Fox Sports PPV Preview: Spence vs. Porter, Dirrell vs. Benavidez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Night the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California will be the host site for a pay per view offering by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
The main event of the evening will be a highly anticipated welterweight title fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter. The co-main event of the evening will be between Anthony Dirrell and David Bennavidez for Dirrell’s WBC Super Middleweight Title.
The undercard is also stocked, and it is headlined by a WBA Junior Welterweight Title Fight between Mario Barrios and Bartyr Akhmedov. Other fighters on the undercard include Josesito Lopez, John Molina Jr., Robert Guerrero, and Joey Spencer.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Anthony Dirrell (33-1) vs. David Benavidez (21-0); WBC Super Middleweight Title
The co-main event is a title fight between a thirty four year old Anthony Dirrell and a twenty two year old David Benavidez. It’s an intriguing fight in that one fighter appears to be on an upward trajectory in his career while the other fighter may be near his downslide.
Dirrell will have a slight ½ inch height advantage on Benavidez but will be giving up two and a half inches in reach. Dirrell has twenty four stoppages on his resume while Benavidez has eighteen stoppage wins, but Benavidez has less fights than Dirrell.
Both boxers haven’t been very active. Dirrell fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017. Benavidez fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Dirrell does have an edge in amateur experience. He was a PAL champ as an amateur and came in third place in the US Olympic trials. Benavidez only had fifteen fights as an amateur.
Benavidez has beaten the likes of J’Leon Love, Ronald Gavril, Rogelio Medina, Denis Douglin, and Francy Ntet. Dirrell has to be given the edge in defeated opponents as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Avni Yildirim, Abraham Han, Denis Douglin, Caleb Truax, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Sakio Bika. His lone loss was to Badou Jack.
This is an intriguing fight, but Benavidez looked spectacular in his win against J’Leon Love and he has a significant reach and age advantage. Dirrell’s experience may carry him through the day, but Benavidez has to be considered a slight favorite.
Errol Spence Jr. (25-0) vs. Shawn Porter (30-2-1); IBF/WBC Welterweight Titles
Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. is considered by many to be the best welterweight fighter in the world.
But he will be facing the toughest test of his career on Saturday; a hard charging, relentless, in his prime champion by the name of Shawn Porter.
Both Spence and Porter are still in the middle of their athletic prime, with Spence being twenty nine years old and Porter being thirty one years old. Spence will have about a two and a half inch height advantage and a two and a half inch reach advantage.
Spence also appears to have an edge in power. He has stopped twenty one of his opponents while Porter has only stopped seventeen. Spence fought once in 2019, twice in 2018, and once in 2017. Porter has fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017.
Spence has never tasted defeat as a professional. He thoroughly outclassed Mikey Garcia in his pay per view headlining debut. He has also defeated the likes of Carlos Ocampo, Lamont Peterson, Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, Samuel Vargas, and Ronald Cruz.
Porter has two losses on his record, but they were close losses to Keith Thurman and Kell Brook. He has defeated the likes of Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia, Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Paul Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Phil Lo Greco, and Alfonso Gomez.
Spence had a decorated amateur career. He was a former US National Champ and a National Golden Gloves Champion as an amateur. He also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Porter also had a decorated amateur career, but not on the level of Spence. He was a US National Silver Medalist in the amateurs and a Golden Gloves Gold Medalist.
If Porter can keep the fight tight he can rough Spence up on the inside. However, Spence’s reach, height, and speed advantage will come into play and Spence will likely be able to keep Porter at bay.
Porter will have his moments, but this writer expects Spence to win rather convincingly on Saturday.
Anthony Dirrell Isn’t Impressed With David Benavidez
By: Hans Themistode
With all of the attention on IBF Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr and WBC belt holder Shawn Porter there is another fight on this card that is being overlooked. WBC Super Middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) and former champion David Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) will be going head to head on the co feature.
Benavidez might be considered a former champion, but he has never officially lost his title in the ring. Since his suspension due to cocaine use, he has had one comeback fight where he knocked out J’Leon Love in the second round. Before his lay off, Benavidez was running through the division. His opponent that will be standing across the ring from him on September 28th, at the Staples Center, current champion Anthony Dirrell is in a precarious situation.
The talent that he possesses is not in question. Even at the age of 34, Dirrell continues to be one of the better fighters in the division. The problem he could be facing in this contest is his passion. Dirrell has gone on the record several times stating that 2019 will be his last year in the sport of boxing. Now that this contest is less than two weeks away he has been mum on the retirement talk as he has placed all of his focus on Benavidez.
“Right now I’m focused on David Benavidez,” said Dirrell. “I’m not focused on retirement or who’s next. My only focus is David Benavidez.”
With Benavidez coming in with a 12 year youth advantage, Dirrell is wise to keep his focus on his opponent. For as good as the former champion has looked in his brief career, he has faced no one of note. Dirrell on the other hand has shared the ring with former champions such as Badou Jack and Caleb Truax.
“He’s young minded. Who has he fought? Everyone that he has fought he was supposed to knockout. He hasn’t seen anybody with the grit, grind and determination that I have. I just don’t think he is everything that everyone is saying. He’s a warrior don’t get me wrong but I have all the tools to beat him.”
