Friday, March 24, 2023  |



Ring Ratings Update: Dirrell enters 168-pound Top 10


Was Arthur Abraham about to knock out Andre Dirrell before the bizarre ending of their fight in the Super Six World Boxing Classic on Saturday in Detroit?

That’s a matter of opinion or perhaps gut feeling. Some observers are convinced a fading Dirrell was doomed to be stopped in the final round and a half, although to say so with any degree of certainty is absurd. Many others, myself included, believe Dirrell would’ve survived.

Was Dirrell acting after Abraham landed a right on his chin while he on the canvas? Again, it’s a matter of opinion. Some – including Abraham and his handlers – are willing to award him an Oscar right now for his performance, claiming he wanted a way out of the fight. Others saw a man who was disoriented after taking a blow he never saw coming.

In one poll, on, sixty percent of those who responded believed Dirrell’s reaction was genuine. Of course, only Dirrell knows for sure.

Indeed, only one thing was certain about the fight: Dirrell, with only 19 bouts under his belt, turned in a damned fine performance for 10-plus rounds. Thus, he enters THE RING magazine super middleweight ratings for the first time.

“Andre Dirrell debuts at No. 6 due to his dominating DQ win over Arthur Abraham (No. 6 last week), who drops to No. 7,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. “Dirrell’s inclusion and Abraham’s demotion pushed down Allan Green (No. 7 last week), Librado Andrade (No. 8 last week) and Robert Stieglitz (No 9 last week) one spot each. Eduard Gutknecht (No. 10 last weeks) departs to make room for Dirrell.”

Dirrrell thoroughly outboxed and outworked a relatively passive Abraham, who was unbeaten and considered one of the best fighters in the world going into the fight.

The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist from Flint, Mich., was simply too quick and too skillful for the powerful Germany-based Armenian, who grew increasingly frustrated as the fight progressed.

However, by the 10th round, Abraham seemed to be cutting off the ring and Dirrell seemed to be getting tired. This is why some believe Abraham – known for late KOs – would’ve stopped Dirrell.

Sadly, we’ll never know what would’ve happened. We only know that Dirrell was terrific while it lasted.

Across the globe from Detroit, in Tokyo, No. 2-rated Pongsaklek Wonjongkam defeated then-unbeaten and No. 1 Koki Kameda by a majority decision to become the flyweight world champion and break new ground.

“I would like to congratulate Pongsaklek Wonjongkam on becoming the first flyweight champion since THE RING launched its new championship policy in 2002,” Collins said. “There is no method of filling a vacancy more fitting that a match between the No. 1 and No. 2 contenders. Pongsaklek’s victory must have been particularly satisfying for him as many believed the 32-year old Thai was beginning to slip going into his 97th pro bout.”


Junior welterweights: Marcos Maidana (No. 6 last week) jumps to No. 4 thanks to his knockout of previously undefeated Victor Cayo. Maidana’s advancement forces down Ricky Hatton from No. 4 to No. 5, while Paul Malignaggi slips from No. 5 to No. 6.

Lightweights: Even though Ali Funeka (No. 3 last week) lost a split decision to Joan Guzman, Funeka retains his ranking because Guzman failed to make weight for the bout for a vacant lightweight title.

Guzman, who weighed 144 pounds, is not ranked among the Top 10 welterweights because he has done nothing to earn a ranking at 147-pounds.

Flyweight: All 112-pounders rated No. 3 or below last week climb one rung each due to the realignment at 112 pounds. Cesar Seda debuts at No. 10.

Strawweights: Nkosinathi Joyi (No. 4 last week) and Raul Garcia (No. 3 last week) trade places following Joyi’s 12-round decision over Garcia.