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Andre Dirrell: Where does he go from here?

Andre DirrellBy Scott Gilfoid: After fighting well enough to deserve the victory last Saturday night against James DeGale (21-1, 14 KOs), super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs) finds himself with another controversial decision loss on his record, and it’s unclear where he goes from here.

At 31, Dirrell can’t afford to rebuild for three to four years like some fighters do after they suffer losses. Dirrell must get back in the ring and continue fighting. The question is should he continue along the same path in trying to win the IBF strap, or should he go in another direction to look for fights against either the WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham or WBC champion Badou Jack.

Either of those options are excellent ones for Dirrell because he matches up well with those fighters, and he’d likely do well against them. Fighting DeGale again will likely mean that Dirrell will need to travel to the UK to fight in DeGale’s home country.

There’s little chance that DeGale will face Dirrell in the United States unless Dirrell would win a purse bid to get the fight staged there, but it’s going to take a while before Dirrell can earn his way into a mandatory spot. I don’t see the International Boxing Federation throwing a bone to Dirrell by allowing him to immediately fight in an eliminator bout like we saw with George Groves after he’d been knocked out twice in a row by former IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch.

Somehow, I don’t see the IBF doing that with Dirrell like the WBC did with Groves. As such, we’re probably looking at two years before Dirrell could work himself to a mandatory spot for a title shot against DeGale, or whoever the IBF champion will be by that time. Dirrell can speed up the process by facing the very best super middleweights in the division, but I still think it will take least a year and a half. I don’t think it’s going to be quick.

“They say I ran from Froch and they took it away from me,” Dirrell said after his fight last Saturday. “(DeGale) ran from me and they gave it to him.”
It’s true that DeGale ran a lot, and was still given rounds 1, 5, 6, 11 and 12. I had Dirrell winning all of those rounds except for the 11th.

Given the amount of time it’s going to take for Dirrell to work his way back into another title shot at 168, he might want to consider moving up to light heavyweight and trying that division. I mean, no one at super middleweight is going to give Dirrell a chance unless he’s the mandatory challenger for their titles. He’s too talented and too dangerous. He’s not going to be given another shot unless the champion absolutely has to fight him. For that reason, I think Dirrell needs to move up in weight and try and challenge the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson or Juergen Braehmer for their titles. Those guys are starving for challengers, and Dirrell could get a shot against one of them very quickly. Stevenson would be perfect because he’s managed by Al Haymon, who also works with Dirrell. If you noticed Dirrell’s size last Saturday, he looked a lot bigger than DeGale, and it appears that Dirrell has grown out of the super middleweight division. He had to really dehydrate to make the 168lb limit, and I think it’s possible that he’s no longer made for the division. Even back in the Super Six tournament in 2010, Dirrell was big for the division. But now I think his body has grown into the light heavyweight division, and I think he’d be a lot stronger at 175 than he is at 168.

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