Andre Dirrell has split from both promoter Gary Shaw and manager/adviser Al Haymon, reports Lem Satterfield, and will be fighting under his own promotional banner headed by his uncle and trainer, Leon Lawson Jr.
"This is big to be on your own and to be able to make your own decisions and to know that you've got the confidence of your own team, first and foremost," said Direll, 28, of Flint Mich. "It's a huge step in the game, and it will definitely let me know where my is name in the sport."
This is a pretty sudden move, as just today Dirrell's name emerged as Showtime's favorite to face Lucian Bute on April 14, and promoter Gary Shaw said that Dirrell was ready to step in if a fight between Bute and Carl Froch didn't go through.
It's also a highly questionable gamble from Dirrell, and the question is open as to what this really means.
Dirrell, 28, has no real fan base in Michigan, where the economy is depressed and interest in boxing is overall pretty low. Recent major fight cards in Flint (Dirrell vs Abraham) and Pontiac (Bradley vs Alexander) have tanked, and Dirrell is not well-known overall, far from any kind of star attraction, particularly after sitting out almost two years with an injury that has been questioned by many.
Here's what Lawson Jr said about a potential Bute vs Dirrell fight:
"I feel like Andre will get a fair shake and that there is strong interest in Andre. If we fight Bute, of course, we would want it here in the United States. He's got to come out of Canada sooner or later," said Lawson Jr.
"Canada is only separated from Detroit by the Ambassador Bridge, so Bute's people can drive right across the bridge to come and into the United States to see their champion fight us."
This is why I have serious reservations about this being a wise decision for Dirrell, or maybe it's why I have serious reservations about this meaning that Dirrell is going to look for good fights. Bute does not have to come out of Canada to fight Andre Dirrell. Why shouldn't Dirrell go to Quebec? Bute's the draw, packing 20,000 or so into all of his fights, no matter the opponent. Bute is also the defending champion.
The ONLY way Dirrell is going to draw a major crowd in Michigan, in fact, is if he fought Bute there and Bute's fans filled the venue. So how does any of that make sense? I mean, I'm American -- from Michigan originally, in fact -- but this idea that Bute has to come to America is just weird. It makes no sense, and if the shoe were on the other foot, no one would be arguing that Dirrell should go to Canada. If Dirrell were the draw and the titleholder, and was filling arenas in Michigan, no one would say Lucian Bute should get home field.
There's enough here, I believe, to suspect that this is more a way for Dirrell to avoid Bute than to land a fight with him. I may be 100% wrong on that, and I'm not saying I'm convinced it's the case, but I'll throw it out there for discussion anyway.