Both WBC super middleweight titlist Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell have done plenty of sniping since it was announced that they'd meet first in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, but the real story is bigger than that. Is Andre Dirrell, 27 and without any serious tests as a professional, ready for Froch?
Dirrell (18-0, 13 KO) says he is. Speaking with Brett Okamoto of the Las Vegas Sun, Dirrell had this to say:
"I will do anything for the world title. I’ll go wherever I have to go and fight whoever I have to fight. My mental game is sick right now and I’m just ready to do anything for that title. If that means I have to go to Nottingham to pick it up, then that’s where I’m going."
Dirrell is favored by many over Froch, who he has beaten handily in speed, athleticism and natural talent. What has to prove out is desire. Froch is a strong puncher and has a lot of heart, and he won't go down easy. When Froch fought Jermain Taylor in April, he was outgunned in much the same way he will be against Dirrell, but when the chips were down and he needed a 12th round knockout, he made it happen by relentlessly chasing and battering Taylor, who had floored Froch in the third round.
Taylor's finishing ability and stamina have been coming into question for a while now, to be fair. He suffered a similar fate in his first pro loss in 2007, when he floored Kelly Pavlik in the second round but was knocked out in the seventh. Dirrell has no open stamina questions, but it's a bit fuzzy for now, too. He's only gone 10 rounds once (an ungodly dull win over Curtis Stevens in 2007), and only as many as eight rounds one other time. Froch (25-0, 20 KO) has gone 12 hard in his last two against Taylor and Jean Pascal, who now holds the WBC title at 175 pounds.
Promoter Gary Shaw is confident in Dirrell's chances, too:
"I know that I have the youngest, fastest, most athletic guy in the tournament. I know that when it’s over, the last person standing will be Andre Dirrell."
The Super Six World Boxing Classic kicks off on October 17, televised in the States by Showtime, with Froch-Dirrell paired with Arthur Abraham-Jermain Taylor. As far as I'm concerned, the tournament can't start soon enough. Every possible fight in the tournament is a good one on paper.