Dirrell Stops Hanshaw

By Boxing News - 05/03/2008 - Comments

dirrell5464.jpgBy Chris Stein: Former 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist for United States Andre Dirrell (15-0, 10 KOs) overcame a shaky start in the first round, in which he was pummeled by Anthony Hanshaw (21-2-1, 14 KOs), to come back later and stop Hanshaw in the 5th round. Along the way, Dirrell, 25, knocked Hanshaw down in the 4th round, although it appeared to be more of a push than a legitimate knockdown. It didn’t matter, because Hanshaw, 30, absorbed a great deal of punishment in the 4th and 5th rounds, before the fight was stopped after Dirrell hurt him and knocked him into the ropes where referee Pat Russell did the right thing and stepped in to stop the bout.

In the 1st round, it looked as if it were going to be an early night for Hanshaw as he trapped Dirrell against the ropes in the first 10 seconds of the round, hitting him with a hard combination that landed flush, causing Dirrell to ricochet off the ropes and touch the canvas with both gloves. The referee, partially blocked from seeing the action, missed the knockdown and let the fight resume without scoring it as a knockdown for Hanshaw. For the remainder of the round, Hanshaw spent the time overpowering the weaker Dirrell with big shots to the head with both lefts and rights and connecting often. Dirrell wasn’t helping himself any by standing with his back against the ropes and trying to counter punch.

He was only partially successful with this strategy, because Hanshaw kept a continuous rain of punches coming in at him. Dirrell, however, showed blinding speed even while taking a beating, throwing flurries that would mostly miss, yet still impress the crowd because of the blur of his punches. His speed perhaps rivaled even a prime Roy Jones Jr., as it was incredible to see him throw. I figured that if he eventually could start landing some of these wild shots, he’d have a good chance of stopping Hanshaw.

At the start of the second round, Hanshaw landed a perfect left hand that caused Dirrell to go skidding backwards on the canvas from the impact. Once again, the referee failed to score it as a knockdown. From that point on, it seemed to waken something in Dirrell, for he began fighting for his life, throwing blistering fast left hands to the head of Hanshaw and catching him frequently before he even saw the punch coming at him. Dirrell’s offense of attack had the effect of almost entirely shutting down Hanshaw’s own offense, making him very cautious as he would come forward. No longer was he rushing in and throwing wide combinations as he did in the first round, for fear that he would walk into one of Dirrell’s lighting fast left hands.

In the third round, Dirrell kept Hanshaw under a constant siege, hitting him with sustained combination, whiplashing his head from side to side from the impact of his enormous blows. While attacking Hanshaw, Dirrell began to rough him up by pushing him around and hitting him with forearms as he worked him into position for more shots, mostly left hands. Then with forty-five seconds to go in the round, Dirrell did something odd; Instead of continuing his one-sided attack, he went to the ropes and began covering up and letting Hanshaw open up with his own attack for the next 45 seconds of the round. It was a brave thing to do, showing how confident Dirrell was of his skills, though it wasn’t the smartest thing to do because he could have been hurt by one of Hanshaw’s big swings. Hanshaw was making no mistake about what he was trying to do, as he put everything he had into every shot. Unfortunately for him, his power, mostly average, had little effect on Dirrell.

In the fourth round, Dirrell showed some of his amazing skills, hitting Hanshaw with triple jabs and blazing fast left hands. Most of the time, Dirrell was content to throw single shots, forgoing the use of his right hand a lot of the time as he focused mostly on using his left. It didn’t matter that he was throwing only single shots, however, because his hand speed was so good that even though you knew what he was going to throw, it was still hard to track it due to his hand speed. Late in the round, Dirrell hurt Hanshaw with a big left hand while having him pinned to the ropes.

This led to a flurry from Dirrell, ending when he pushed Hanshaw to the canvas. The referee, perhaps not seeing the action once again, called it a knockdown even though it was clearly a push down from Dirrell. Regardless, Dirrell landed some amazing shots before the knockdown, so I had no problem with the referee calling it a knockdown. The round ended immediately after that, which probably saved Hanshaw from being stopped in this round because he was clearly hurt from all the left hands he’d been hit with.

Dirrell began to use movement in the 5th round, briefly going from side to side. The movement didn’t confuse Hanshaw at all, as he immediately opened up with a series of big left hooks to the midsection of Dirrell. Just when it looked as if the fight were changing directions, Dirrell nailed Hanshaw with two big left hooks that hurt him badly. Instead of going for the kill, Dirrell laid back on the ropes, looking at his corner and smiling, as if he were having fun with Hanshaw. This in effect let Hanshaw survive several moments longer than he rightfully should have under the circumstance.

After getting him with another body shot from Hanshaw, Dirrell once again directed his attention on him, and hit him with two rapid fire left hooks to the head, hurting him badly. Dirrell then moved in and hit Hanshaw with six consecutive straight left hands, driving him in between the ropes, where referee Pat Russell moved in and halted the fight at 1:13 of the 5th round.

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