Monday, March 27, 2023  |


Andre Dirrell-Jose Uzcategui and the mess that followed the fight

Photo / @ShowtimeBoxing

OXON HILL, MD — It came down to a blink, a split second. Jose Uzcategui had Andre Dirrell in serious trouble in the closing seconds of the eighth round of their IBF interim super middleweight championship bout Saturday night at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Uzcategui hit Dirrell with a jab, straight right and left hook when the bell rang ending the eighth—and sending Dirrell down in a heap.

Then all hell ensued.

As Dirrell tried to get up, his brother Anthony Dirrell motioned from his corner to stay down.

“I heard Anthony did that, too,” said Showtime color analyst Paulie Malignaggi, who literally had a ringside view as the melee transpired. “Something I didn’t like was Dirrell was up on his knees and he looked all right, and he told the referee was okay. I didn’t like the referee leaning down looking at Andre telling the doctor he was going to disqualify Uzcategui.

“If you tell Andre that he may go to the scorecards, maybe Andre doesn’t get up, if Andre is really hurt. You don’t tell Andre he already won the fight, until you decide he’s won the fight. Why would Andre get up at that point? He’s going to look for a way out. Jose already hit Andre late at the end of round two, so don’t do it again. He only has himself to blame for what happened.”

Referee Bill Clancy immediately went over the fallen Andre and waved that the punch came too late. Doctors and ringside medical people then spilled into the ring and went to Dirrell’s aid, while the camps of both teams began jawing at each other.

Anthony Dirrell had to be subdued several times at ringside, and approached Uzcategui in the ring. But Leon Lawson Jr., a member of Andre Dirrell’s camp, did manage to squeeze through the crowded ring and nail Uzcategui in the face with a clean punch (and follow-up shots that missed). Police and security then descended into the ring, trying to restore order.

While Jimmy Lennon was standing there waiting to make an announcement, Showtime announcer Jim Gray interviewed Clancy, who revealed that Andre Dirrell won by disqualification. Lennon threw up his arms and he even wondered what was going on, as security tried to calm the situation.

Uzcategui was disqualified for nailing Dirrell with a big left hook—the final punch of a three-punch combination—that began before the bell but concluded after the bell. The scores at the time of the DQ had Uzcategui winning on two cards (77-74, 77-75) with the third card even at 76-76. Dirrell trailed 99-71 in overall punches and 61-32 in power shots, but led 39-38 in landed jabs.

“The bell rang to stop the round,” Clancy said. “The round was over and Andre [Dirrell] was knocked out with an illegal punch. So therefore, Dirrell will win this fight by disqualification. That’s a blatant foul. Earlier in the fight, I had warned Uzcategui. I warned him. Dirrell wins the fight, he was clearly unable to continue.”

Said Andre Dirrell: “All I remember was him [Uzcategui] throwing a shot at me at the same time the bell rang. After that everything was blurry. I remember a shot and then all went fuzzy. I forgive Uzcategui. I forgive his camp. I don’t want to win a championship like this. I wanted to win fair and square. But I forgive him.

“I’m sorry for what my coach has done. My coach is my family, my uncle, and he was worried. He cares for me. He loves me. Please forgive him. I’m going to stand up like a man. I didn’t win like I wanted to, but I’ll be back. I’m going to come back as soon as they let me.”

Uzcategui had to be escorted from the ring by security, as was Dirrell.

“I felt very good,” Uzcategui said. “I was hurting him the entire fight. I felt like I could hurt him anytime I wanted. Nothing he hit me with hurt me. I was throwing a three-punch combination and I didn’t hear the bell. I didn’t mean to hit him. The third punch wasn’t that hard of a punch. I was surprised he stayed down.

“He did the same thing against [Arthur] Abraham that he did against me tonight. He quit against me and he quit against him. I deserve to be the winner.”

There was a heavy security and police presence the rest of the night.