It will be a tough act to follow what we just saw in Berlin, Germany, but Carl “The Cobra” Froch and Andre Dirrell look more than capable of putting on a great battle in amped up Nottingham. Once again, special guest commentary from world-renowned artist LeRoy Neiman…
Dirrell enters the ring with Everlast green military style outfit with a WBC belt on his tee shirt and his likeness that makes the clear statement, I am about to become WBC champion. He seems unaffected by the big crowd and ready to fulfill his dreams.
The Cobra looks menacingly confident as he enters with a black hood to a mix of “We Will Rock You” by Queen and “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns & Roses.
“That guy loves to fight,” says an excited Neiman of Froch. “I’ve never seen a guy so ready to fight.”
Round one: A tense, cautious start. But you just know this thing will explode.
Round two: Three missed jabs by Dirrell, he isn’t comfortable yet. Then he scores with a double jab. His feints don’t budge Froch who is pursuing but not punching yet. Dirrell is elusive and quick and agile, very difficult to size up.
Round three: Andre The Matrix Dirrell is showing some very fast fists. Very interesting fight here. “With more fights like this, boxing will go up,” comments Neiman who is gripped by this match, just like the previous fight from Berlin. “We need more fights like this.” How right he is. If only Mayweather had the courage to match his skills with the best. If only HBO and Golden Boy could force the little chicken to put up, shut up, or get out of this great sport. HBO and Mayweather could be in Super Bowl events, not meaningless Ali-Alzado type exhibitions.
Round four: Dirrell is sharper and more accurate, awkward looking Froch is not landing anything really. “Our guy can win this,” says Neiman of Dirrell.
Round five: Froch showing frustration now as he throws down Dirrell. Froch also hits on break. Dirrell is in clear control of matters after five.
Round six: Froch applies a headlock. Froch actually looking worse each round. Dirrell holds a lot though, showing some fine skills but spoiling it too. Froch suddenly lands a couple. “That’s one tough bastard over there,” says Neiman of Froch. “There’s no plan for the way the fight is going, he’s ready for anything.”
Round seven: Action picking up now, Dirrell showing he’s a star in the making, he can do it all, tough, smart, quick, creative, is a star being born?
Round eight: Dirrell not tiring at all, as Froch expected. Froch lands a left hook but Dirrell looks superior.
Round nine: For first time Dirrell spends time on ropes, he is slowing now. A tough fight for both, great match up. This is what happens when you put the best in with the best, and don’t protect 0’s.
Round ten: Dirrell holding a lot, gets point taken away. “He’s got a lot of heart,” says Neiman of the American. “He can win this tournament.”
Round eleven: Still doing all the right moves. Dirrell looks to be on his way to winning this fight.
Round twelve: “Dirrell’s punches at the end were more effective than Froch,” says Neiman. It looks like Dirrell’s fight but a draw wouldn’t be unreasonable. Close fight but Dirrell may have edged it.
Split decision win for Froch, two judges had it 115-112 Froch and the other for Dirrell 114-113. Both fighters accept the decision, they knew it was close. I thought Dirrell won but after listening to Froch being interviewed by Jim Gray, he persuaded me. “It was a dissatisfying night for me but a comfortable one.” He said he pressed and tried to make it a fight, but Dirrell wasn’t interested. At ringside Claude Abrams editor of “Boxing News” also had it for Dirrell by two 115-113 and he is one of the most respected journalists in the world. It may have looked different from ringside than on TV. Dirrell was classy in defeat and made no gripes about the scores. Froch added, “I feel I can go back in there and go another 12 rounds with Andre Dirrell, and beat him again. Andre Dirrell will never beat the Cobra.”
Two excellent fights from Showtime. It was a grand night which demonstrated that when the right fights are made, boxing can be the greatest sport on earth. This Super Six Tournament idea by Ken Hershman is the best thing to happen to the sport in 2010 and hopefully it will have an influential and inspiring affect for other boxing powers-that-be to follow this creative initiative.
Author of “Heavyweight Armageddon: The Tyson-Lewis Championship Battle” was called “A smashing success, one of the two best boxing books I ever read,” by Emanuel Steward.