Join us this afternoon as we'll have live round by round coverage for the latest edition of Premier Boxing Champions, featuring Andre Dirrell in the main event against James DeGale for the vacant IBF super middleweight title.
The fights go live at 4:30 EST on NBC from Boston's Agganis Arena.
Dirrell (24-1, 16 KO) is taking a big step up in competition against DeGale (20-1, 14 KO), as Dirrell hasn't fought on this level in about five years, since his infamous Super Six bout with Arthur Abraham. DeGale, too, is ostensibly stepping up in competition from the likes of Marco Antonio Periban and Brandon Gonzales, as Dirrell at his best is, like DeGale, one of the best 168 pound fighters out there.
In the TV co-feature, Edwin Rodriguez (26-1, 17 KO) will face Craig Baker (16-0, 12 KO) in a 10-round light heavyweight fight. Rodriguez has won two straight since a loss to Andre Ward, while Baker is coming off of a win over Umberto Savigne.
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Edwin Rodriguez defeats Craig Baker by TKO (2:22 of round 3)
James DeGale defeats Andre Dirrell by unanimous decision (114-112, 117-109, 114-112)
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ROUND BY ROUND
EDWIN RODRIGUEZ vs CRAIG BAKER
Round 1: Rodriguez dominating the first half of the round here, working in angles and throwing power punches with both hands, mixing up his approach. Baker looking a bit overmatched against the home state fighter. Rodriguez whacking away with a right hand to the side of the head. Rodriguez 10-9
Round 2: Rodriguez wins another round handily and then this fight gets kicked off NBC and to NBC Sports for local news, to tell you how important this is. Rodriguez 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Referee stops a crap fight in the third round. Arguable stoppage at best but I don’t care because I’m a hypocrite and a bad person. Rodriguez TKO-3
ANDRE DIRRELL vs JAMES DEGALE
Round 1: Both pushing jabs out to start, coming up short. DeGale misses a wild left from the southpaw stance. Little body shot from DeGale. Dirrell with a counter uppercut as DeGale comes in and is short once again. Dirrell talking a little trash, DeGale back with something, who knows what. DeGale runs himself to the ropes and Dirrell lands a glancing blow. DeGale's lead lefts are looking deceptively slow. Quick little flurry inside from Dirrell, then DeGale ducks a left hand from Dirrell's southpaw stance. Jab from Dirrell. DeGale's lead left again slow and off the mark. More talking after the bell. Dirrell 10-9
Round 2: First minute of this round is a bit better from both, both landing decent shots here and there, while waiting for openings. DeGale cut over the right eye already that came from a good left, it seems. The cut appears to be flowing down to the inside corner of the eye. Dirrell is the guy going forward here, if that's what you base 94% of your scoring on. Dirrell landing good shots this round, cleaner blows, and then WHAM DIRRELL IS DOWN ON A LEFT HAND! Dirrell hurt and down again! DeGale 10-7, 19-17
Round 3: Dirrell does seem to have his legs back but you never know until he gets hit again. Dirrell comes forward with a left that doesn't land but Kenny Rice makes it seem like it did. It wasn't close and didn't get blocked or anything, it just missed. Nice chopping left from Dirrell against the ropes. DeGale not getting overanxious this round. Dirrell gets tagged again late in the round and clinches for dear life. Sound disappears in the last 20 seconds of the round. DeGale 10-, 29-26
Round 4: Dirrell comes out orthodox for round four, which may mean he's looking to bang, if the scouting reports hold. Right hook from DeGale lands, not huge, but Dirrell ties him up again. DeGale tags him again, pops Dirrell while he's listening to the referee after ref ordered them to fight again. DeGale warned or something for that? Dirrell back to the southpaw stance. NBC calls the round for Dirrell, but I don't see it at all. DeGale landed the better shots again. DeGale 10-9, 39-35
Round 5: Dirrell making the sort of basic mistakes that even a dummy like me can notice. Chin up in the air, drops his hands pulling back. Dirrell doing a little better this round, DeGale doing less. Dirrell's keeping the range he prefers better in this round. DeGale tries to steal the round late, but he let too much of this round get dictated by his opponent. Dirrell 10-9, DeGale 48-45
Round 6: Dirrell marking up some, bleeding from the nose. DeGale starting to push at him again this round. Dirrell worried about his trunks or something. DeGale corners him and lands a good body shot. Dirrell lands a good shot late in the round, but then gets drilled with a left hand on the chin. DeGale 10-9, 58-54
Round 7: Right hook from DeGale rattles Dirrell again, then DeGale misses a wild left, but not by a lot. That came in much quicker. I feel like DeGale may have set Dirrell up with slow, looping lead lefts early, hiding the speed he can generate with that punch when he throws it with intent. Dirrell with a little charge, DeGale covers up and blocks the flurry. DeGale blocking again, but Dirrell looks good throwing and pushing DeGale into the ropes. Dirrell 10-9, DeGale 67-64
Round 8: DeGale and Dirrell not throwing or landing a lot in the first half of this round, edge slightly to DeGale, which is backed up by the punch stats, but Dirrell is also seemingly more in control of himself. DeGale dropping his hands and might be looking to invite Dirrell in for something in counter. DeGale is also potentially biting himself in the ass by not being more aggressive. He's unlikely to get any favors on the score cards. Debatable round. Dirrell 10-9, DeGale 76-74
Round 9: I am stunned by DeGale's lack of activity. Dirrell outworking him yet again, and by quite a bit. Dirrell talking and landing some shots. Taunting DeGale late in the round, and DeGale makes faces. Dirrell: "Work! Work, motherfucker!" Dirrell 10-9, DeGale 85-84
Round 10: It's not that Dirrell is suddenly dominating, but he's doing better than DeGale, who is really doing F-all nothin'. What on earth is the DeGale side thinking at this point? Are they just preparing a statement about being robbed? Dirrell 10-9, 94-94
Round 11: Again, Dirrell not doing anything particularly special, but everything about the body language of the fighters and the activity level is leaning in Dirrell's favor. DeGale with a flurry inside, and lands a couple left hands. This round is winnable in the last 30 seconds. DeGale pops him with a good left hand. DeGale waking up in the last minute of this round. DeGale 10-9, 104-103
Round 12: Well, the fight may be in the balance, particularly if a judge called round 2 10-8 instead of 10-7. First minute not telling us much. DeGale is the guy coming forward, though, and throwing, while Dirrell is on the back foot. DeGale with a big flurry of shots to the body against the ropes, not a lot landing, maybe, but it matters at this point. Dirrell clips him with a right, DeGale ties him up quickly. DeGale caught with a left hand as he's throwing a right hook. Right hook from DeGale gets in moments later. DeGale looking like he might be closing this thing out. Dirrell missing shots as the fight ends. DeGale 10-9, 114-112