Andre Dirrell and James DeGale have a lot of similarities entering Saturday’s IBF super middleweight title fight at Agganis Arena in Boston.
Both fighters have at least 20 wins, more than 10 knockouts and only one loss on their records. They also own Olympic medals.
Each man also understands this fight represents a great chance to further his career, and that there might not be too many of these opportunities left.
“My time is here,” DeGale said Wednesday on a media conference call. “My time is here, next Saturday. I’ve trained extremely hard, and you’re in for a treat because you’re going to watch two very talented hungry fighters next Saturday fight it out for a world title.
“I honestly think it’s going to be a hell of a fight, one I’m confident of winning. So, fasten your seatbelts, man. It should be good.”
Dirrell took a more laid-back approach at Thursday’s press conference at Fenway Park.
“The tension is there, man,” Dirrell said. “I understand, that’s why I like to lighten the mood, stay comfortable. It’s all a part of the game, just have fun. Get in that ring and (morph) then. Morph then, it’s (expletive)-kicking time in that ring. But outside, it’s all love. I don’t have no animosity with nobody. I’m a smiling man, I love life, I’m very positive. I’ve been through hell and back, man. I’m ready to see the ring.”
Dirrell largely has been out of the boxing spotlight over the last few years. After a split-decision loss to Carl Forch in October 2009 — a defeat he still doesn’t agree with — the former Olympic bronze medalist has fought six times and won each bout. This run of success has helped him earn a huge opportunity against one of the best middleweight fighters in the world on a national television stage.
“That’s why I think Floyd (Mayweather) is going to come back to boxing, because regardless if you leave undefeated or leave as one of the greats, leave your stamp, you’re going to miss this damn game,” Dirrell said. “And why? Because you’re name is not being said anymore.
“In my prime, Andre Dirrell’s not being talked about? It killed me. That was hell. I found reasons not to train for that. I couldn’t get over the fact that they weren’t saying my name anymore on top of not fighting.”
Check out how DeGale and Dirrell stack up below.
Tale of the Tape
Record: Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs), DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs)
Age: Dirrell 31, DeGale 29
Height: Dirrell 6-foot-2, DeGale 6 foot
Weight: Dirrell 167.8 pounds, DeGale 167.2 pounds (from Friday’s weigh-in results)
Stance: Both southpaw
Reach: Both 75 inches
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@premierboxing
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