Boxing Betting: Andre Dirrell vs. James DeGale Fight Preview
Britain has a long list of title holders in the history of the Super Middleweight class. On Saturday, another Brit hopes to join that exclusive list of 12 stone champions that include Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Joe Calzaghe and Carl Froch when James DeGale battles Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF Super Middleweight Championship in Boston, USA.
Britain’s Golden Boy
After winning Olympic gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics, James DeGale literally became Britain’s Golden Boy of boxing. DeGale won his first 10 professional fights under Frank Warren, highlighted by his 9th round TKO of erstwhile British Super Middleweight champion Paul Smith in Liverpool on October 2011. However, two fights later, DeGale suffered the first setback of his career when he lost via majority decision to countryman George Groves in a match that was decided by the closest of margins: 115-115, 115-114 and 115-114.
But instead of getting discouraged, DeGale won another 10 bouts in a row after that defeat, including the 4th round TKO of Brandon Gonzales in the undercard of Froch-Graves 2 last May at Wembley Stadium. That victory installed DeGale as the next mandatory challenger for the IBF Super Middleweight title which was held by Carl Froch. But Froch could not fight DeGale at the organization’s stipulated period because of an elbow injury, forcing the former to vacate the title last February. The IBF then ordered DeGale to fight its #2 ranked SMW for the now vacant title, and that’s where Andre Dirrell entered the title picture.
The Comeback Kid
Andre Dirrell was on the verge of superstardom when he was a participant of the 2009 Super Six World Boxing Classic along with Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham and Jermain Taylor.
After losing a close fight to Froch in his opening bout, Dirrell was on his way to methodically beating Arthur Abraham in his next assignment. But an accidental punch to the chin by Abraham when Dirrell was down on one knee knocked down the Flint, Michigan native unconscious. Dirrell won that bout but he had to pull out of the tournament because of neurological problems.
After sitting out the next 21 months to rehabilitate, Dirrell has been on a comeback trail that has seen him win five fights in a row (3 by KO) and go up in the rankings once again.
Dirrell’s most recent fight against Derek Edwards last December 2014 was an IBF title eliminator. After winning that bout via unanimous decision, Dirrell was supposed to challenge the winner of Froch-DeGale. But with Froch giving up the title, Dirrell’s opportunity to finally win a world title was advanced.
This one’s a tough one to pick with the odds either very close or even. Bet365 has Dirrell a -125 and DeGale a +100 while Skybet has the opposite: DeGale the -125 and Dirrell a +100. Totesport makes things interesting by having both men as -100.
Like DeGale, Dirrell is also an Olympian although he was a bronze medalist in 2004. Similarly, they are both looking for their first ever world title and that alone should make this a very competitive fight. Skill-wise, these two fighters are excellent boxers who also possess knockout power.
There isn’t much difference between the two except perhaps the level of opposition that they have faced in their careers. In that category, the edge goes to Dirrell and it’s that ring experience against better opponents that makes him a better bet in this contest.
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