The odds aren’t in the favor of Dirrell to say the least but that has no indication on how this contest will go.
“That’s just people’s opinion’s. It doesn’t bother me at all. At the end of the day I know what I’m capable of doing and I’ll show it on fight night.”
The main event of this September 28th, card is sure to give fans their money’s worth, but the co main event could headline any card on its own.
The early signs point to Benavidez getting his hands on the title that was once his but, Dirrell’s nickname is “The Dog” so it’s sure to be a rough and rugged fight all night.
PBC on FS1 Results: Dirrell and James Pick Up Victories
By: Hans Themistode
Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) is once again a world champion as he defeated Avni Yildirim (21-1, 12 KOs) in what turned out to be a great fight. Dirrell managed to snag the vacant WBC Super Middleweight world title in the process as well.
The contest started off with Dirrell boxing effectively and making the shorter and more aggressive Yildirim miss his wild shots. As the contest began to settle in Yildirim began to catch a rhythm as his aggression started to give his opponent trouble. Although the contest was highly entertaining there were several clash of heads which lead to a massive cut for Dirrell. The cut got progressively worse as Yildirim began to target the area. Not only did he manage to open the wound with a few shots upstairs but it was also another clash of heads that really did the most damage.
Dirrell was warned by the ringside doctor that the bout would be stopped if the cut continued to open up. Hearing the doctors warnings Dirrell came out in round 10 with an entirely different game plan. Instead of sitting in front of his man and fighting in a phone booth he began to stay on his toes and box on the outside. Although Yildirim did not land a significant punch to open the cut even more the ringside doctor was called in to check on the open wound. It was then declared that Dirrell could not continue because of the severity of the cut. It was determined that the cut was opened due to a clash of heads which lead both men to await the scorecards.
The judges had a difficult task in deciding whether they would award Dirrell for his masterful boxing throughout or would they sway towards the aggression of Yildirim. One judge score the contest 98-92 for Yildirim while the two remaining judges scored it 96-94 for Dirrell who regained his WBC Super Middleweight title. Although Dirrell has made it clear that 2019 will be his last year in the sport of boxing he expressed interest after the fight in taking on the biggest challenges including unifying with the other current champions in the division.
The co main event on this card was equally as thrilling as Jamal James (25-1, 12 KOs) sent his hometown Minnesota crowd into a frenzy tonight as he dropped and ultimately stopped Janer Gonzalez (19-2-1, 15 KOs) in the seventh round. For Gonzalez it was his first time back in the ring since a November 2017 loss to Radzhab Butaev.
James fought a cautious fight as things started off as both men started off tentatively. Things began to heat up as the contest continued. It was becoming increasingly clear that James was just too much for his man as each round he would land the bigger and cleaner shots.
As round six was coming to a close James landed a right upper cut that floored Gonzalez. He managed to get to his feet but failed to answer the bell for the beginning of the seventh round as he told his corner that he did not want to continue. It was an entertaining contest but in the end James ended the night with an emphatic statement as he was the first man to stop Gonzalez.
PBC on FS1 Preview: Dirrell vs. Yildirim
By: Hans Themistode
Both Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs) and Avni Yildirim (21-1, 12 KOs) will be looking to crown themselves champion this Saturday night when they meet for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight title at the Minneapolis Armory in Minnesota.
For Dirrell he will finally get his chance to claim the title he dropped in 2015 at the hands of Badou Jack by majority decision. Since that defeat Dirrell has gone on to win five straight contests with three of those wins coming via stoppage. Dirrell was originally in play to challenge then champion David Benavidez until a failed drug test saw him get striped of his title. Make no mistake about it Benavidez will have a close eye on the winner of this contest as he will be itching to get a shot at the title in the very near future.
For both Dirrell and Yildirim they represent the total opposite of one another in every way. Standing a six feet two inches, the former champion will have a decided three inch height advantage to go along with a four inch reach advantage as well. Dirrell has always been a very good boxer, establishing a great jab to break his opponents down before using his underrated power to put an end to the proceedings. Yildirim on the other hand is a bull. Always coming forward and willing to take a few shots in order to land a few of his own.
At age 34 and having fought just once in 2018 Dirrell has made it clear that this contest could be his last before he decides to hang them up for good. For Yildirim he will be looking to keep his five fight win streak alive. In 2018 alone he made four ring appearances and continued to look better and better each time out. This will be his second attempt at a world title since losing to Chris Eubank Jr in 2017 for his lightly regarded IBO title.
If this is truly the last fight for Dirrell then he will be looking to leave the sport of boxing on a high note while Yildirim will be looking to establish himself as a force in the division. A loss for Yildirim will undoubtedly place him at the bottom of the ladder. Expect both fighters to swing for the fences and give it everything they’ve got.
Although there won’t be any titles on the line in the co main event both Janer Gonzalez (19-1-1, 15 KOs) and Jamal James (24-1, 11 KOs) are hoping that they can place themselves in the championship hunt in the stacked Welterweight division with a win. Gonzalez has been out of the ring since a 2017 loss at the hands of Radzhab Butaev. Gonzalez won’t be given any favors in his return bout as James will be looking to extend his current four fight win streak since losing at the hands of Yordenis Ugas. That streak has included impressive victories including a third round stoppage win over former WBA interim Welterweight champion Diego Chaves. James is tall for the division and has a mean streak when he gets his opponents hurt. His climb up the rankings has been eye catching as well.
