by David P. Greisman
The reason Andre Dirrell turned down a bout with Adonis Stevenson — a bout that will land the winner a shot at a super middleweight world title — was because there wasn’t enough time to get ready for the fight.
That’s according to Leon Lawson Jr., Dirrell’s uncle and trainer, who spoke with Hans Olson of BoxingInsider.com.
“It was just too short of a notice,” Lawson was quoted as saying. “It was a fight that was impossible. It would be impossible to happen within a month’s time. It was just too short of a notice, that’s what it was. We were willing to fight him any other time frame in an opportunity like this — for an eliminator or possibly for a belt in the future, depending on if he gets one before we do.”
Stevenson vs. Dirrell would’ve taken place on Aug. 11 in Montreal on the undercard of Tavoris Cloud vs. Jean Pascal.
Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel, had announced just a week ago that Dirrell, through Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions, had said he intended to fight Stevenson. Michel had asked the IBF for an expedited purse bid date of July 13, but he’d also put in a contingency plan in case Dirrell declined, which seemingly was an expected possibility.
Michel signed Donovan George to another undercard slot, with an agreement that George would get the Stevenson bout if Dirrell dropped out.
Stevenson vs. George is now a go for Aug. 11, with the fight an elimination bout for a mandatory shot at IBF beltholder Carl Froch.
Dirrell, a 28-year-old who is 20-1 with 14 knockouts, last fought in December, knocking out Darryl Cunningham in his first bout back since departing the Super Six tournament with what his camp said was the lingering effects of a late hit from Arthur Abraham.
Stevenson, 34, is 18-1 with 15 knockouts. He last fought in April, stopping Noe Gonzalez Alcoba. George, 27, is 22-2-1 with 19 knockouts and is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Edwin Rodriguez in March.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]