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Dirrell-Cunningham & Taylor-Nicklow light up SHOWTIME on Friday

Andre Dirrell Jermain Taylor Dirrell vs. Cunningham Taylor vs. NicklowBy Scott Gilfoid: SHOWTIME has saved the best for the last of the year with this Friday’s excellent fight card with Andre Dirrell (19-1, 13 KO’s) vs. Darryl Cunningham (24-2, 10 KO’s) and Jermain Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KO’s) vs. Jessie Nicklow (22-2-3, 8 KO’s). Both Taylor and Dirrell are coming off of head injuries suffered in fights against Arthur Abraham.

Dirrell hasn’t fought since last year in March, although he has been busy sparring for quite some time now but without taking any fights. Taylor hasn’t fought since October 17th, 2009 in his first fight in the Super Six tournament. Taylor was stopped in the 12th round in a fairly competitive fight in Germany. Taylor was trailing on all three cards, but I had him ahead by a couple of rounds on my card, but he did look to be tiring out.

The two years that Taylor has been off from boxing has really helped him get his weight problems under control and given him more enthusiasm for the sport. Taylor’s biggest problem wasn’t that he couldn’t take a punch, but rather he was gassing out late in his fights due to his poor conditioning. The guy would come into training camp at too high of a weight and needed to burn off too much fat in too short of a time. If you’ve ever lost a lot of weight in a short period of time like Taylor had been doing in the last couple of years, you’d know that you’re lot weaker than you were previously. You’ll also know that you’re stamina isn’t as good when you take off weight quickly. Taylor didn’t come into this training camp heavy and has been able to focus more on learning things rather than just using the camp as a fat farm.

Taylor is going to shine this Friday night against Nicklow and show the skills that he had earlier in his career before he started experiencing weight problems. Taylor’s hand speed and power are going to be on display on Friday and it’s going to be fun to see him work. I’d like to see Taylor get a quick knockout and then call out one of the top middleweights in the division. He doesn’t necessarily need to face one of the champions, but at least a top contender like Martin Murray, Matthew Macklin, Andy Lee or Darren Barker. I can see Taylor slicing through those guys without any problem to get a title shot against one of the middleweight champions by the end of the year.

Dirrell, 28, has got the world at his feet in 2012. He needs to look sharp against Cunningham, show his blazing speed and power, and he should get this guy out of there. Dirrell is going to be in high demand in 2012. While Carl Froch and Lucian Bute are decimating each other, Dirrell is going to move up and be posed to knock off the winner or the WBO champion Robert Stieglitz or Mikkel Kessler. Dirrell perhaps has the best set of skills in the entire super middleweight division bar none. Ward is an amazing fighter, but Dirrell does the same things that Ward does but looks better.

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