He may not be a house hold name but with a few more impressive victories he can change that. Both fights from Minneapolis are sure to produce a ton of fireworks as fans assuredly won’t want to miss the action live on FS1.
PBC on FOX Results: Lopez Dominates Cruz, Dirrell Puts on a Clinic
By Eric Lunger
Tonight on FOX, Premier Boxing Champions presented a triple-header from the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX. In a classic crossroads matchup, veteran Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez took on undefeated prospect Miguel Cruz of Puerto Rico in a ten-round welterweight clash. Coming off a productive training camp with Robert Garcia, Lopez (35-7, 19 KOs) was looking to jump start a career that had begun to slip sideways, while undefeated prospect Miguel Cruz (17-0, 11 KOs), fighting in his fourth ten-rounder, was looking to make a statement in the glamorous and deep 147-pound division.
The first round was a professional, exploratory round, with both fighters doing some reconnaissance by jab. Lopez began to push the action in the second, but Cruz countered accurately. Cruz fights with a classic high guard, and he used his jab effectively, but Lopez landed some good, short left hooks.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
In the third, Lopez continued to be the aggressor, and though he did not have much success getting through Cruz’s defense, it was the kind of aggressive round that can sway a judge. Lopez found a new gear in the fourth, landing better shots and starting to take control of the fight. As the middle rounds ticked by, Lopez found his rhythm, getting inside Cruz’s jab, while Lopez was unable to disrupt the Riverside fighter’s attack. Cruz also lost a point on a low blow, after two warnings.
The sixth round opened with another point deduction for a low blow, as Cruz was trying to answer back by going to the body. Lopez went on to dominate the round, while Cruz seemed unable to adjust his game plan at all. The Puerto Rican fighter began to raise his activity level in the seventh, but Lopez continued to apply pressure and to land effect shots from a variety of angles. The eighth and ninth rounds were more of the same, as Lopez continued to push, and Cruz could not mount an effective counter to Lopez’s continual pressure.
In the final frame, Cruz showed some desperation, but Lopez dug deep, and confidently continued to attack. Overall, it was an impressive performance by Lopez, who earned the unanimous decision: 99-89, 99-89, and 98-90.
In the co-feature, former middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (31-1-1, 24 KOs) looked to continue his climb back into contention in the 168-pound weight class. His opponent, El Paso native Abraham Han (26-3-1, 16 KOs) came into the bout riding a three-fight win streak, but Dirrell marked a significant step up in class.
In the first round, Dirrell used his jab to find the range, catching Han with a couple of solid rights. Han fought off his back foot, looking to counter, but he seemed to let Dirrell find the range too easily, at least in my view. Dirrell ended the round with a clubbing right hand on the side of Han’s head, dropping the hometown fighter at the bell.
Han looked sloppy to start the second, while Dirrell calmly and patiently probed for an opening. In the third, Dirrell continued to stand in the middle of the ring, controlling the fight with his jab. Han did little to initiate, with Dirrell at one point taunting his opponent to do something. Dirrell presented a study in efficiency: he lands clean shots and takes almost no risks. Han flurried at the end of the round, but it was all show.
In the fourth, after some trash-talking and taunting, the fighters tangled up and, as Han started to pull him to the canvass, Dirrell tackled Han. It certainly woke the crowd up, who booed Dirrell with great gusto. Dirrell continued to dominate the middle rounds, clinically taking Han apart.
In the eighth, both fighters were chattering, egging each other on. Han was tough, that’s clear, but the heavier and cleaner shots were landed, as they had been all night, by the man from Flint. The final two rounds were more of the same, as Dirrell used his considerable defensive skills to evade Han’s reckless offense while landing effective shots of his own. At the final bell, Dirrell did a back flip, a demonstration of fitness and lack of fatigue that the crowd failed to appreciate. The judges returned cards of 100-89, 99-83, 99-83, all for Dirrell.
The first televised bout of the evening featured undefeated Jorge Lara (29-0, 21 KOs) of Mexico against Claudio Marrero (22-2, 16 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. The bout was brief and brutal. Both fighters came out throwing huge punches, but it was Marrero who landed a short but explosive left directly on Lara’s chin that dropped the Mexican to the canvass. Dazed and glassy-eyed, Lara was unable to get his feet under him. Marrero takes the KO win at thirty-three seconds of the first round.
Lopez vs. Cruz Headlines a Full PBC Card Saturday Night
By: Eric Lunger
Saturday night on Fox, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) presents a triple-header from the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX. In a classic crossroads matchup, veteran Josesito Lopez takes on undefeated prospect Miguel Cruz in a ten-round welterweight clash, while Anthony Dirrell and Abraham Han are set for ten rounds at super middleweight. The televised card opens with featherweights Jorge Lara and Claudio Marrero.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Lopez (35-7, 19 KOs) has been in the ring with quality opposition, including a losing world title effort against Canelo Alvarez in 2012. In that same year, however, Lopez stopped Victor Ortiz in nine rounds, his most notable win. Since then, the Riverside, CA, native has posted mixed results, with losses to Marcos Maidana and Andre Berto, but he comes into Saturday night’s looking to continue his two-win streak. Lopez is an aggressive and fan-friendly fighter who is willing to take risks. Confident and relaxed, Josesito just finished a solid camp with renowned trainer Roberto Garcia: “this is the kind of fight I can really display my skills,” Lopez said at the pre-fight press conference, “I am prepared for anything Saturday night.”
