By Keith Idec
Assuming heavily favored Andre Dirrell beats Blake Caparello on Friday night in Atlantic City, he’ll pay close attention to what happens Saturday night in Washington, D.C.
Dirrell desperately wants a rematch with James DeGale, who’ll meet Mexico’s Rogelio Medina (36-6, 30 KOs) as part of Showtime’s doubleheader from D.C. Armory. England’s DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs) will make the second defense of the IBF super middleweight title he won when he defeated Dirrell (24-2, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision 11 months ago in Boston.
“I would absolutely love to get in there with DeGale again,” Dirrell told BoxingScene.com. “We put on a hell of a performance for the crowd. He touched me on my chin, I hit the canvas – very surprising. But I got back up and rallied back, and it was a unanimous decision.
“I believe it was a split decision. Most called it a draw, but nevertheless, I allowed him to catch me with a shot. He’s a hell of a champion. I respect him. I respect James DeGale to the fullest. He’s a great fighter, high energy. He believes in himself, has confidence. You’ve gotta love a fighter like that.”
DeGale dropped Dirrell twice in the second round of their May 23 fight at Boston University’s Agganis Arena. The left-handed Dirrell survived that trouble and managed to make the fight very competitive, yet still lost on all three scorecards (114-112, 114-112, 117-109).
The 30-year-old DeGale, of St Albans, England, said during a conference call last week that he wants the third defense of his 168-pound championship to take place in London, about 20 miles from where the 2008 Olympic gold medalist grew up. That’s fine by Dirrell, who lost a split decision to England’s Carl Froch (33-2, 24 KOs) in Froch’s native Nottingham as part of Showtime’s “Super Six World Boxing Classic” in October 2009.
“There’s no problem with that at all,” said Dirrell, a Flint, Michigan, native. “Like he said, he has fought in North America his last three fights. He fought in Canada, in Boston. He deserves [a fight in London]. He’s a hell of a champion. He’s earned that right.
“So I would definitely travel over to England to fight him there, in his hometown. And I’ll put on a show and I’ll walk out with the victory. But he has earned that right and if I want the title that bad, then I should be willing to go over there. I’m ready.”
The 32-year-old Dirrell’s 10-round fight against Australia’s Caparello (22-1-1, 6 KOs) will be part of a Spike doubleheader from Trump Taj Mahal. The telecast, scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET, also will feature a 10-round super middleweight match between Dirrell’s younger brother, Anthony Dirrell (28-1-1, 22 KOs), and Caleb Truax (26-2-2, 16 KOs), of Osseo, Minnesota.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.