James Degale defeated Andre Dirrell tonight by Unanimous Decision to win the vacant IBF Super Middleweight title in Boston. Dirrell started well early, controlling the first round and most of the 2nd round. However Degale fainted twice nicely with jabs to the chest of Dirrell, before landing a massive overhand left which flattened Dirrell. The American was clearly hurt and he made the surprise mistake of rising to early, his legs weren’t stable. Dirrell then got caught again and was wrestled down, however the ref called it a knockdown. As Dirrell rose again the round ending bell was very late and DeGale landed another massive left hand. Dirrell was in a lot of trouble as he walked back to his corner at the end of the 2nd round and many thought this fight was about to end.
To Andre Dirrell’s credit he showed enormous heart and began to slowly work his way back into the contest. DeGale’s work rate dropped in rounds 7-9 and heading into the Championship rounds the bout was close to even. With many expecting the American could be on the receiving end of a favorable decision considering he was fighting in his home country. However just as Dirrell began to regain the momentum, DeGale came back with the some awesome counter punchers in the 11th and 12th rounds, winning both on my unofficial card.
The scorecards were rather wide for DeGale which was surprising. I had the British Olympic Gold Medalist winning by two rounds. It must be noted though that Dirrell’s stock went up after this performance, the way he re-grouped after nearly being knocked out in the 2nd round and winning a lot of rounds was a testament to his character and fortitude, something that I had mistakingly doubted before the fight began. It’s also worth noting their isn’t a loser when both fighters earned over $1.5 million USD for this bout. Funnily enough, off topic I just wanted to mention that both fighters earned considerably larger purses than Golovkin earned against Monroe two weeks ago.
It’s going to be interesting to see where DeGale goes from here. At the post fight press conference the British fighter called out American champion Andre Ward. Ward is widely regarded as the best at Super Middleweight and the favorite to potentially unify the Light Heavyweight division in the future. However it’s also important to note DeGale is improving and he has fantastic pedigree as a British Olympic champion. I am intrigued in how a bout with Ward will play out, considering DeGale has a rather uncomfortable style for Ward to deal with. If DeGale vs Ward gets made, the American will rightfully start as the heavy favorite. However I won’t be making the mistake and writing DeGale off, I think he is in with a real chance to upset the world again.