For Miguel Cruz (17-0, 11 KOs), Saturday night is a huge opportunity. With only three ten-rounders under his belt, Cruz is relatively untested. His last two outings were unanimous decision wins, over Alex Martin last June and David Grayton in November. At five-foot-eleven, Cruz will have a two-inch height advantage over Lopez and a five-inch reach surplus. “I have to be smart and execute my game plan round after round,” Cruz said, “my jab will be key, and if I can use that and wear him down to the body, I think I’ll have a great chance to stop him.”
In the co-feature, former middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell (31-1-1, 24 KOs) looks to continue his climb back into contention after a gritty sixth-round stoppage of Denis Douglin in November of last year. Two years ago, Dirrell lost his belt by majority-decision to Badou Jack, and he later stopped future IBF champion Caleb Truax in round one of their 2016 bout, so Dirrell knows what he can do, and he knows he belongs in the mix at the top of the 168 weight class. “Everybody knows I am a championship caliber fighter, and I’ll prove it again on Saturday. After this fight I’m ready to take on any of the super middleweight champions,” Dirrell said.
Abraham Han (26-3-1, 16 KOs) is an El Paso native, and is excited to fight in front of his hometown fans. Han’s most notable win was over Marcos Reyes in November of 2014, a ten-round majority decision. Han comes into Saturday night’s bout riding a three-fight win streak, with two recent knockouts and one no-contest due to a head butt. “I hope the sport fans of El Paso come out and watch me put on a great performance,” said Han in the press conference this week. “I know the type of challenge I have in front of me, but I also know I have the skills to pull this off.”
The action will start with a televised undercard feature, pitting heavy-handed Mexican Jorge Lara (29-0, 21 KOs) against Claudio Marrero (22-2, 16 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. With a combined seventy-percent knockout rate, this bout is unlikely to go the full distance.
The action begins live on FOX and FOX streaming 8:30 ET/5:30 PT.
PBC on Fox Results: Dirrell Holds off Douglin
By: Eric Lunger
It was a home-coming for Anthony Dirrell tonight as the Flint, Michigan, native fought in front of his home crowd against veteran Denis Douglin, on a special Friday night edition of PBC’s Toe-to-Toe on Fox Sports. Dirrell (30-1, 24 KOs), a former WBC world champion at the 168-pound limit, was looking to get back on track for a title shot next year, while Douglin (20-5, 13 KOs), a 29-year old southpaw from Marlboro, NJ, was hoping to upset the home-town apple cart and grab that potential title shot.
Photo Credit: Silvia Jones/Premier Boxing Champions
From the opening bell, Dirrell was calm and poised — efficient in his movement, and looking for his spots. And indeed, Dirrell found one late in the first round, catching Douglin with a straight right, wobbling him, and almost finishing the fight before the bell. Douglin rallied in the second, scoring to the body and showing the former world champion little respect, holding and fighting a bit ugly. Despite more holding and rough tactics in the fourth, the end of the round saw a flurry of action as Dirrell scored with a variety of heavy punches.
In the sixth round, however, Dirrell suffered a cut in the corner of his left eye, hampering his vision. Ruled an accidental head butt by the referee, the fight was stopped and it went to the cards. Not surprisingly, the judges scored the five completed rounds unanimously for Anthony Dirrell (49-46, 48-47, 48-47).
In the co-main event, undefeated prospect Jamontay “the Quiet Assassin” Clark (12-0, 7 KOs) took on Domonique Dolton (19-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round super welterweight bout. Clark, a 23-year old from Cincinnati, Ohio, is tall and rangy at six-foot-two, and he possesses a long, stinging jab. Dolton tried to get inside Clark’s jab but with little success. Although a tactical and defensive bout, the high skill level of both fighters made it a compelling contest. Dalton was effective when he could get “in the phone booth,” and Clark was clearly better when he was fighting from range.
An accidental clash of heads in the fourth opened a cut over Clark’s right eyebrow, with Dolton seeking to exploit the injury. The following rounds were competitive and difficult to score, though Clark did the better work from behind his long jab. The Cincinnati fighter showed impressive composure despite the cut, boxing and keeping a very determined Dolton at bay. Clark edged out the majority decision (76-76, 78-74, 77-75).
Earlier in the evening, Houston-based Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (14-1, 9 KOs) took on Kareem Martin (9-1-1, 3 KOs) of Washington, DC, in an eight-round welterweight contest. Karl, who has fought on PBC several times before, is a come-forward action fighter, often to the detriment of his defense. Tonight was no exception.
In a fight characterized by much offense and little defense, both men stayed on the gas pedal for the first three rounds.
