March 28, 2010

Super middleweight Andre Dirrell has been released from the hospital after being knocked out by a savage illegal punch from Arthur Abraham last Saturday, Dirrell's promoter Gary Shaw told Dirrell, who was awarded a disqualification victory, was hit after slipping to the canvas in the 11th round of his Super Six Tournament fight with Abraham. Dirrell, 26, spent three hours in the hospital before being released.

"He was a little woozy," said Shaw. "He looked like someone with a stomach virus. He didn't walk out of there with a spry gate. But he didn't have a brain bleed and we think he is going to be O.K.

It was a disappointing finish for Dirrell (19-1), who put on a boxing clinic against Abraham over the first ten rounds. Dirrell was more active than he had been in his previous fight, a loss to WBC champion Carl Froch, firing off blistering combinations and knocking Abraham down for the first time in his career in the 4th round.

Abraham (31-1) looked slow in the first loss of his career. Though his defense absorbed many of Dirrell's shots, he threw significantly fewer punches and appeared rattled by Dirrell's relentless assault. In the 11th Abraham, who was trailing on all three judges' cards, tagged Dirrell with a hard right hand while Dirrell was defenseless on the canvas.

"Desperate people do desperate things," said Shaw. "[Abraham] knew he was way behind and he unloaded on him. It was intentional. Fighters know when other fighters are down. He thought he could weaken Dirrell more."

Abraham's promoter, Wilfred Sauerland, denied that Abraham intended to hit Dirrell when he was down.

"The TV pictures indicate that Dirrell was down, but there is no way Arthur could have realized that in the heat of the moment," said Sauerland. "He was just trying to keep up the attack. However, Dirrell is a very good actor. We are glad that his check-up at the hospital turned out just fine but frankly we did not expect any other outcome since he was just acting. He deserves an Oscar for his performance."

Said Abraham, "I wish him all the best and hope he is fine. I thought I could still punch because the referee did not stop us. In the heat of the moment I was not watching his feet but only his head. As a professional boxer, you always try and pressure."

Shaw believes Abraham, 30, is making excuses for lackluster performance.

"Abraham can never beat a true boxer," said Shaw. "Arthur is Winky Wright without the skills. Andre went out and showed what a boxer can do. He was faster. He was the more natural athlete. He grew up in this fight. He graduated."

A Michigan native, Dirrell's second fight in his home state could be his last. Dirrell's slip came a few rounds after referee Laurence Cole stopped the action to clean up a puddle in the same spot. Cole, meanwhile, was several feet away from the action when Dirrell went down and didn't move swiftly to break it up before Abraham's crippling blow.

In addition, some have questioned the actions of the medical personnel at the arena. Dirrell, who appeared to briefly lose consciousness while on the mat, was helped up and, despite being obviously disoriented in a post fight interview, allowed to walk back to his dressing room before being taken to the hospital. Had the fight been in New York or Las Vegas, it is likely Dirrell would have been carried out on a stretcher.

"I just don't think [Michigan] has enough big fight experience," said Shaw.

Shaw says Dirrell should recover in time for his next fight against Andre Ward. Ward is scheduled to face Allan Green in June, meaning a Ward-Dirrell fight likely won't take place until the fall.

"The way the schedule is, he should be alright," said Shaw.

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