World-class prizefighters collided in Miami this week, as WBA heavyweight champion David Haye met and worked out with super-middleweight star Andre Dirrell at the renowned 5th Street Gym on Washington Avenue.
The two boxers are in the midst of preparing for upcoming fights, and both were keen to gain an insight into the other's preparation while sharing the same gymnasium.
“Andre and I have kept in touch on Twitter for a little while now, and it was always our intention to meet up once I came out to Miami again,” said Haye. “We both train in the same area and we're both two of the best at what we do. It was a natural connection to make and I'm glad we've met up and seen each other in action.”
Currently 19-1 as a professional, American southpaw Dirrell is regarded as one of the premier 168-pound fighters in the world. Despite a narrow and controversial losing effort to Britain's Carl Froch in 2009, the Michigan-native has claimed standout victories over the likes of Arthur Abraham and Victor Oganov and continues to impress fans with his rapid hand-speed and lateral movement.
“Andre is incredibly quick and agile for a tall guy, and he knows how to use every inch of the ring,” said Haye. “He is always looking to set traps on his opponents and make them pay for any mistakes they might make. I like the way he takes boxing back to the art of hitting and not getting hit, as that's something I'll have to keep in mind when meeting (Wladimir) Klitschko this summer.”
While Haye continues to train alongside Dirrell in the sun, the biggest winner in this brewing relationship could be London super-middleweight prospect George Groves, a Commonwealth champion and training partner of the WBA king. The 22-year-old Groves is currently preparing for a dual-title grudge showdown with James Degale in May, and is set to join Haye and Dirrell in Miami in the near future.
“We've managed to set up some sparring work between George and Andre, and I've got no doubt it will do them both the world of good,” added Haye. “Andre is a very good world-class mimic of Degale, and will be able to show George moves and punches that neither he or Degale will have seen yet. If George can get success against someone as tricky as Andre, he'll have no problem breaking down Degale's southpaw style.
“Also, the situation works out well for Andre, too, as he's always looking for tough sparring and not many will bring it to him harder than George. Having spent time with him over the last few years, I know that George is not afraid to mix it with the best and he's also more than good enough to hold his own with these guys.”