The pace slowed in the fourth, but the fireworks resumed in the fifth, with both fighters swinging away for the knockout. At times, Martin protected himself with a high guard, almost as though he was inviting Karl to punch himself out. But Karl’s conditioning, not to mention his chin, held up. The Texan took control of the fight in the later rounds, fighting behind a remarkably effective jab.
Despite a wild eighth round, in which Martin was wobbled, the fight went to the judges who scored the bout unanimously for Karl (78-74, 78-74, 77-75).
PBC on Fox Sports Preview: Dirrell vs. Douglin on a Friday Edition of Toe to Toe
By: Eric Lunger
Premier Boxing Champions presents a special edition of Toe-to-Toe Tuesdays this Friday on Fox Sports One. Headlining the card from the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan, is former 168-pound world champion Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 KOs), who takes on Denis Douglin (20-5, 13 KOs) in a ten round super middleweight clash. Dirrell, 33, is a Flint native, and Friday night will mark his third appearance in his hometown.
Photo Credit: Anthony Dirrell Twitter Page
Dirrell, six-foot-two with an orthodox stance, is a serious professional who held the WBC super-middleweight belt for two years until relinquishing it in a tough majority decision to Badou Jack in April of 2015. Since then, Dirrell has reeled off three wins, including a ten-round unanimous decision over tough Mexican veteran Marco Antonio Rubio.
Denis Douglin, a five-foot-eight southpaw from Marlboro, NJ, has been in the ring with some elite level competition, including George Groves, Jermell Charlo, and David Benavidez, to whom Douglin lost in his last outing by way of a tenth round TKO.
“Douglin has fought a lot of good fighters and I respect him, but he’s standing in the way of my title shot,” said Dirrell via press release. “This is a chance for me to showcase my skills. I’m going for a stoppage, and I think I’m going to get it in the middle rounds. I want to put on a great performance and give the fans something to see.”
For his part, Douglin is not intimidated by the venue or by his opponent: “I’ve taken a lot of fights on short notice and that’s hurt me in the past, but I’ve had ample time and a great training camp to prepare for this fight,” said Douglin. “I think Dirrell has a problem with guys who aren’t afraid of him and who will actually give him a fight. With my style and determination, I’m going to bring a lot more than he’s expecting.”
On the televised undercard, undefeated welterweight prospect Jamontay “the Quiet Assassin” Clark (12-0, 7 KOs) takes on Ukrainian born Ivan Golub (13-1, 11 KOs) in a rematch of their June bout, which Clark won on unanimous cards. The first tilt was an action fight, to be sure, with Golub bringing a sustained body attack, and Clark countering and boxing. Golub will be looking for payback, as he felt the decision by the judges in June was an incorrect one. Having scored seven knockouts prior to the Clark fight, the Ukrainian will be extra motivated to see to it that the fight doesn’t go the distance.
Opening the televised coverage is an eight-round junior welterweight clash between Houston-based Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (14-1, 9 KOs) and Kareem Martin (9-1-1, 3 KOs) of Washington, DC. Karl, 25, was stopped in the ninth round by Eddie Ramirez last February, but since then won an unanimous decision against Carlos Winston Velasquez. Martin, 22, is in a similar position, having lost once and coming off a recent win against Evincil Dixon in August.
Anthony Dirrell Speaks Out On Last Saturday Night
Anthony Dirrell Speaks Out On Last Saturday Night
By: Sean Crose
Boxing once again received some negative attention last Saturday night when chaos ensued after the Andre Dirrell-Jose Uzcategui super middleweight bout in Maryland. Dirrell was sent down and out by a punch that landed after the bell. Uzcategui was disqualified, but Dirrell’s uncle and trainer, Leon Lawson Jr, sucker punched Uzcategui twice in the fight’s aftermath. He’s now being sought by Maryland police. There was also an incident, however, involving Dirrell’s sibling, Anthony, for video shows the younger Dirrell brother pushing an individual in the post-fight madness. The man who was pushed is said to have been a Maryland commissioner. Needless to say, word was out that the police were quite interested in Anthony’s actions that night, as well as his uncles’.
Anthony Dirrell himself, however, claims the police weren’t interested in him at all last weekend. “They wasn’t even looking for me,” Dirrell said over the phone. “They never interviewed me or nothing.” Dirrell even claimed that the police were rather helpful after the madness that transpired at the MGM Grand National Arena. “They escorted me to my brother’s room,” he claimed. Dirrells’ assertions coincide with those of his representative, Kira Kusky, who I had spoken with earlier in the day. “He is not in any jeopardy,” she said when I asked about a police investigation. “No, not at all.”
And so Anthony Dirrell looks clear to meet Callum Smith next September in California for the WBC world super middleweight title. There was word that the championship battle would be put off due to legal matters stemming from last Saturday, but both Dirrell and his representative assured me that wouldn’t be the case. “His next fight is still on,” Kusky said, a fact Dirrell himself reiterated when we spoke a short time later. “I don’t see how (the fight could be off),” he claimed. “Nobodies’ looking for me.” It’s clear, then, that Dirrell and his team feel it is safe to focus on the talented and undefeated Smith without being impeded by legal matters.
