PBC on NBC Preview: Andre Dirrell vs. James DeGale
by: Matthew N. Becher
Premier Boxing Champions will be coming live from the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts with a World Title fight between two former Olympic medalists and top contenders Andre Dirrell and James DeGale, which could shape the landscape of the Super Middleweight division. Also appearing on the co-main event, is the debut at Light Heavyweight of Edwin Rodriguez (26-1 17KO) against the undefeated Craig Baker (16-0 12KO).
In the co-main event former super middleweight title contender Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (26-1 17KO) will look to make a name for himself in the Light Heavyweight division. The local fighter from Worcester, Mass is coming off of two wins after his lone loss to then lineal champ Andre Ward in 2013. Rodriguez is now signed with Al Haymon and is looking to impress against an undefeated opponent and maybe a possible future meeting with lineal Light Heavyweight champion and Haymon fighter Adonis Stevenson. Rodriguez stated being at his new weight class was going well, “I feel great now. I feel like 175 is the weight that I belong at. I feel like I’m strong and I’m fast and I feel like I’m the best light heavyweight. I just need the opportunity to prove it, and this is one of them and I’m excited.” Baker will have his hands full against the more experienced fighter, but feels very much up to the challenge and spotlight of fighting the locally backed Rodriguez, “…it doesn’t matter where you fight. It’s the competition, and that’s how I take it…..At the end of the day, I just have to show up and fight. That’s the way I take the game. I have to bring my A game at all times and that’s what I do.”
The main event is shaped up to be one hell of a fight. Dirrell is getting his second chance for his first world title. His first came during the super six tournament in 2009 and was a split decision loss to Carl Froch in the UK. Dirrell then went on to give Arthur Abraham his first professional loss, but suffered a neurological injury after being hit in the head after slipping on a wet spot on the canvas. This kept him out of the sport for 21 months, and just now does he feel back to being at the top of his game, “I’m feeling the vibe already and I really can’t wait to make Saturday myself. I feel I have a lot to prove and I have a different Andre Dirrell to show, one that’s just as sharp, just as fast, just as brave, but just has a bigger mental capacity.”
for DeGale, the 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist, this will be his first chance at a world title. The British and European champion will also be making his first trip to the United States, “I like the big audience. 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.”
Both fighters are young and the future of the division. Dirrell and DeGale have great amateur pedigree and are ready to take their careers to the next level and become world champions on Saturday and claim stake to the head of the rankings. This could be one of the best stylistic fights made so far in PBCs newly founded path. Dirrell and DeGale are switch hitters and both are going to try and break the others will, to become the IBF Super Middleweight Champion of the World.