Tuesday, May 30, 2023  |


Abraham DQ spoils excellent performance by Dirrell

Fighters Network

Arthur Abraham had difficulty hitting Andre Dirrell all night, at least when the American was standing up. Photo / Tom Casino-Showtime

Arthur Abraham turned a brilliant performance by Andre Dirrell into an ugly scene in the second phase of the Super Six World Boxing Classic on Saturday night in Detroit.

Direll was dominating his extremely frustrated opponent through 10-plus rounds when he slipped to one knee and Abraham hit him in the chin with a clubbing right, knocking him temporarily unconscious and sending him to the hospital shortly after the fight ended.

The American won the fight by disqualification at 1:13 of the round — Abraham’s first loss — but was so disoriented immediately afterward that he couldn’t grasp what had happened.

Broadcaster Jim Gray asked him in the ring whether he knew what happened and he responded, a grimace on his face and anguish in his voice: “I got dropped, man.” His handlers then yelled, “No, no, no, you won.” And, after thinking a moment, he said: “I got hit when I was down, I got hit when I was down.”

He was then whisked to his dressing and a doctor said he would be taken immediately to a hospital.

“I was concerned that there might be some bleeding in his brain,” the doctor said in Dirrell's dressing room. “He was very confused. He said his legs were very weak. There was a long period of time that he really didn’t have a sense of where he was or what was going on.

“ÔǪ We’re concerned enough to make sure. We’re being very careful about this, to make sure there’s no bleeding in his brain or something like that. So we’re taking him to the hospital.”

Abraham (31-1, 25 knockouts) was the one who was confused during the fight.

Dirrell (19-1, 13 KOs) obviously learned from his loss to Carl Froch in his first Super Six fight, in which he boxed well but lost on the scorecards because he didn’t throw enough punches. On Saturday, against a more-highly regarded foe, he blended beautiful boxing with very effective aggression to win the majority of the rounds.

Abraham even went down in the fourth round — from a straight left — for the first time of his career and suffered a nasty cut above his right eye.

The Armenian was so frustrated that he was reduced to swinging wildly — and amateurishly — in the middle and late rounds in a desperate attempt to salvage a victory, although he did seem to be cutting off the ring as the end neared.

And he would’ve needed a knockout to win: Dirrell, from nearby Flint, was leading on the scorecards 98-91, 97-92 and 97-92 with a round and a half to go.

“I know he win on points. I wanted only KO, no more,” said Abraham, who is just learning English.

Indeed, it seemed as if Dirrell was emerging as one of the best fighters in the world before our eyes when it all came crashing down in the middle of the 11th round.

Dirrell, who had slipped on ring decals at least one other time, was near one corner when his foot went out from under him and he dropped to one knee. His head was down when Abraham, looking directly at him, landed a hard right flush on the chin.

Dirrell, in a somewhat delayed reaction, fell onto his side and lay unconscious for several moments. Television analyst Antonio Tarver said the fighter’s legs were trembling, as if he were about to go into convulsions.

He was able to get to his feet after several minutes but was obviously confused, as he walked around the ring and ranted while his handlers tried to explain what had happened.

Abraham claimed afterward that he did nothing wrong even after watching the foul on a monitor and accused Dirrell of acting.

“He wasn’t on the ground,” he said through an interpreter. “I shouldn’t be disqualified for this.”

He added after seeing the replay: “I couldn’t see. He’s a good actor.”

No one who saw the fight will agree with that. Obviously, Dirrell was hurt badly. Just as obviously, he dominated a fighter who many experts considered one of the favorites to win the compelling 168-pound tournament.

Hopefully, Dirrell will be fine and we’ll remember his performance and not the unfortunate ending.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]