As for older brother, Andre – who found himself on the mat after the bell last Saturday – Dirrell claims he’s doing well. “My bother’s fine,” he said. The saga of Leon Lawson Jr, uncle and trainer, has yet to be resolved (he’s still wanted by police, after all), yet it looks like both Dirrell brothers themselves are free to carry on with their respective careers. Before the call ended I asked Anthony if he’d like to, through his perspective, go over the events at the MGM Grand National Arena. “No,” he responded. “I’m not talking about that.”
Boxing’s Dark Saturday
Boxing’s Dark Saturday
By: Sean Crose
Look, boxing is a rough sport. Always has been. Always will be. Nothing gets much darker than when fighters become permanently damaged or even killed.
There’s other less than savory matters, however, that often abound in and around the sweet science. For years, the sport was heavily under mafia influence. What’s more, bad decisions on the part of judges still pop up on a regular basis. Worse yet, modern fans are forever being taken for saps (Mayweather-McGregor is – or will be – in a sense, only the most recent example). And then, of course, there’s the miscellaneous, off the wall stuff. Like the time an in-ring riot erupted immediately after a Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota heavyweight throwdown.
This past Saturday presented just such a scenario, when Jose Uzcategui was disqualified for hitting Andre Dirrell after the bell, an act which subsequently sent Dirrell to the mat. In response to said offense, Dirrell’s trainer and uncle, Leon Lawson Jr, absolutely cold cocked an unsuspecting Uzcategui twice. To make matters all the more insane, the entire incident was recorded for the entire world to see. Police are now looking for Lawson, who will be charged with some pretty serious stuff after such a violent assault. The trainer, who slipped out of the MGM Grand National Arena after the attack, is still essentially on the lam, as a Sunday phone call to the Saint George’s County Police Department presented no further developments.
Again, boxing is a rough sport. What’s more, physical violence, which is what boxing deals in, can lead to exceedingly high emotions. Still, one simply does not get to step up to an unsuspecting person and repeatedly punch that person in the face. It’s illegal and it’s also wrong.
Will Lawson be banned from boxing, as some are suggesting? Will he end up doing jail time? Maybe. Maybe not. This is boxing, after all, where nothing can be taken for granted, either in or out of the ring.
Yet the dark cloud that hung over the sport on Saturday didn’t begin and end with Lawson. Up in Madison Square Garden, Terence Crawford absolutely beat the hell out of an overmatched Felix Diaz later that same evening. Fair enough, you might say, Diaz knew what he was getting himself into. And while that’s true, this author still found Crawford’s behavior unsavory. Mocking an opponent is part of the psychological warfare of boxing.
Mocking an opponent while in the act of deforming that opponent’s face, however, is sadistic and unacceptable. Oh, it’s legally permissible. But it is – or should be – socially unacceptable, nonetheless.
Boxing’s been having a great year. Here’s hoping the terrible moments keep to a minimum.
Showtime’s Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious
Showtimes’ Wild Saturday Boxing Card: Davis and Russell Victorious
By: Sean Crose
Liam Walsh, 21-0, took a crack at the IBF junior lightweight title when he took on American champ Gervanta Davis, 17-0, in a sold out Copper Box arena in London.
Smith showed some nice range in the first, then refused to sit down in his corner. Davis, however, remained patient throughout the second, exuding terrific confidence in the process. It may have been a somewhat even round in the eyes of viewers and judges, but Davis acted as if he was completely in control. Perhaps he knew what would happen, for in the third he put his man down after several seconds of firing heavy shots. The Englishman got up, but that was polished off a few sharp punches later, when referee Michael Alexander wisely stopped the bout.
Showtime, which broadcast the bout, then went across the Atlantic to showcase a card live from the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. First up was Rances Barthelemy, the 25-0 junior welterweight from Vegas by way of Cuba. Barthelemy’s opponent was 21-1 Belarus native Kiryl Relikh. Barthelemy was well regarded walking into the fight, but Relikh had his man in trouble after dropping Barthelemy in round five. To add to the suspense, Barthelemy dropped Relikh three rounds later. It was an interesting, competitive bout and there was much unhappiness when Barthlemy ended up winning by UD via some very wide scores.
The controversy was followed up by super middleweight Andre Dirrell, 25-2 facing Jose Uzcategui, 26-1, for the chance to face multi-titlist James DeGale (for Dirrell, that fight would be a rematch). The first round wasn’t overly eventful, but Dirrell was jostled by Uzcategui in the second. Indeed, it looked like the man might go down. Dirrell, however, was able to survive the round. What’s more, he was able to work effectively at points, but Uzcategui remained aggressive.
Dirrell came back in the third by employing a very impressive jab and slick defense. By the fourth, Dirrell was in fine form, jabbing and keeping away from his foe proficiently. And Dirrell continued to keep Uzcategui from taking complete control throughout the middle of the fight. Then, at the end of the 8th, Dirrell was hammered after the bell. Referee Bill Clancy subsequently disqualified Uzcategui. Afterward, a rumble erupted and at least one member of Dirrell’s team took shots at Uzcategui.
Word came out that Maryland police were looking for Dirrell’s uncle while essentially keeping Uzcategui in protective custody. It was also reported that Dirrell’s brother may have become violent with a commission member. An ugly scene all around.
It was time for the main event. Featherweight Gary Russell, 27-1, looked to hop back into the public consciousness by looking impressive against 25-2 Oscar Escandon. It was Russell’s second defense of his WBC world title and he had the comfort of fighting within his home state of Maryland. Columbia’s Escandon, however, was planning to make the most of this opportunity. Russell, one of the sports’ more impressive slicksters, may have told the tale in the first round, but Escandon was able to get in his shots.
Both men traded shots effectively in the second, making it a fast paced, close quarters round. Russell, however, was able to drop his man in the third. Escandon got to his feet, but Russell was finding his mark and landing with noticeable power. By the end of the round, Russell was landing hard and often enough to make one wonder if the man would run out of gas should Escandon refuse to be stopped. Russell never had to worry about it. For he stopped Escandon in round seven after what was an exciting, high octane bout. Escandon was a true warrior, but referee Harvey Dock had seen enough of Russell’s power shots landing clean.
To his credit, Russell apologized for the wild antics of the evening – even though they had nothing to him. Boxing could use more of that kind of class.
PBC on Spike TV Results: Guzman and Anthony Dirrell Win by Stoppage, Andre Dirrell Cruises to a Decision
PBC on Spike Results: Guzman and Anthony Dirrell Win by Stoppage, Andre Dirrell Cruises to a Decision
By: William Holmes
Atlantic City hasn’t held a major fight since Sergey Kovalev took on Bernard Hopkins back in November of 2014, but Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions put on a competitive card with some strong contenders and solid prospects to be broadcast on Spike TV.
The opening bout of the broadcast was between Jonathan Guzman (20-0) and Daniel Rosas (20-2) in the super bantamweight division. Guzman had stopped every opponent he had faced going into tonight’s bout.
The opening round featured Rosas pressing forward and attacking the body. He was able to get his punches off first in the opening half of the first round, but Guzman started to get more accurate in the second half of the round.
Guzman appeared to be more settled down in the second round and was sharp with his counters and landed several good, clean, uppercuts. A left hook by Guzman at the end of the second round momentarily stunned Rosas.
Guzman had Rosas stunned twice in the third round with hard left hooks. He wasn’t able to knock Rosas down though, as he was swinging wildly and recklessly.
Rosas kept up the pressure in the fourth round and was effective with his work to the body and landed multiple strong lead left hooks.
Rosas kept on pressing the pace in the fifth round and Guzman looked like he was beginning to tire. Rosas was winning the round until the last thirty seconds, when a vicious left hook by Guzman sent Rosas stumbling backwards to the ropes, and he followed that up with a vicious left look that sent Rosas to the mat as the round came to an end.
Rosas was able to recover by the start of the sixth round, but Guzman battered him throughout the round and was able to take the best shots of Rosas well.
Guzman continued to batter Rosas in the seventh and eighth rounds and Rosas was able to offer little offense in return. Rosas scored another knockdown as the eighth round came to a close, and Rosas looked defeated as he walked back to his corner.
The referee checked in on Rosas before the start of the ninth round and waived off the bout.
Jonathan Guzman wins by TKO at 3:00 of the eighth round.
The next bout of the night was between Anthony Dirrell (28-1-1) and Caleb Truax (26-2-2) in the super middleweight division.
Truax, a native of Minnesota, walked into the ring with Prince playing in the background. Dirrell, despite being a native of Michigan, had a good number of fans in attendance.
Dirrell was sharp with his jab in the opening minute of the first round and focused his attacks to the body and head of Truax. Dirrell later landed a sharp straight right hand that buckled the knees of Truax, and then followed it up with a combination that sent Truax to the mat. Truax was able to beat the count, but took another hard combination that ended with a left hook that sent Truax to the mat for a second time.
The referee was quick to stop the bout after the second time. Anthony Dirrell wins by knockout at 1:49 of the first round.
The main event of the night was between Andre Dirrell (24-2) and Blake Caparello (22-1-1) in the super middleweight division.
Both Caparello and Dirrell came out in a southpaw stance for the opening round. Dirrell was sharp with his counter left hook early on and Caparello was short with his punches. Both boxers spent most of the opening round trying to feel each other out.
Caparello got backed into the corner at the start of the second round and covered up while Dirrell unloaded with a quick combination. Dirrell got a little reckless in the second round and allowed Caparello to score a flash knockdown near the end of the round with an overhand left.
Dirrell came out aggressive in the third round and pressed Caparello back towards the ropes while landing accurate shots. Caparello spent much of the round fighting with his back against the ropes and was able to land a few shots of his own, but Dirrell was landing the harder and cleaner punches.
The action slowed a bit in the fourth round, and Caparello held onto Dirrell whenever he pressed forward instead of fighting with his back against the ropes. Dirrell completed dominated Caparello in the fifth round and landed his power shots at a high percentage.
Caparello’s frustration was visible in the sixth and seventh rounds as he wasn’t able to threaten Dirrell, while Dirrell peppered Caparello with his jab and short body shots.
Caparello was able to surprise Dirrell with a clean straight left hand in the eighth round, but Dirrell went back to a steady rain of jabs to keep Caparello on his back foot and on the defensive.
Dirrell looked like he was closing to scoring a knockdown in the ninth round when he had Caparello backed into a corner and taking some heavy damage from blistering combinations, but that knockdown never came.
