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Arthur Abraham vs. Dirrell Fight Preview and Pick to Win

Arthur Abraham vs. Andre Dirrell Fight Preview and Prediction
Date: Saturday, March 27th, 2010
Where: Agua Caliente Casino, Rancho Mirage, California
TV: Showtime at 10:00 pm EST/PST

Weight Class: Round Two of the Super Six World Boxing Classic (Super Middleweight)
By Scotty L of

Arthur Abraham, 31-0 (25 KOs), Berlin, Germany vs. Andre Dirrell, 18-1 (13 KOs), Flint, Michigan

Betting Odds: Abraham (-185), Dirrell (+155)

Fight Analysis:† Germany-based Armenian powerhouse Arthur Abraham will try to continue his rampage against young upstart Andre Dirrell in the second round of the Super Six World Boxing Classic. For those not familiar with the format, it is a 6-man round-robin tournament involving six of the very best super middleweights in the world. The concept is great and so far, the action has been stellar as well.

The first round saw exciting bouts contested at a high level. In todayís age of clever matchmaking, with an emphasis placed on preserving the fighter, this tournament is a breath of fresh air. The best will be fighting each other consecutively and the winner of this tournament will likely have a body of work worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. The fighters are a mix of interesting characters with a tremendous meshing of different styles.

The stylistic compatibility is perhaps most evident in the tournamentís first bout of the second round between Abraham and Dirrell. Abraham, 29, was a longtime middleweight champion. He is known for his aggression and fighting spirit. Dirrell, 26, is more a moving sort who is renowned for his speed and athleticism in the ring.

You canít say much about Arthur Abraham that isnít positive. Some might find him a bit crude and deliberate, but 31 straight wins with 25 knockouts speaks for itself. The things that stand out for me about Abraham beyond his obvious power are his positioning and desire. He has good feet and is able to corral his opponents into the danger zone. He seems to possess a genuine hyper-confidence that allows him to keep his poise in the face of any hardship he faces in the ring. Against Edison Miranda, he soldiered on after breaking his jaw, and having his face grotesquely swollen. His ability to gut out that win showed he is more than a front running puncher.

In his last bout, Abraham torched former Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor for a 12th-round KO so brutal; it forced Taylor to withdraw from the tournament. Abraham appears to be peakingóhis performances over Taylor and his rematch KO over Edison Miranda being so decisive. Abraham is like the tide in that he keeps coming, you know itís coming, and now itís up to you to do something about it.

Whether Dirrell is that guy remains to be seen. The slick-boxing Olympic Bronze Medalist had a slow start to his career, only recently stepping up in class to fight the best. His first-round bout in this tournament was a baptism by fire, his first real testóa bout in Nottingham with hometown favorite and undefeated champion Carl Froch. Dirrell boxed with distinction, his speed in full bloom. Froch was dogged and increasingly succeeded in turning the bout into an ugly street brawl, but never seemed to drive home the kind of punches that would make him a winner. Nevertheless, Froch was awarded a split decision in a fight many felt was a robbery.

Iím not so sure. I saw Dirrell doing many things in that fight that he would be well-advised to get rid of. For example, he was often able to outbox Froch, but seemed to lack the confidence to move efficiently. He was so wary of his aggressive opponent that he would literally run from him! It was curious because he seemed to have the wherewithal to stand his ground and at least give the impression that he wanted to fight.

In addition, Dirrell constantly complained to the referee about every single perceived infraction. He gave off a very whiny vibe. Running for your life and griping incessantly are not how you take titles in Nottingham from the hometown fighter. Dirrellís talent was awe-inspiring at times, but his lack of overall vision of the circumstances around him was worrisome. Great fighters have more than talent. They also have a sixth sense of knowing what they need to do to win big fights.

Dirrell backers are not without hope here. Abraham has fought the better overall opposition, but not really the type of fighters that would immediately suggest he will be able to easily cope with Dirrellís combination of speed and boxing talent. With a 4-5 advantage in height and 3 inches in reach, the 6í2Ē Dirrell will have the conditions most movers like. Abraham is also a measured, deliberate fighter, so the flashier Dirrell should be able to put some rounds in the bag, particularly in the early stages of the fight.

Dirrell is from Michigan, but fighting in California will likely suit him far more than the rabid pro-Froch sentiment he dealt with in Nottingham. There is a chance that Dirrell can come out and box Abrahamís ears off. Maybe heíll be more settled-in, knowing now that he can hang with the elite at super middleweight. Young fighters like him can improve and thereís no reason to think he wonít.

I just canít envision a scenario where Dirrell will be able to tame Abraham for 12 full rounds. I think he will win 4 of the first 5-6 rounds with his speed as Abraham takes his time warming up, as is his wont. Abrahamís attack is more refined than Frochís crude offense and I think Dirrell will begin to feel the heat to a greater degree than he did with Froch. I mean, if he wasnít able to thwart Frochís attack without retreating into full panic retreat mode, how will he be able to keep it together against Abraham? At some point in the middle rounds, Abraham will drive home the kind of shots that will have Dirrell discouraged and giving way. The body attack will begin to take away Dirrellís vitality and his movement will decrease.

Abraham is a terrific finisher. As Dirrellís resolve begins to wane, Abraham will pounce, and convince the referee to save a gallant Dirrell from more punishment. Iíll take Abraham by 11th round TKO.

My Pick to Win the Fight: Lay the Ė185 and take Abraham to win.

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