A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
A Pair of former Olympic champions will collide with one another for a vacant world title when James DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs) meets Andre Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs) on Saturday, May 23, at the Agganis Arena in Boston. MA. The bout will be televised live on NBC’s “Premier Boxing Champions” series beginning at 4:30 PM/ET featuring light-heavyweight contender Edwin Rodriguez.
“This is a match of two of the very best super middleweights in the world and figures to be a terrific fight,” said promoter Lou DiBella.
DeGale-Dirrell should be an exciting and terrific fight. They are both fast and display exceptional skills. Both lots of amateur experience, as Dirrell won a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics (lost to silver medalist and current WBA middleweight champion Gennday Golovkin). DeGale out-boxed several opponents and won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Although DeGale has one loss which was a close majority decision against George Groves (2011), he has been destined to fight for a world title ever since he began his career in July 2009. Since his professional debut, DeGale has fought no fewer than three times per year. Also, DeGale has always been a fan of the bright lights and massive crowds. DeGale has relished the opportunity to fight for his first world title in front of a world-wide audience in America.
“I like the big audience,” DeGale said. “I like the big lights. I’m just feeling real relaxed, chilled and ready to perform next Saturday. I’m buzzing. I really can’t wait; just being in America and knowing that I’m going to make my debut next Saturday in front of millions of Americans and back in the UK as well. It’s going to be fantastic.”
DeGale will have an opportunity to turn into a star by winning his first world title, but it will not come easy without a few lumps and bruises.
Andre Dirrell is perhaps one of boxing’s most forgotten talents. At 6’ 1,” fighting at 168 pounds, Dirrell is one of the more talented fighters in the world. However in recent years, his career has stalled. The bright lights and massive crowds that DeGale relishes have eluded Dirrell.
Dirrell’s career was supposed to have launched upon his entry into the “Super Six: Word Boxing Classic” tournament featuring six of the world’s top super middleweights. Dirrell lost a close split-decision to Carl Froch in Nottingham, England before pummeling Arthur Abraham en route to an 11th-round disqualification victory.
Following the Abraham fight, Dirrell was inactive having fought twice in three years (2010-12013). Dirrell, winner of his last 5 fights, appears to be retooled and refreshed having fought three times in 2014.
“I had a major setback as well, but with that I stayed in the game, stayed sharp. I was sharp in my last couple of performances,” Dirrell said. “I’m looking forward to the future and this is the breakout fight like I said.”
DeGale is anxious for the chance to win a world title. In the last year he has been pressing for a fight with Carl Froch, the previous holder of the IBF super middleweight title. Froch, who is seriously contemplating retirement, opted to vacate the IBF crown. The possible retirement of Froch has opened a door for either DeGale, or Dirrell to win their first world title.
“Yeah, my time is here,” DeGale said. ”My time is here, next Saturday. I’ve trained extremely hard and you’re in for a treat because you’re going to watch two very talented hungry fighters next Saturday fight it out for a world title. I honestly think it’s going to be a hell of a fight, one I’m confident of winning. So, fasten your seatbelts, man. It should be good.”