By Chris Robinson
Have a conversation with super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell and you can instantly spot the immense respect he has towards his friend and fellow prizefighter Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Originally from Flint, Michigan but a longtime staple of Las Vegas when it comes to his training camps, Dirrell has been spotted at the Mayweather Boxing Club this week. From sparring himself, mingling with the sea of spectators in the building, and checking out Mayweather’s intense training as he readies for a May 5th challenge of Miguel Cotto, Dirrell seems right at home amidst the ambience.
Cotto, the reigning WBA junior middleweight champion, represents another interesting test for the undefeated Mayweather but Dirrell is quick to give his compatriot the edge.
“Exactly, I see it being another Arturo Gatti, god rest his soul,” stated Dirrell of the late former champion. “Another Arturo Gatti-Floyd Mayweather fight.”
Dirrell is referring to Mayweather’s June 2005 dissection of the beloved Gatti inside of the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City in June of 2005. It was a virtuoso performance from Mayweather, as he battered the all-action Gatti from head to toe over six one-sided and punishing rounds.
It was some of the best Mayweather to behold, as Floyd stayed in the pocket and picked Gatti off with piercing shots as opposed to boxing circles around him or trying to dictate the fight with his generalship.
A fan-favorite because of his blood and guts style, Gatti would suffer a bizarre death in Brazil four years later that has left lingering question marks to this day but he will forever be cherished by those in the sport because of the great battles he was involved in.
Cotto may be far more polished than a brawler like Gatti, but it makes no difference, says Dirrell.
“He’s technically too fast, too skilled, too precise,” Dirrell said of Mayweather. “Miguel can be hit. He gets bloodied, he’s right there for you to hit, he’s slow, and Floyd is just too precise. He’s going to pick him apart.”
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