Dirrell schools Abraham but wins by DQ!
By Bob Ryder, photos by John Booz
An excellent, solid fight at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena was brought to an unfortunate abrupt ending as Germany's Arthur Abraham was disqualified at 1:13 of the 11th round for punching Andre Dirrell, Flint, Michigan, after Dirrell had slipped on water in his opponent’s corner.
It was an unsatisfactory conclusion to what was shaping up as a compelling final two rounds. Despite being way behind on the scorecards, it appeared that Abraham was poised for one of his patented late finishes as he was finally starting to have some success in cornering Dirrell. Dirrell however, did not appear to be overly tired and was still boxing well right up to the time he slipped and went down with Abraham landing a right hand that rendered Andre senseless.
The ruling gave Dirrell the victory and two points in the standings of the SHOWTIME Super Six Tournament.
Perhaps if they meet again in the final stages of the tournament we will get an indication of how this one should have ended although there is no doubt in how it began.
Abraham, known for his slow starts, came out in the opening stanza with his hands held high and tight against his head as he moved forward. Dirrell started fast, demonstrating his superior speed as he established the pattern that would carry most of the early rounds for him.
Working a solid jab to both the body and head, Dirrell maintained distance between Abraham and himself as he began to pile up the points, winning the first two rounds on all the cards.
Abraham had his first good moments in the third, landing a solid left hand early while picking up the pace of his offense. Near the end of the session, Abraham gave his fans something to cheer for as he cut loose with both hands against Dirrell, getting through with a nice right hand near the end of the flurry. Right before the bell though, Dirrell served notice that all his pre-fight talk about having learned his lesson from the Froch fight was indeed true. Instead of holding or retreating as he had done to his detriment in that bout, Dirrell stood and punched back. Dirrell’s stance to fight back instead of moving away was an early indication that this was going to be a difficult night for Abraham.
In the fourth, Dirrell significantly increased his punch rate. He beat Abraham to the punch with a beautiful straight left that sent Abraham down for a knockdown. The fourth was a big round for Dirrell that reestablished the momentum in his favor.
Dirrell would maintain his advantage winning the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds on all the judges’ scorecards. Utilizing superb boxing, Dirrell had Abraham missing wildly with big left hooks that soared harmlessly through the air bouncing against the top ropes on several occasions in the sixth. Dirrell slipped to the mat in Abraham's corner in the seventh but was soon back up and opened up a cut over his opponent’s right eye as he continued to dominate the action.
Chants of "USA!" from Dirrell's fans filled the arena. Dirrell had never looked better and his boxing had fans and media shaking their heads in admiration.
The eighth round was Abraham's best round as he applied constant pressure while Dirrell's punch output dropped. Arthur came out purposely in the ninth as he attempted to keep the tide going in his favor. Dirrell though, went back to what had worked so well for him earlier which was moving and jabbing to the head and body.
Abraham's cut opened again midway in the ninth and referee Laurence Cole stopped the action to have Abraham examined by the ringside doctors. Both physicians took a long and careful look at Arthur's injury and for a moment it appeared from ringside that the bout might be stopped. The docs finally gave Cole the ok to let the fight continue. Soon after the action resumed, Abraham turned for a moment to complain to Cole about a body punch and Dirrell used the opportunity to go right after him. Abraham rebounded to land a couple of solid punches right before the bell.
The first controversial moment came in the tenth round. Starting to mount his signature late charge, Abraham chugged forward and was able to land a big right hand that sent Dirrell to the canvas. Without hesitation though, referee Cole waved it off as a slip as Abraham's corner and his fans screamed in disbelief. Denied a 10-8 score, Abraham still won the round on all the judges’ cards but was in need of a big finish to pull this one out and preserve his unbeaten record.
Given his good showing in the tenth it looked possible.
Unfortunately, the right hand landed by Abraham on a downed Dirrell in the eleventh, whether intentional or not, ended the fight before a final scenario could play out. What could have been a dangerous situation was averted at the fights' conclusion as the ring quickly filled up with emotional and angry people from both camps, even as a semi conscious Dirrell was still being attended to on the canvas. Cooler heads prevailed and order was restored.
At the time of the disqualification, Dirrell led by scores of 97-92 on judges Guido Cavalleri and Anek Hongtongkam's cards while Frank Garza scored the contest at 98-91.
Dirrell was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital immediately after the fight. It was soon learned that he seemed to be in no danger.
Dirrell is now 19-1 with 13 KOs while Abraham loses for the first time with his record going to 31-1 with 25 KOs.
