If you just look at the picture(the fight) for a few moments, all the shapes and colors seem perfectly clear, a great match-up in styles for Dirrell. Abraham stays in a high-armed shell, absorbing most shots with his forearms, allowing scoring to his midsection. While in the shell, he often does not do enough to win rounds, and Dirrell is adept at stealing rounds.
Remember those out of focus pictures that were so hot in the late 80's? The ones that looked like a random design of shapes and colors. Then if you stared long enough while looking deep into the picture a pirate ship or cityscape or unicorn in a meadow suddenly appeared. That is what the Arthur Abraham vs Andre Dirrell fight seems like. Give it a chance...
Abraham seems contented to try and catch his opponents on their way in or on their way out with one or two stiff (very, very stiff) punches a round. Double A becomes more active when his opponents slow down, becomes courageous due to their ability to hit to what amounts to a constantly forward moving heavy bag, or lands a few of those stiff punches.
Dirrell is too young to slow down. He clearly showed that he could run for days against Froch. While that lack of aggression cost him the Froch fight, it will serve him right against Abraham. King Arthur will not be as busy as Froch attempted to be, so Dirrell's unwillingness to stand won't necessarily cost him rounds, especially early.
Dirrell is very fast and Abraham is not. Apologies to Big Jim Lampley, but Dirrell is going to be able to get in quickly and bang, bang, bang, then shift and get out. No damage done to either fighter, but Dirrell's points will mount.
The Bigger American has showed that he is willing to try to win on points without becoming overly aggressive. He didn't put himself in harms way against Froch, so why would he against Abraham? It is easy to picture Dirrell not wanting to take any chances even against a heavy bag in the gym, let alone the hardest puncher in the tournament.
Experts and observers from all over have been seeing a clear picture of shapes and colors and haven't looked any further. Why should they? After only a quick look the reasons for a Dirrell win are as numerous as those little shapes in the picture. It is plain and easy to see. Styles make fights, and Dirrell has nearly the perfect style to shut Abraham down. On paper it seems to be a big mismatch. But like those wacky art prints from the 80's sometimes the paper isn't always what it first seems.
Now really stare at this. What else is hidden on that paper? You see it? Look deep and a different picture begins to appear. Is that a ship? Is that water???
Dirrell has never fought someone like Abraham. Nobody has. It is like playing football against a triple option offense. Who do you bring in to give you that same look? How can you get use to it? You can't. Yet the triple option team has vast experience playing against a team like yours.
Almost every fight Abraham has had has been against somebody faster and slicker. It must be why he has adopted the shell defense. He will be fighting the same fight he has fought every fight he has ever had. He has a world of practice. Dirrell has none.
Dirrell will go in with a game plan, but really, he will have to make it up as he goes. Are the judges scoring my punches? Are they landing? Is Abraham getting credit for defense by blocking my shots? Is he setting me up? Did that hurt him? Abraham becomes a mystery wrapped in hairy forearms.
While Dirrell seems in great shape, he gave rounds away against Froch because he had never been 12 before. He finished strong, and regretted taking those middle rounds off. Afterwards he felt he could have gone strong the whole way. But can he?
The mismanagement of the Froch fights shows that he is still exploring what his body can do. He undershot it last fight. There is just as good a chance that he over shoots it against Abraham. And a fighter better have his legs and wits going into the last couple against Abraham because the undefeated brawler sure will.
Dirrell's quick in-and-out movement is very effective. He rolls out as fluidly as almost anyone in boxing. He uses that quickness to get in-and-out and score without having to stay there and put himself at risk. It is one of Dirrell's most effective tools, maybe his most.
But against Abraham it plays into the hard punching Armenian's best weapon. Abraham is a master at catching his opponent coming in. While he is tucked in his shell, it may look like he is surviving, but he's actually studying. His chin may be down and his guard closed tight, but his eyes are up and wide open. More than looking for an opening, he is studying tendencies. The more times a fighter jumps in, the more times Abraham has to catch him.
The Super Six leader certainly brings the power. If he needs to take some chances, he can. He has an iron jaw, but most of the iron is carried in those fist. He can open up and eat a few to land one, and that one can end the fight, or shake Dirrell enough that the next round he wants, is the third round of the Super Six tournament, not another with Abraham.
No question that Dirrell is a very confident young fighter, but his lost to Froch will do more to cause a crisis of confident than a knockout loss would have. After a knockout, hey I got careless and got caught. It is tangible.
His controversial lost is almost ambiguous. I know I could have done more, but is it my style in general. Do I need to overhaul who I am as a fighter to take a belt from a champion. Do I have to change what I've been all my boxing career? And change into what?
This is all new to Dirrell. A pro loss, a controversial loss, an open attack on his style. How does all this effect his focus and determination versus Abraham. In sports, indecision and uncertainty hurt training and performance. It is more likely he is worse for the wear after losing to Froch.
Now... how does that picture look? Do you see it yet? The pirate ship, the water below, a parrot just above the sail? Abraham by TKO in the 8th? Pretty neat huh?