David Mayo reports that the rescheduled March 27 fight between Arthur Abraham and Andre Dirrell will take place in Detroit, the first major fight the Motor City has had in a long, long time.
Abraham (31-0, 25 KO) is coming off of a 12th round knockout of Jermain Taylor last October in Germany, while Dirrell (18-1, 13 KO) lost his first pro fight in a highly controversial, ugly bout against Carl Froch in Nottingham. This bout was originally set for March 6 in Rancho Mirage, California, but Dirrell reportedly suffered a back injury in camp, though nothing so serious that the couldn't be immediately rescheduled for three weeks later.
Dirrell is also a Flint native, which is the city north of Detroit that is consistently in even worse shape. I've got the feeling that unless some serious promoting is done and some tickets are priced very, very nicely, the fight is going to tank at the gate. Abraham is still nobody in America, and this fight was set for Rancho Mirage because of the large Armenian population there, and that was also going to be helped by putting Vic Darchinyan in the co-feature.
Now, they're banking on Dirrell, who has fought in Michigan a grand total of one time, back in 2006 in Flint against a guy named Cullen Rogers, an Akron-based tomato can.
As a Michigan native and resident, I can tell you boxing is not really a hot ticket here. Detroit used to be a fight city, but isn't anymore. There's a chance that the city is starved for a good night at the fights, and I hope that's the case. But it's also a very poor city, and Michigan overall is in very bad economic shape. They're not going to make money at the gate on this fight.
About the only thing I think could really help is getting Floyd Mayweather Jr. to show up to some press stuff and lend a hand. Although Floyd Jr. lives out in Vegas now and has for years, he's also given support to Michigan boxing in recent years, including financing the Michigan Golden Gloves a couple years ago. I'm sure they'll go to a Pistons game and a Red Wings game and all that, but Floyd would be a much more likely source of actual help selling some tickets and getting people talking.
The fight will either be held at Joe Louis Arena or Cobo Hall.