By Chris Robinson
In a fight that has flown under the radar, super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell (20-1, 14 KO’s) will put a 13-month streak of inactivity to rest when he faces off with Ghana’s Michael Gbenga (14-6, 14 KO’s) inside of the Convention Center in McAllen, Texas later this evening.
And while it’s a positive sign to see such a fine talent as Dirrell getting busy again, there were some developments within his recent training camp in Las Vegas that are worth noting.
Outspoken trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. is no longer training Dirrell, as he will instead stay put in Vegas as his charge, undefeated lightweight hopeful Mickey Bey Jr., faces off with Robert Rodriguez inside of the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino tonight.
As I reported in early November, Floyd Sr. was approached by 50 Cent, Dirrell’s promoter, to train the talented southpaw, and the two men spent the early days of their time together putting in work inside of Johnny Tocco’s in early November.
The duo bounced around a few gyms over the following months and while it was an interesting sight to see Dirrell learning from such a disciplinarian as Floyd Sr., there was a disconnect between them along the way.
Nothing personal came between the two men that led to their separation. With Dirrell, he had noticed that Floyd Sr. wasn’t exactly prompt when it came to arriving on time for some of their training sessions, making him question Floyd’s overall commitment to their task.
From Floyd Sr.’s end, he seemed confused by the fact that Dirrell kept having rumored fights fall through, as he first mentioned an appearance on the December 15th George Groves-Glen Johnson undercard in London while later looking at a slot on the January 19th Mikey Garcia-Orlando Salido bill in New York as a possibility.
And as Dirrell struggled to finalize his next fight, Floyd Sr. had a date locked in all along with Bey, whom he has been working with on and off for several years, that he was focusing on.
Dirrell is still working under the guidance of his grandfather Leon Lawson Sr. as well as Rodney Crisler, who came into his camp around the holidays when Floyd Sr. had returned to Michigan to visit family.
Dirrell and Crisler clicked very well and he also loved the sparring that he was able to bring over from the Mayweather Boxing Club.
Again, seems like there are no hard feelings here but this was obviously a union that wasn’t meant to be.