleweight tournament and reached the finals but fought a draw against French fighter Jean Paul Mendy.After that, he faced Roy Jones in a fight that determined where Hanshaw’s career was going.

Hanshaw had his opportunity to show that he belong in the upper elites of the division in either the Super Middleweight or light heavyweight. In the beginning of the fight, he had his moment, but Jones’ talent proved too much for Hanshaw and he lost an easy decision. This fight showed that Hanshaw was not an elite fighter and now he was the major obstacles to Dirrell’s championship dream.

In the first round, Hanshaw’s experience proved decisive as he forced Dirrell to the ropes and pounded the body.This proved to be Hanshaw’s high water mark and halfway through the second round, Dirrell’s quick hands proved too much for him.

Shifting from orthodox to southpaw and back, Dirrell consistently had Hanshaw on his heel and at the end of the fourth round, he nailed him with a series of punching and forcing him back in the rope.

Hanshaw was dazed coming out in the fifth and from this point, it was only a matter of time before Dirrell ended the fight.And he ended it with style but sending Hanshaw down.After he got back up, Dirrell pounced and the referee stopped the fight.

For Dirrell, this was his first step toward a possible championship run and he showed that he may not be that far from being a top ten contender.With only 15 fights under his belt, the talent is there forserious run at the top in the Super Middleweight and maybe the light heavyweight division.

As for Hanshaw, his career is slowly slipping toward a different path with two losses and a draw in his last three fight against top notch competition.

As for the Forbes-De La Hoya fight, the headlines were already written — De La Hoya wins.Forbes knew that he was the underdog and his job was to entertain the crowd while allowing De La Hoya his moment in the sun.

Of course, Forbes had no intention of being a foil in De La Hoya’s promotional efforts to drum up support for a second Mayweather-De La Hoya fight.

De La Hoya began the fight with a piston like jab and like the Oscar of old, he jabbed, jabbed and jabbed while setting it up for his left hook.

Forbes, who never been knocked out,played the cute defender; deflecting many of these initial blows. Forbes’ strategy was to take De La Hoya to the later rounds and hope that the favorite would tire out.

Forbes, not a big knockout puncher, needed to win some of the early rounds but De La Hoya’s jab dominated the fight.In the sixth round, a De La Hoya left hook cut Forbes’ right eye and in the second half of the fight; he stayed on the defense.

Occasional offensive burst were often accompanied by long stretches of defensive fighting as De La Hoya’s jab set up his left hook to the body and head as well as his right.

The judges were hard pressed to give Forbes at least one round and the numbers in this case told the story.De La Hoya averaged 30 plus jabs per round and nailed Forbes with one out of every three jabs thrown.

Forbes tasted at least 10 De La Hoya’s jab in every round and he added at least 30 power punches per round to his combinations.Forbes barely connected on 20 percent of his punches and most of the time, De La Hoya parried off many of his attacks.

The fight was easy to score and depending upon one’s generosity,Forbes may have received one round.Two of the judges gave Forbes that one round and the third could not even give Forbes one round.

This was a one sided affair with De La Hoya showing flashes of his old self but his face was marked up; a sign that just maybe, his 35 years of age is starting to show.

De La Hoya is now in the final phrases of his career and has two fights left before he becomes De La Hoya, the Golden Boy Promotions CEO.His goal is to go out on top and hopefully get a revenge victory against Mayweather.

Their first fight was close but Mayweather’s hand speed and De La Hoya fading down the stretch as well as his abandonment of his jab doomed any chance that he had of winning against Mayweather.

The De La Hoya that fought Forbes has a fighting chance of beating either Mayweather or Miguel Cotto but there is no doubt that both fighters would be favorite.

As for Forbes, he had his last moment in the sun. At the age of 31, Forbes lack of power and wiliness to fight at higher than his natural weight are not conductive to another championship run. The Welterweight is one of boxing’s deepest and there is very little opportunity for Forbes to crack into the top five, or even the top ten

The junior Welterweight doesn’t have the same depth but there are talented fighters there as well on top of the division. He made a good pay day and now he faces the uphill battle of getting another big money fight.

Time may have run out for Forbes, a solid fighter with one past championship belt but he is not a great fighter. And when he faced De La Hoya, he was facing a better fighter.