PARIS LOOKS IMPRESSIVE
On the under card, Detroit's Vernon "VIP" Paris scored a spectacular right hand uppercut knockdown over Oscar Leon of Miami in the second round and rode it to a unanimous decision win over six rounds by identical 60-53 scores in a junior welterweight contest. A game Leon hung in all the way and as Paris seemed to tire a bit, was able to land some good punches of his own. Paris was still dominant in the exchanges in upping his record to 20-0, 13 KOs. Leon falls to 28-12, 18 KOs.
BRITSCH DESTROYS BERSHIRE!
Germany's Dominik Britsch scored two first round knockdown's over Morgantown, West Virginia's Matt Berkshire in a middleweight match-up and went on to score a stoppage at 1:52 of the second. Berkshire was simply overmatched in this one. Vicious left hooks to the body by Britsch doubled Berkshire over as referee Ansel Stewart stopped the contest with Berkshire in obvious distress. Berkshire’s corner protested loudly that their man had been hit low to no avail as Berkshire declines to 10-2-1, 5 KOs. Britsch improves to 18-0, 7 KOs.
HEARNS DOMINATES MARTEZE
Ronald Hearns of Detroit used his superior height and reach in taking the unanimous decision (60-54 x 3) over Marteze Logan of Covington, Tennessee in a middleweight six rounder. Good exchange in the third round in what was otherwise a controlled, dominant performance by the son of legendary Thomas Hearns. Hearns is now 24-1, 18 KOs. Logan is 26-43-2, 6 KOs.
KAYODE STOPS THOMAS
With famed trainer Freddie Roach in his corner, Hollywood, California's Lateef Kayode overcame a slow start to score the TKO at 1:43 of the fourth round over Chicago's Chris Thomas in a cruiserweight contest. After a tame first round, Kayode seemed to be getting untracked in the second when Thomas landed a crisp shot on the inside that briefly stopped Lateef's momentum. Regaining control in the third round, Kayode went on to deck Thomas with a hard left-right combo in the fourth. Thomas made it to his feet but his corner quickly signaled to referee Ron Cunningham that their man was done. Kayode goes up to 11-0, 10 KOs. Thomas goes down to 17-10-2, 14 KOs.
MIHTAR EASILY BEATS KAMYA
Middleweight Brian Mihtar of Detroit won a unanimous six round decision (60-54 x 3) over Robert Kamya of Uganda. Mihtar was the aggressor throughout as Kamya seemed more intent on surviving and rarely opened up even inexplicably spending nearly half of the final round dancing away from Mihtar even though miles behind on the cards. Mihtar now 13-1, 10 KOs while Kamya is 17-11, 4 KOs.
CUNNINGHAM WINS EVERY ROUND!
Darryl Cunningham of Detroit improved to 19-2, 9 KOs in winning a four rounder over Rockford, Illinois' Pat Coleman by scores of 40-36 x 3. Super middleweight Cunningham was unable to do damage to cagey vet Coleman who managed to counter enough to keep Cunningham at bay. Coleman declines to 29-17, 20 KOs.
POWER SURVIVES EARLY KNOCKDOWN TO WIN!
Heavyweight Rich Power of Keego Harbor, Michigan put a scare into the hometown fans, getting dropped and hurt by Ray Lopez of Holland, Michigan in the first round. Power was visibly unsteady as he rose from the canvas but righted himself by rounds end. Power established an effective jab in the second to keep Lopez from building on his first round advantage. Trapping Lopez in his own corner in the third, Power unloaded a series of big uppercuts that had Lopez helpless and brought referee Ansel Stewart in to wave it off at 1:06. Power is still undefeated at 11-0, 8 KOs. Lopez is now 1-1, 0 KOs.
ALFARO UPSETS OLYMPIAN SILER!
Andre Dirrell's 2004 Olympic team mate Ron Siler of Cincinnati hit a bump in losing a split decision (39-36 x 2, 37-38) to Vincente Alfaro of Minneapolis in a super bantamweight bout. Siler started well but failed to exploit the wide angle shots thrown by Alfaro, too often covering up instead of countering. Siler was dropped in the fourth by a right hand and hurt. Alfaro was all over Siler for the last 30 seconds of the bout as he pounded Ron along the ropes. Siler was fortunate to make it to the final bell as he drops to 1-1, 1 KO. Big win for Alfaro, now 2-0,1 KO.
GATES BOXES TO VICTORY!
In the evenings opening match, middleweight Purnell Gates boxed his way to a split decision (40-36, 39-37, 37-39) win over Chris Grays of Grand Rapids. Gates of Grandville, Michigan is now 18-1, 13 KOs while Grays drops to 9-19, 2 KOs.
Promoters Gary Shaw and Wilfred Sauerland co promoted the main event while local promoter Ron Remus with site organizer Carlos Llinas put together much of the under card that featured hometown talent.