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Andre Dirrell Discusses Mayweather, Ward, Froch, More

By Chris Robinson

Having a conversation with super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell is a lot like dealing with his flashy style inside of the ring, as his answers and proclamations come from all angles and forces you with no choice but to be quick on your feet.

Dirrell is currently training in Las Vegas, Nevada,  at the Mayweather Boxing Club as he eyes a December 30th return to the ring against Darryl Cunningham in Cabazon, California. The fight marks Dirrell’s first ring endeavor in twenty-one months, dating back to his disqualification victory over Arthur Abraham in March of 2010 in the second stage of Showtime’s Super Six tournament.
 
Dirrell seemed to box flawlessly against the pressing Armenian but was caught with an illegal shot in the 11th round while he was down on two knees and against the ropes, an act that saw Abraham disqualified after Dirrell was unable to continue. Dirrell was then lined up for a duel with Andre Ward but withdrew himself form the contest because of a neurological issue and has yet to fight since.
 
Ward decisioned Carl Froch in Atlantic City in the final bout of the Super Six. Dirrell knows both men very well, having connected with Ward as an amateur and having received his only loss as a professional to Froch in late 2009, a fight in which Dirrell and many others feel he was robbed in.
 
During my conversation with Dirrell we touched on his thoughts on the Ward, Froch, his return later this month, the admiration he has towards Froch, what he has learned from Floyd Mayweather Jr., and much more.
 
In his own words this is what Dirrell had to say…

Preparing for December 30th…
“I’ve got the best sparring partners I’ve had in a while, since Shaun George, one of my best sparring partners. Sean George was in my Froch camp and he was one of the best sparring partners I ever had. Nice, elusive, quick, tall. Just like this camp, they’re giving me the best work I can possibly get right now. I really appreciate that from James McGirt. I’m just feeling good. All around I’ve feeling good and I’m just blessed to be here.”

Reflecting on his mindset heading into the Abraham bout…
“I was better. If you claim you are the best in the world, then you should have no doubt in your mind with any opponent you get in there with. I don’t care if you have ten world championships. If you feel like you are better, you should go in there and fight like it. I feel I was the better man and I went in there with full confidence. I just went out there and did the job.”

Disappointed in the way the Abraham bout ended…
“Definitely, it was never supposed to play out like that. But unfortunately it did. People are feeding off of Abraham’s side more than they are feeding off mine, but hey, what can you expect from an American? You get hated on everywhere. Boxing is one of those sports you get hated on until you retire. I did a hell of a job, he found a way out and he took it. I feel great. That’s in the past. I have a beautiful fan base and all in all I’m just blessed.”

What kept him focused during his downtime..
“On top of my success with Froch and my success with Abraham, my ability to be the best. I believe I’m the best. I believe in myself.  That’s all it takes. Regardless of what the haters say, regardless of what the naysayers say, regardless of how people feel behind you back; know that you are the better man and I always feel like that. I always come into camp with full confidence. When I can come into camp and work to the best of my ability, I know when it’s time to go out there I’m going to get the job done.”

Representing his hometown…
“Flint is a small city so I pretty much knew everybody there. And this fight, this comeback fight, I’m really ripping for Flint, my city, the best that I can. Because there’s such a downfall now that I’m really trying to pick their spirits up, me and my brother Anthony Dirrell. And give back to the community and feed off of them. I’m really doing this for them, this time around, on my comeback, I want to let them know that Flint will be back on the map pretty soon.”

Dealing with haters and supporters alike…
“They come. You can’t trust them. A lot of them are what you call backstabbers, a lot of them are people just waiting for you to become successful. But they are pushing you along the way so I’m grateful for them. And just the people who have been there with me from the beginning. They’re all there, they’re just waiting to see proof and I understand that from a boxing standpoint.”

In camp with his brother Anthony, who defeated Renan St Juste on December 2nd…
“Because this was his fight back, I was 100% behind him. Usually we will try to have our own separate camps so we can focus on one another but like I said, I was glad to see him back. He’s a hard worker, he got in there and got St Juste out. He’s ranked #1 in the WBC right now. I’m looking forward to big things from him. He’s overcome adversity like no man I’ve ever known in my life. Cancer plus two broken hands. He’s fighting to be the best and I can see him getting there.”

His experience in the United Kingdom before the Froch fight…
“I’m going to tell you the experience outside of the ring first. Leading up to the whole thing, as soon as I got to England, my back was to the wall. Of course my back was against the wall, I was in his hometown. When I say my back is against the wall, what I mean is, I was fighting in another country. I  was fighting for the world championship for my first time. Yeah, physically and mentally my back was against the wall. From day one the experience was harsh, but it gave me the experience I needed to move on with my career. But as far as I’m concerned, I whooped Froch’s a**. I beat his a** and he couldn’t touch me.”
 
The cocky nature of Carl Froch…
“First it kind of pissed me off and then, as it got closer and closer to the fight, I became jealous of him. That’s the mentality that I would like to have. Just because I’m a so-called pretty boy and because I have great boxing ability, I’ve got a great personality. Fighters take that and say he doesn’t have the will, the mental strength. Then I became jealous of him and now that I am on the outside looking in I love it. I would never knock that against no fighter, skill or no skill. I love that mentality that fighters have. Guys who are really confident and guys who are willing to get the job done.”

Learning from Floyd Mayweather Jr….
“Man, the biggest thing about him, it’s not his success, it’s his will to be successful. It’s the way that he carries himself outside of the ring, it’s the way that he carries himself about the sport of boxing. I know I will be with him up there one day but he’s showing me what it takes to become a champion mentally and physically. Great smile, extreme work ethic, and all I can do is take that and run with it. That’s all the confidence I need. Aint going to be no stopping me.”

Why he trains in Las Vegas…
“It isn’t that the fights are the MGM Grand, the fights are at the Mandalay Bay, it’s the fact that it’s a boxing atmosphere. Me personally, I hate it here. I hate Vegas. I’m from the Midwest. It’s grass, it’s trees, we have the four seasons. As far as training goes I love it. I’m an atmosphere guy. Vegas is an all-out boxing atmosphere. I don’t like the atmosphere but it’s a boxing atmosphere. And that’s the kind of ambience I need.”

Respecting Andre Ward…
“He’s always been an outstanding person, a great friend, extreme work ethic just like Floyd and me. He’s very God-fearing, he’s the one who will lift his teammates up when they are down. All in all a great person and I always wish him the best success. When that day comes that we ever will meet, it will be one hell of a performance and the crowd will deserve to see that. But as far as a person he’s one of the greatest guys I know.”

Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by vacon04 on 12-18-2011

[QUOTE=Spray_resistant;11578159]This guy has like 1 notable win, and has just been doing nothing for over a year. Who cares what he thinks.[/QUOTE] His last fight was on March of 2010 ... he's been inactive for almost 2 years...

Comment by Clegg on 12-18-2011

[QUOTE=FoxingFan2010;11577720]I don't like it when he switches to southpaw in the ring...it makes no sense unless the guy's really dumb enough to fall for it....Other than that he's still a very dangerous contender though.[/QUOTE] I actually think he is better…

Comment by Spray_resistant on 12-18-2011

This guy has like 1 notable win, and has just been doing nothing for over a year. Who cares what he thinks.

Comment by Drunk Punch on 12-18-2011

Dirrell is still clearly brain damaged.

Comment by Winky-Wright on 12-18-2011

[QUOTE=Body head;11577307]Wow. The hate on this site is ridiculous. Where is all this anger coming from?[/QUOTE] stfu dirrel sucks but he deserves an Oscar it was a great performance when he last acted

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