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Froch vs. Dirrell: Styles make fights and opposites attract

Andre Dirrell Carl FrochPhoto by:Tom Casino/SHOWTIME – By Brinsley Bailey: When I first heard about the Super Six Tournament and the fighters participating, I, like many other boxing fans was excited thinking about the major talking points that emerged. “Will Kessler dominate? Can Abraham bring his power up to Super Middleweight? Will Froch establish himself against the best? Will Ward fulfill his potential?”

Every day for a week I had these and many more questions stuck in my mind trying to produce answers. No doubt I was not alone in analysing the prospective fights and imagining potential scenarios that could surface during the course of this tournament. “Froch vs. Taylor II, Kessler vs. Ward, An all American final? An all European final?” To use an old cliché, the possibilities were endless…

A few months later and Carl Froch is about to defend his WBC title when he takes on Olympic Bronze Medallist Andre Dirrell. To be frank, I thought of this as one of the lesser fights in the competition. My initial reaction was, “Who is Andre Dirrell?” I mean no disrespect, but as a British boxing fan I knew something about every fighter in the tournament; however Dirrell was an unknown quantity and all I knew was that he was a former Olympian. I did my research (analysed videos and read fight reviews) and started to generate an understanding of Dirrell; I realized that his style could make this fight into something special. Although his fight history has no outstanding or really recognisable names, he has a record of (18-0, 13 KO’s) which in itself is a promising start. Watching his previous fights showed that he has fantastic speed and very interesting footwork (Switch-Hitter). However, it also showed me that he can be somewhat over confident by throwing ridiculous combinations and prone to lapses in concentration (most notably in his knockdown against Alfonso Rocha). Nonetheless, Dirrell appears to be a talent; his critics will suggest that his record has a number of ‘soft’ opponents and he has been well safeguarded by his management but I ask “what boxer in the modern generation isn’t over protected?”

After a superb stoppage of Jermaine Taylor, boxing fans on both sides of the Atlantic now know Carl Froch. He has a throwback style that you can compare to many warriors of the past and a chin made of granite. His 80% knockout record speaks volumes about his power and his self-belief accentuates a determination to succeed at the highest level. However, for his many positive attributes he has some fundamental flaws; Froch says his defence is sound but we never see it because he drops his left hand too low! He knows his punch resistance is superb but wants to test this at every opportunity by leaving his chin exposed. His hand speed is not a major problem, however, his foot speed and head movement are, meaning he finds it difficult to avoid punches at the highest level of competition. Though these weaknesses may cause him real problems in the future, they are all elements that attract fans to watch his fights, very similar to the late Arturo Gatti.

On Saturday October 17th I believe we will see a fantastic fight between Froch and Dirrell because styles make fights and opposites attract. We have an extremely talented boxer in Dirrell versus a powerhouse warrior in Froch. Some may see the fight being dictated by Froch imposing his physicality and smothering Dirrell into submission with a persistent assault. Others may see Dirrell circling Froch, picking him off at will with dazzling combinations and winning a points decision. From what I have seen of both fighters I believe that they will obviously both try and impose their will, meaning a tug of war for dominance in the opening rounds. I would not take Dirrell’s power too lightly and we could possibly see an early stoppage if Froch is too over eager to please the fans. As we saw with Margarito vs. Mosley, even the man with the iron jaw may succumb to the power of the blacksmith’s hand! In spite of this possibility, I believe as the fight progresses into the later rounds Dirrell will likely become disillusioned that his power is not affecting his opponent and will imitate Froch’s style, trying to make it into a street-fight. The home crowd atmosphere and Froch’s experience may also be crucial factors leading to Dirrell’s downfall and eventual stoppage. My prediction is a ninth round stoppage of a brave Dirrell. Whatever the result I believe this will be a fantastic start to the Super Six Tournament!

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