The Americans, Andre Ward and Allan Green, give their compatriot, Andre Dirrell, a slight edge to upend unbeaten Arthur Abraham in a Group Stage 2 bout in the Super Six World Boxing Classic this Saturday, March 27, at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on SHOWTIME® (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). The Europeans — Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler — anticipate a tight fight, too. However, they aren’t so certain who will prevail in what will be a fiercely contested, scheduled 12-round match that will be televised during a Free Preview Weekend on SHOWTIME.
Dirrell (18-1, 13 KOs), of Flint, Mich., needs a victory in his “home game” to get on the tournament scorecard after coming up on the wrong end of a hard-fought, disputed 12-round split decision to Froch last Oct. 17 in Nottingham, England, on SHOWTIME.
Abraham (31-0, 25 KOs), of Germany, has three points after knocking out Jermain Taylor in the 12th round last Oct. 17, in Berlin, Germany, on SHOWTIME. The Armenian will be looking to extend his lead atop the Super Six World Boxing Classic standings as Group Stage 2 action begins.
Carl Froch (26-0, 20 KOs), who will put his unblemished record and World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight title on the line against Kessler, a former World Boxing Association (WBA) 168-pound titleholder, in a Group Stage 2 showdown Saturday, April 24, on SHOWTIME, couldn’t pick a winner but is clearly rooting for Abraham. “I can’t pick a winner because they’re fighting in the United States,’’ said Froch. “I see it as a 50-50 fight — with either Abraham winning by brutal knockout or Dirrell taking a decision in a tactical fight. Come on Abraham. Catch him sweet!”
Mikkel Kessler (42-2, 32 KOs), of Denmark, pictures it going either way. “I think the fight will be a close decision — maybe even a draw,’’ said Kessler, who was dethroned by Ward on an 11th-round technical decision last Nov. 21, in Oakland, Calif., on SHOWTIME. “Abraham is very confident with his style and tactics, so I guess we will not see anything new from him. Dirrell, on the contrary, seems like a guy who can change tactics and style based on how the fight develops and who his opponent is. Also, you have to take into consideration that Dirrell needs a win desperately. If he loses, he’ll have difficulties advancing in the group stages. That favors Abraham and his tactics. Abraham’s fought in the United States against Edison Miranda and he can use that experience positively. It is not something new for him to fight in another part of the world. On the other hand, he’s not in his safe home, Berlin. It’s going to be interesting to see how much Dirrell will benefit from his home crowd. No matter what, I think that we are in for a great and entertaining fight.”
Andre Ward (21-0, 13 KOs), of Oakland, anticipates a determined, career-best performance from Dirrell. “As I’ve said, if Dirrell is in tip-top shape and fights a focused, disciplined fight for 12 rounds, which I believe he will, he’ll be victorious,’’ said Ward, who will make his initial defense of the WBA crown against Taylor’s tournament replacement, “Sweetness” Allan Green in a Group 2 match, on Saturday, June 19, in Oakland on SHOWTIME. “Abraham should be respected. He’s a wily veteran and very strong. But Dirrell understands that he NEEDS a win. Dirrell is also fighting at home, which will give him that little extra and could be the difference in the fight. This is the beauty of boxing. We’ will all have to tune in to SHOWTIME to see what happens. I look for Dirrell to have his coming out party.”
Allan Green (29-1, 20 KOs), of Tulsa, Okla., envisions an even scrap, but gives the advantage to Dirrell — if he is healthy after suffering a back injury that forced a contest slated for March 6 to be pushed back to this Saturday. “It’s a pick ‘em fight,’’ said Green, a winner of six consecutive starts who’s ranked No. 3 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO), No. 4 in the World Boxing Council (WBC) and No. 7 in the World Boxing Association (WBA). “Abraham is much stronger, but Dirrell should be able to outbox him if his back has fully recovered.”