Andre Dirrell Set for Return, Lemieux Trainer Russ Anber breaks Down Loss


by Hans Olson

Andre Dirrell, sidelined since his disqualification victory over Arthur Abraham in March of last year, is finally set to return.

“Yes absolutely. We’re back in business, he’s back in the gym,” said Andre’s uncle and trainer Leon Lawson Jr. in an interview with Boxing Insider on Tuesday. “We’re just back on it man; back doing what we need to do in the gym, getting better everyday. We’re just looking forward to our return.”

Dirrell pulled out of Showtime’s Super Six tournament last year before his scheduled bout with Andre Ward. Lingering neurological issues from the illegal blow landed by Abraham put the young fighter’s career in doubt, rendering him unable to continue in the tournament. After a lengthy hiatus, Leon confirmed that Andre has been given the ‘okay’ from his doctors to fight again. “He’s been cleared. Ready to go.”

Additionally, Lawson noted that Andre has no contractual restrictions from Showtime preventing him from fighting before the Super Six tournament concludes. In fact his return could very well be on Showtime, although no opponent or official date has been set. Calls to Showtime’s Ken Hershman for confirmation were not immediately returned. With all that has happened in the last year, Leon and Team Dirrell are upbeat with the possibilities that lie ahead. “We’re back in business man. That’s the main thing man…and happy to be back.”

David Lemieux’s trainer Russ Anber breaks down David’s first defeat:

A few weeks ago, hard hitting middleweight prospect David Lemieux lost a WBC title eliminator to the rugged Marco Antonio Rubio. In an exciting all-action affair, David suffered the first knockdown of his career in the 7th round, shortly thereafter he would take a multitude of shots forcing trainer Russ Anber to throw in the towel; a wise move that will see David fighting another day. With the recent surge of upsets ranging from Nobuhiro Ishida’s shocking first round kayo over James Kirkland to Orlando Salido’s dethroning of Juan Manuel Lopez(not to mention the wave of surprises by Vincent Arroyo, Dyah Davis, and Victor Ortiz)…David’s setback doesn’t seem nearly as bad as many initially thought. Matter of factly, he just ran into a tough, skilled, seasoned veteran in Marco Antonio Rubio— someone who should have been given more credit leading up to the fight by the media (myself included). Here’s what David’s trainer Russ Anber had to say in a telephone interview with Boxing Insider on Tuesday:

on David’s state of mind after his first defeat:

“I think he’s fine. As any young fighter would feel, he probably felt the world had come to an end. I think he’s probably coming to terms with it, realizing that it’s an opportunity where a fighter shows what it is that he’s made of. I think overall he’s doing quite well. I don’t think there are any psychologically damaging things that happened in the fight.”

on David’s post-fight health (it was initially thought that David had fractured his right orbital bone):

“We were fortunate that there was no broken nose, no break in the orbital bone, no jaw problem. As a matter of fact, by the time the weekend was over, by the time Monday came around; you wouldn’t have been able to tell he was in a fight. (The swelling) had all gone down rather quickly.

Breaking down the Rubio fight:

“David lost to the #1 Middleweight contender in the world. He didn’t lose to a bum, he didn’t get blown out of the building, he wasn’t humiliated in a way where he didn’t belong in the same ring with Rubio…I don’t think that was the case at all. I think overall for the first 5 rounds, David showed that he has extremely high level skills and talent. I think his youthful exuberance got the better of him—thinking that he was just going to knock everybody out. He really firmly believed that if he hit Rubio, he would knock him out. When he didn’t get the knockout, like any young inexperienced fighter…he tried even harder for the knockout. Those are the same tricks that have plagued many fighters. You have to think it’s almost a punchers disease—that they just believe they can knock everybody out. How they come back from that is the true measure of their character.”

on his decision to stop the fight:

“Not a chance would I have let the fight go any further. Look, I’ve known David since he was 9 years old. I say this with all sincerity: I know David better than David knows David. I knew he was hurt. I was looking at him trying to defend himself. He showed heart, there’s no doubt about that. He was doing the right things, trying to keep his hands up…protect against the punches coming at him. I noticed when I watched the replay of the fight that he got dropped in the neutral corner at approximately the 1:00 mark; when I stopped the fight it was with 24 seconds left in the round. David never threw a punch after taking the mandatory 8-count when he got dropped in the neutral corner. He never threw a punch again. I think I gave him ample time to show me that he could respond, and he was just defending. What would have been the proper call? How many more punches do I let him take? What…2, 3? How many more shots would have been right to let him take? I really don’t think that is a question that should, or could be answered by anyone. If anyone says ‘you should have let him take 2 more punches!’ then…what the hell does that matter? What difference does that make? I’m looking out for his best interest, his well being…not just the fight.

on David’s return to the ring:

“I don’t think we’ve really made a decision on that yet. I think it’s going to take a little bit of time to evaluate how David feels. We’ve had a few meetings with him. I had a meeting with him last Wednesday. Groupe Yvon Michel will probably be meeting with him at some point this week. I think there are different things that we have to look at to help us decide as to when we’re going to bring him back. I think it’s important that we not go back into the ring without making the necessary corrections one needs to make to compete at the level that David wants to compete at.”

on Julio Chavez Jr. vs. Sebastian Zbik, and how the winner matches up with Marco Antonio Rubio:

I think it’s a good fight. I think this is by far going to be the best opponent that Chavez has fought, no doubt about that. I think that if Chavez fights the fight he’s supposed to fight, I think he definitely has a great shot at winning…but I think that if Zbik can go out and do what he can do, I think it’s going to cause all kinds of problems for Chavez as well. This is certainly not a gimme by any stretch of the imagination for either guy. I really think that a guy like Chavez has what is required to beat somebody like Rubio, simply because I don’t think Chavez will get lured into that punchers disease that David has. That’s a fact. He will do what might be some of the right things, which are to out-box somebody like Rubio. Rubio to me just showed so much resilience against David. I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and the manor in which Rubio conducted himself. I think if you show weakness against a guy like Marco Antonio Rubio, you end up paying a very severe price.

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