“The King” Arthur Abraham is undefeated in 31 fights. He has power (25 knockouts) and has held the IBF Middleweight Crown since 2005. He’s as strong as a mule and not as crude as you might think. He can be subtle and intelligent in the squared circle, staying patient and counterpunching. His hand speed is average at best, and sometimes he can over do it with his hooks.
Abraham can be blocky and not very fast on his feet but still he moves in an effective way, applying pressure.
Speedy Andre Dirrell has the quickness to give Abraham trouble. His lone loss to Carl Froch was a very controversial one, bringing to head the debate of effective aggressiveness versus capable boxing. I for one didn’t feel that Dirrell’s split decision was a real loss. A draw would have been a more worthy and fair decision. But…blame can placed on Dirrell for allowing the much slower Froch to out hustle him in the later rounds. It was as if…the tough guy from Nottingham wanted it more.
Dirrell is four inches taller then Abraham at 6’2, and has a reach advantage of three inches. He’s also 26 years old, four years younger then Abrahams. As stated, his foot speed and quick hands should…at least in the early going give him an advantage over Abraham. It’s imperative that he does well in the early rounds. His 13 knockouts look good on paper but his punches are more slashing…then powerful, he has to get Abrahams respect.
Arthur will look at his young American challenger and probably scoff. He will think….pressure…pressure…pressure. He has a ton more experience and power and has definitely faced tougher competition and has rarely been challenged. His war with Edison Miranda was just that…an all out war but in the end the more determined Abraham stayed undefeated. He’s a pretty solid 2 to 1 favorite.
That word “determined” has to be in Andre’s soul if he hopes to pull off an upset. He can’t run and not throw punches as he did at times during the Froch fight. He has to take some chances, and “grab the title” from Abraham by standing his ground and firing combinations. The Matrix must stay consistent and use his more natural ability to offset Abraham’s power. Dirrell will also have the home crowd firmly in his corner which ultimately could be a factor if the fight is close.
Predicating the outcome of this fight is tricky at best. I see two likely scenarios…
1} Most of the boxing experts are picking Abraham for the reasons I stated, which of course makes sense. I can see Abraham winning by gradually getting closer to Dirrell as the fight progresses, banging him to the body and either stopping him late or winning a close decision.
2) Dirrell, realizing that this is the most important fight of his career rises to the occasion and boxes Abraham’s ears off. His performance needs to be flawless, his condition primed and his determination peeking. I think he’s got a good shot…the question is…can he execute under fire? King Arthur certainly doesn’t think so…
We will see on March 27th…
** Catch the fight Saturday, March 27, on SHOWTIME® (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast)