By Bob Ryder
With both fighters exhibiting much mutual respect, Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham met the press for the final time at an assembled media gathering at the MGM Casino in downtown Detroit in advance of their bout on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena. Unlike many press conferences of the day, there was no shouting, hurling of insults, or degradation of opponents skills and abilities. What was on display was an example of two athletes, trained, confident, and ready to show their skills in the ring.
After brief introductory remarks by promoters Gary Shaw and Wilfred Sauerland, Arthur Abraham was first to take the podium. “I’m not here to talk, I’m here to box” proclaimed a stoic and serious Abraham leading off his very short remarks. After thanking everyone for attending and stating that he has great respect for every boxer as they all are fighting for their family, pride and country, he closed with a “see you Saturday night.”
A slightly more animated but also very serious Andre Dirrell took the podium to the shouts and cheers of his camp and supporters. “We worked real hard in camp. Arthur will see the true essence and science of boxing. I feel excellent. Arthur Abraham is a great opponent and I’m glad to have the opportunity to fight him.” However, Dirrell ended his comments with a resounding “the king will be dethroned!”
Photos: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME
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The conference was not without some background controversy. Off to a late scheduled start while waiting for the appearance of Arthur Abraham, rumors among some of the press started to circulate that Arthur may not show due to issues with the assignment of judges for the fight. No one was present from the state commission to verify the judging assignments at the conference but apparently some resolution was reached involving the replacement with several of the judges from Michigan with others from a more neutral location. When Fightnews asked Abraham directly if he was concerned about the judging situation he stated, ” I’m not worried about the judges, my job is to box. I let my promoter worry about the judges.”
Dirrell told Fightnews that he expects his speed to make the difference in the fight. Acknowledging that he did not do enough at times during his Stage 1 contest with Carl Froch (although Andre firmly believes he still won) he promised “I’m going to be much more aggressive this time. I learned a lot from the Froch fight and will apply it to this one.”
Both camps predicted a good tough fight on Saturday night and the importance of this contest was evident in the actions and demeanor of Dirrell and Abraham.
Gary Shaw made mention that “we stacked the card with local Detroit fighters.” Local favorites Brian Mihtar, Ronald Hearns, Darryl Cunningham, Vernon Paris and Rich Power are all part of a scheduled ten fight under card.
In other news, Chris DeBlasio of Showtime announced that the Andre Ward vs Allan Green Stage 2 bout has been set for June 19th.
Tickets for the Abraham-Dirrell Group Stage 2 fight are available at www.olympiaentertainment.com, the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, at all Ticketmaster locations and www.tickemaster.com. Tickets can be charged by phone at 800-745-3000.