James DeGale became the first British Olympic gold medalist to go on to win a professional world title today in Boston, edging out Andre Dirrell in an interesting fight that was nearly split into two halves. Scores were 114-112, 114-112, and a wild 117-109, all for DeGale, who is now the IBF super middleweight titleholder, a belt that was vacated by Carl Froch earlier this year. BLH had it 114-112 for DeGale.
DeGale (21-1, 14 KO) dropped Dirrell hard in the second round on an overhand left, and put Dirrell down again moments later, taking a 10-7 round that looked like it had Dirrell (26-2, 14 KO) all but finished. Luckily for Dirrell, the knockdowns came late in the round, and he was able to get out of the frame.
DeGale stayed in control for the next few rounds, but in the middle rounds and down the stretch, Dirrell battled back, as DeGale took his foot off the gas and laid back, not throwing punches. Dirrell wasn't so much taking over the fight as DeGale was throwing it away.
After ten rounds, we had the fight even up at 94-94, with Dirrell actually ahead in rounds, 6-4. But DeGale did turn it back up in the final two rounds, winning both rounds on our card to take the 114-112 win. Still, it's hard to argue he didn't make this closer than it really needed to be. Dirrell's confidence was shaken early, but DeGale didn't press that matter, and Dirrell was able to work himself back into the fight. This is not to say Dirrell doesn't deserve credit for rebounding from the knockdowns, but the fact that this fight became close is more on DeGale than it is Dirrell's comeback in the bout.
What did you think of the fight? How did you score it?