Caparello clearly needed a knockout in the final round to win the bout, but that knockout never came.
Andre Dirrell bounced back from a second round knockdown to win by decision with scores of 98-91 on all three scorecards.
Undercard Quick Results:
Anthony Young (12-2) defeated Juan Rodriguez (6-5-1) by decision with scores of 59-55, 59-54, and 58-55 in the welterweight division.
Chordale Booker (2-0) defeated Tolutomi Agunbiade (3-7) by KO at 2:26 of the first round in the super welterweight division.
Luther Smith (5-0) defeated Solomon Maye (1-6-1) by split decision with scores of 39-37, 39-37 for Luther Smith, and 40-37 for Solomon Maye in the heavyweight division.
Abraham Nova (1-0) defeated Weusi Johnson (1-1) by TKO at 2:56 of the first round in the super lightweight division.
Chris Thomas (2-0) defeated Jessie Singletary (0-2) by KO at 2:26 of the first round in the middleweight division.
Eddie Ramirez (13-0) defeated Osumanu Akaba (32-10-1) by TKO at 2:33 of the second round in the super lightweight division.
Titus Williams (5-0) defeated DeWayne Wisdom (6-29-1) in the super featherweight division by decision with scores of 60-52, 59-53, and 59-53.
More Atlantic City Boxing
PBC on Spike Preview: Dirrell Brothers Take on Truax and Caparello in Atlantic City
PBC on Spike Preview: Dirrell Brothers Take on Truax and Caparello in Atlantic City
By: William Holmes
On Friday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions will broadcast a live boxing card from the Taj Mahal Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey live on Spike TV.
The Dirrell brothers, along with the Charlo brothers, are perhaps the most recognizable pair of American brothers in the sport of boxing today. However, neither of them holds a title and both came up empty handed in their last title bout.
They will both face decent opponents on Friday that should not be considered an easy fight. The following is a preview of both of the televised bouts on Spike TV.
Anthony Dirrell (28-1-1) vs. Caleb Truax (26-2-2); Super Middleweights
Anthony Dirrell is the younger of the Dirrell brothers and will be thirty one years old at the time of the fight. Many consider Anthony to be the more powerful puncher of the two, as he has twenty two knockouts on his resume. His opponent, Caleb Truax, is one year older than Dirrell and only has sixteen knockouts on his record.
Dirrell will have about a two and half height advantage over Truax, but they have the same reach. Dirrell also holds a significant edge in amateur success. Dirrell is a former national champion as an amateur and had over 190 amateur bouts. Truax had experienced some success as an amateur, but only got into boxing after entering a local tough man tournament.
Anthony Dirrell’s heart should never be called into question, as he had battled non-hodgkins lymphoma and went through chemotherapy before returning to the ring.
Dirrell has not been very active in the past two years, as he had fought once in 2014 and twice in 2015. He has gone 2-1-1 in his last four bouts. He has beaten the likes of Sakio Bika, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Anthony Hanshaw. He lost his world title to Badou Jack, in a close bout, and had a split draw to the always tough Sakio Bika.
Truax has gone 3-1 in his past four fights. He fought once in 2016, once in 2015, and twice in 2014. His biggest wins to date have come against Melvin Betancourt, Scott Sigmon, Derek Ennis, and Donovan George. He has lost to Jermain Taylor and Daniel Jacobs. His loss to Jacobs was by TKO.
Truax really don’t have the power to threaten Dirrell and his last loss was a knockout loss. Dirrell has the power to test Truax’s chin and it will be tested on Friday night. It will be a tough fight, but it should be a bout that Dirrell wins.
Andre Dirrell (24-2) vs. Blake Caparello (21-1-1); Super Middleweights
Andre Dirrell was originally scheduled to face Blake Caparello in October of 2015, but had to withdraw due to medical reasons.
Dirrell is the older of the two brothers, and is considered by many to be the better boxer of the two, but he doesn’t have the same number of knockouts as Anthony. Andre Dirrell has sixteen stoppage victories to his resume. That number still dwarfs the paltry six knockouts that Blake Caparello has on his record.
Dirrell will be giving up a slight ½ an inch height advantage to Caparello, and will have about a one inch reach advantage. Dirrell is a southpaw, but Caparello has been sparring with southpaw Derrick Webster in preparation for Friday’s bout.
Caparello is actually three years younger than his opponent and has experience fighting as a light heavyweight. He should be the naturally bigger man inside the ring.
Andre Dirrell clearly has the edge in amateur experience. He won the bronze medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics, while Caparello has no notable international amateur accomplishments.
Dirrell’s two losses were to James DeGale for the IBF Super Middleweight Title and to Carl Froch by split decision. His wins have come against Derek Edwards, Nick Brinson, Arthur Abraham (by DQ), Derrick Findley, Anthony Hanshaw, and Curtis Stevens.
Caparello has only fought outside of the United States once, and when he did he lost by TKO to Sergey Kovalev. All of his other fights occurred in Australia, and his only notable victories have come against Evlir Muriqi and Alan Green.
Andre Dirrell appears to have the easier fight of the two brothers and he should be able to dispatch Caparello quite easily.