By Kenneth Friedman: Anthony Dirrell says he believes Sergey Kovalev “took a dive” in his fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez on November 2 last year in losing by an 11th round knockout. Dirrell says former WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) wasn’t knocked out by the harder hitting Anthony Yarde in their fight last year in August. He thinks that they want Canelo to be viewed as better than Floyd Mayweather.
Unfortunately a lot of boxing fans also have the opinion that Kovalev, 36, took a dive in his fight with Canelo. The reason for the belief from fans that Kovalev threw the fight was the way he fought without energy, and his normally powerful shots having little zip on them.
Why did Kovalev look more powerful against Yarde than in Canelo fight?
In Kovalev’s fight against Yarde just three months earlier in August 2019, he throwing with seemingly a lot more power than he did in the Canelo fight, and was on the attack.
Against Canelo, Kovalev looked passive, weak and disengaged. In the 8th, Kovalev suddenly started fighting with energy, and he had Canelo looking in bad shape. It was a light switch being turned on in the way that Kovalev suddenly started fighting hard. However, after the 8th ended, Kovalev once again looked weak.
Kovalev took a dive against Canelo says Dirrell
“Anybody. Why?” said Dirrell to Fighthype when asked if he would have to move up to 175, and beat a name fighter before getting a world title shot. “Canelo didn’t. I don’t care. That’s a contradiction. It ain’t? He [Canelo] didn’t have to move up to fight anybody [first], and then he fought Kovalev, and Kovalev took a dive.
“He took a f— dive, man,” said Dirrell about Kovalev. “Everybody and their momma can see that. He took a dive. Because Kovalev didn’t get knocked out by Anthony Yarde. He was done. Anthony Yarde hit way harder than Canelo. Come on, man. Let’s keep it real. It’s boxing. I know everybody likes the guy [Canelo].
“I know everybody likes Canelo,” said Dirrell. “He’s the face of boxing, but let’s keep it real. They want him better than Floyd, and that would never happen, ever,” said Dirrell.
The only thing people like Dirrell and suspicious boxing fans can do is speculate on why Kovalev looked so weak, lethargic and disinterested in the Canelo fight. Some fans feel that Kovalev intentionally took it easy on Canelo out of gratitude for him having given the big payday.
Canelo didn’t have to select Kovalev to fight for a world title at 175. He could have picked IBF/WBC champ Artur Beterbiev or WBA champion Dmitry Bivol, and he’d have likely received a lot more credit from fans. Canelo likely would have lost to both of them, but he would have received more credit.
Canelo vacated the WBO 175-lb title recently that he won off of Kovalev without defending it. There were a lot of fans who wanted Canelo to fight Beterbiev or Bivol in a unification, but he chose not to.
Dirrell wants anybody at 168
“Whoever they put me in there with. Anybody at 68, let’s rock,’ said Dirrell. “I already beat Truax in one round. Caleb Truax is still a great fighter, but I think I showed everybody what I can do. I’ll fight Caleb Plant. He got a fight.
“I really want Badou Jack too, and I want to defend my losses, but he moved up,” said Dirrell. “And I still want to go up, and defend my losses, especially for a belt. If I can get David, that’s right where I need to be. I would fight him,” said Dirrell when asked if he’d like to fight WBA ‘regular’ light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal.
“If that money right,” Dirrell continued on a fight with Pascal. “It’s not [a struggle to make weight]. If they give me that shot, I will, because I would be a two-division world champion. I will, honestly. If they give me that [title shot at 175], hell, yeah, I’d take it,” said Dirrel about a title shot at 175.
Former WBC super middleweight champion Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) says he would like to fight a rematch against David Benavidez to try and avenge his loss to him. Benvidez stopped Dirrell in the 9th round last September. Dirrell was badly cut over his right eye in the 6th, and the fight was stopped 3 rounds later in the 9th.
It might be better for Dirrell, 35, to move up to light heavyweight to take on WBA ‘regular’ champion Jean Pascal for his title if he can get the fight. That would be an interesting fight as long as Dirrell doesn’t continue to have cut issues.
A fight between Dirrell and Caleb Plant would be an interesting bout, as well as a rematch with Badou Jack.
Dirrell views Canelo at #2 pound-for-pound list
“I think Terence Crawford is #1, I think Canelo is #2, and Lomachenko is 3,” Dirrell said in giving his top three pound-for-pound list. “Because Crawford beat a lot of people, man. Who did Lomachenko beat? He only got 11 fights. How?” said Dirrell when asked if he thinks Lomachenko has a better resume than Crawford. “Rigondeaux? Are you kidding me?
“Cuts happen. You don’t know when they’re going to happen,” said Dirrell in the cuts he suffered in 2019 against David Benavidez and Avni Yildirim. “They just happen,” said Dirrell about the cuts he suffered in 2019. I never been cut in a fight until then. The guy [Avni Yildirim] head-butted me 3 or 4 times with the same eye.
“I can’t prevent that. I’m not worried about it. This is boxing, and it’s a combat sport. That’s like the UFC worrying about them getting cauliflower in their ears. F—, they going to get it, and you are going to get a cut every now and then. But if it’s in the same spot, then you start to worry about getting cut once here, and cut once there. I’m not. I didn’t even get cut on this side [left side], so I’m fine,” said Dirrell.
The way that Dirrell keeps getting cut in his fights, it makes it difficult to get excited about seeing him fight.
That’s a good pound-for-pound list that Dirrell has. Crawford has done a lot for him to be worthy of a #1 ranking in the Ring Magazine pound-for-pound list. What he needs is a big name to get him to #1.
Dirrell wants one more world title shot
“A week after that fight, I could have fought again,” said Dirrell about his cut that he suffered against Benavidez. “I wasn’t even worried about that cut. And I could have fought again, and I just know my body. I was still ready to fight. I’d retire right there on the spot,” said Dirrell if asked about what he’d do if he beat WBC champion David Benavidez.
“I want a shot one more time to show the world I’m still here. Win or lose, I want a shot. It is but it’s not, but I still get my shot. If it wasn’t for this cut, I would be done. I would be out. You’ve got to understand that. If I say I want to end on a loss, I understand that. I’ve been doing this since I was nine-years-old.
“It’s an addiction. If you do something for this amount of time, you’re addicted to it,” said Dirrell. “I love kicking a– and taking names. And I love getting in front of a crowd, and putting on a show. I love my fans, and I love that my grandfather got me in it.
“I think it’s one of these sports that you’ve got to be really disciplined,” said Dirrell. “You’re out for yourself, and you’re out on your own. You don’t have any teammates, and it’s just a beautiful sport. To me it is.”
It’s possible that Dirrell’s management can set him up with a rematch with Benavidez. However, it would be better if Dirrell worked his way to a title shot rather than having it given to him.