by T.K. Stewart

Andre Dirrell is currently training in Big Bear, Calif., for his Oct. 17 challenge of WBC super middleweight titlist Carl Froch. The fight will take place at the Trent FM Arena in Froch's hometown of Nottingham, England.

By all accounts, training has gone according to plan for the Flint, Michigan native. On Tuesday in Los Angeles, Dirrell, 27, underwent routine pre-fight medical tests in order to be cleared for the fight.

However, even though he is undefeated as a professional with a record of 18-0, 13 KOs and even though he won a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games – the 6'2” tall southpaw is the decided underdog in the Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament. Oddsmakers at various sportsbooks and Internet gaming sites have installed Dirrell as a longshot to win it all.

A gaming industry source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, claims the reason for Dirrell being the decided underdog is primarily due to the low quality of opposition he has faced in relation to the other fighters in the tournament.

“When we looked at it, a few things jumped off the page at us when it came to Dirrell,” said the source. “Although his record is impressive, he has fought less than 80 rounds as a professional, which is the least of any of the other participants. He has only faced 12 fighters with a winning record and he has never defeated another top-10 rated contender. He has a lot to overcome. We realize he had a brilliant amateur career, with over 200 wins, but that doesn't always translate to success in professional world title fights.”

In ranking order of most favored to win the tournament to least favored it breaks down as follows: Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Jermain Taylor, Andre Ward and Dirrell. (Some sportsbooks flip-flop the order of Taylor and Ward)

Despite his underdog status, Dirrell remains undaunted. During the press tour for the tournament he demonstrated poise and confidence in the company of the other fighters.

“I wanna' show everybody that I'm the man,” Dirrell said during the press tour. “I will be in the finals. This will leave the fans with no questions to ask after this tournament.”