By Jake Donovan
Andre Dirrell enjoyed a successful ring return following an 11-month absence, overcoming a 2nd round knockdown to outpoint Blake Caparello in their 10-round bout Friday evening at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Scores were 98-91 across the board in favor of Dirrell in their Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike TV headliner.
The last time that Caparello played Atlantic City, he scored a surprise knockdown of unbeaten Sergey Kovalev, only to get lit up in two rounds in their Aug. '14 light heavyweight title clash. The southpaw from Australia found lightning in a bottle even in a new weight class, catching Dirrell off guard and flooring the heavily favored Dirrell late in round two.
Dirrell quickly overcame the sequence and seized control of the bout. It wasn't entirely clean, as he landed an alarming number of rabbit punches which went undisciplined as referee David Fields -a top-shelf referee on most nights - either didn't notice or felt they were inconsequential.
Fortunately, nothing came of the blows, as Caparello did his best to overcome tactics both clean and questionable, but was ultimately outgunned over the long haul. The loss snaps a three-fight win streak as he falls to 22-2-1 (6KOs).
Dirrell picks up his first win in 16 months, improving to 25-2 (16KOs). The 32-year old from Flint, Mich. hadn't fought since a heartbreaking 12-round loss to James DeGale in their vacant title fight last May. It was his second time coming up short on the title stage, suffering a hotly contested split decision defeat to Carl Froch in the opening leg of the Showtime Super Six super middleweight tournament back in Oct. '11.
By fight's end, he was convinced that Friday's uneven performance was enough to position him back into contention. The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist called out all of the super middleweight titlists - and his own adviser, to a degree.
"Al, get me a title shot!" Dirrell demanded at fight's end, recording the in-ring interview on his phone, despite it being live on Spike TV. "I want to fight for a title, I don't care who it is!"
Anthony "The Dog" Dirrell picked up his second straight win following the lone loss of his career, tearing through one-time middleweight title challenger Caleb Truax in less than a round.
The former super middleweight titlist fought like a man who was parked in the tow-away zone along the Boardwalk. Or perhaps he was just looking to set the bar high for his brother Andre, who was watching from the locker room ahead of his main event battle.
Truax (26-3-2, 16KOs) hoped the move up from middleweight would serve him well, but never had a chance to get his offense untracked.
Dirrell scored with a combination straight down the middle to floor Truax barely a minute into the opening round. The fight-ending sequence came moments later, with Truax pinned along the ropes before getting clipped with a shot upstairs, prompting an immediate stoppage from referee Harvey Dock.
The official time was 1:49 of round one.
Dirrell moves to 29-1-1 (23KOs), picking up his first knockout win since 2013, having gone the distance in four straight fights prior to Friday evening. The win was redemption for his previous Spike TV appearance, suffering a 12-round loss to Badou Jack in losing his title last April in Chicago.
Truax (26-3-2, 16KOs) has now suffered stoppage losses in two of his last three fights, both of which have come on PBC on Spike telecasts. The previous occasion came last April, when he was stopped in the 12th round of his middleweight title challenge versus Daniel Jacobs. The loss came on the same show as Dirrell's defeat to Jack.
Opening the telecast, Dominican Republic's Jonathan Guzman remains a knockout every time out after forcing to quit Daniel Rosas after eight rounds.
Guzman (21-0, 21KOs) overcame occasional rough moments in the early rounds to seize full control from Rosas, a one-time top super flyweight contender from Mexico who has since fallen on hard times.
The pivotal point in the fight came in round five, when Guzman rocked Rosas with a left hook to send him reeling into the ropes. The round closed with both fighters trading left hooks, Guzman's causing the greater damage as he sent Rosas to the canvas for an eight count.
The second knockdown of the night also came at the end of the round, connecting with a combination as the bell sounded to finish round eight. Rosas beat the count, but the ringside physician huddled with the referee during the one-minute rest period and decided he was in no condition to continue.
The official time was 3:00 of round eight.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Follow him on his shiny new Twitter account: @JakeNDaBox_v2