Dirrell and Froch Both Confident of Victory in Super Six Tournament
Undefeated WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch (25-0, 20 KOs), of Nottingham, England, and unbeaten, 2004 Olympic U.S. medalist Andre Dirrell (18-0, 13 KOs), of Flint, Mich., participated in an international media conference call to discuss the 12-round showdown at Trent FM Arena in Nottingham, England, on Saturday, Oct. 17, live on SHOWTIME® (8 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).
The battle of unbeatens – the second half of a doubleheader on SHOWTIME® — will be for Froch’s WBC 168-pound title and the first fight for Froch and Dirrell in the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
In the opening Super Six Group Stage 1 bout on Oct. 17, undefeated former IBF middleweight champion “King’’ Arthur Abraham (30-0, 24 KOs), of Germany, will face former undisputed 160-pound titleholder Jermain “Bad Intentions’’ Taylor (28-3-1, 17 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., at 02 World Arena in Berlin, Germany. The Abraham-Taylor 12-rounder will be shown on SHOWTIME on same day delay.
Froch and Dirrell Conference Call Quotes
“My main goal is to become a superstar in boxing. I’m working hard as ever. This is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life. Expectations are actually higher than I anticipated. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Now is my time and the world is going to know Andre Dirrell at the end of this tournament.”
“I’m looking forward to getting the ball rolling on this fabulous Super Six World Boxing Classic. What can I say? Andre Dirrell is coming over here. He certainly talks a good one and he’s got the certain credentials in the amateurs.
I know what I’m going to do and I know what needs to be done on Oct. 17.
Do you normally train up in Big Bear, California?
“No, this is the first time. I trained in Texas for my last fight. Big Bear is a different environment, a higher altitude, so I’m getting the best work possible up here. I’m staying mentally focused and getting myself mentally prepared.”
Carl, how difficult is it preparing for a switch hitter for Dirrell?
FROCH: “It’s not difficult at all, I’ve got a switch hitting sparring partner. I’ve had good orthodox sparring, good southpaw sparring, I’ve got switch hitting sparring partners.
I’m actually very, very good against the southpaw position. Every single southpaw I’ve fought in my professional career, I’ve knocked out. I’ve got no problems, orthodox or southpaw. If Andre switches from southpaw to orthodox that means one of his sides is going to be a weak side. He’ll have to be careful on his weak side because I’m a very dangerous puncher.”
Can you talk about having to open this tournament and fight for your first world title in another man’s hometown?
DIRRELL: “I would do anything for the world title, so wherever I have to be, whoever I have to fight, wherever I have to go. I’ll do anything for the world title because I know I’m ready. He’s depending on me being mentally ill-prepared. That won’t happen. I’m coming over there in top-notch shape and my mental game is sick right now. I’m just ready to do anything for a world title. If that means I have to go over to Nottingham to pick up a world title, then that’s what I have to do. Regardless, I think this is going to be easy as pie.”
FROCH: “Nottingham is not too far a distance. I think hell and back is more like it.”
DIRRELL: “I’ll tell you one thing, if I have to go to hell to get the belt, if I have to fight the devil to get it, then I’ll be fighting you to get that title.”
How are you prepared for the change in time zones?
DIRRELL: “I just have to be mentally prepared. That’s all. I just go over there with the right mental game. Everything else is set. I’m ready.
Carl, you’ve fought some good fighters, but Andre might be the fastest fighter. How are you preparing for that?
FROCH: “Speed is not a problem. It’s all about distance, the timing. If you’re a professional boxer with the kind of experience I’ve had you know that speed isn’t a problem. Jermain Taylor was a very fast fighter. I’m working on what I need to work on to nullify the speed. But, if speeds the only problem I’ve got then I’m in for an easy night.”
What kind of pressure is on you by having to defend your title in your hometown?
FROCH: “I’ve boxed away from home in my last fight against Jermain Taylor and I think it’s a slight disadvantage going away from home to fight. Traveling over to America for me is the same, just the flight, it can bring you down. I’m happy it’s all happening for me in my hometown especially after my last fight being in Connecticut. I think it’s a big plus for me to be fighting in my hometown.
“Dirrell keeps talking about being mentally prepared. I don’t have to get mentally prepared. I’m a consummate professional. I’ve been in the trenches more than once and I’ve come out on top more than once. I’m an undefeated professional with an excellent knockout ratio. Being that I’m fighting in my hometown just makes my job a whole lot easier.”
How do you compare fighting from the beginning in small venues to something like this?
DIRRELL: “It’s a whole different stage. I just look at it like that. I’m the same type of fighter. I’m faster, I believe I’m the quicker man; I’m the more skilled boxer. I’m in the better situation. If he’s depending on his hometown, then he has a big problem. I’m glad he thinks it’s a slight advantage for him because he’s going to need it. I’m coming over with my ‘A’ game and I guarantee you that I will keep that crowd quite and he will be at a loss for words by the third or fourth round.”
How long did it take you to get used to training in Big Bear?
DIRRELL: “I actually thought I was going in there in pretty good shape for Big Bear, but I was wrong. I went eight-and-a-half miles the week before I came up, just getting ready for Big Bear. When I got up, I knew I was in for a shock. It took me two weeks just to get used to the altitude. The first week of training was really hard, but I fought through it. I kept my mind game right, I took care of my body. It took me about two-and-a-half weeks to actually get used to the altitude up here and to start working for myself.
“My mind game is strong. It always has been. I have a mean work ethic. I just tried to stay focused. I know that when it’s time to step up the game, I know that I won’t let anything get in the way. A little altitude won’t stop me. I’m chewing these miles up like it’s nothing, like it was on flat ground. My sparring partners are great. I’m already sparring 16 rounds.
“I’ve been a night owl my whole life, so 2 o’clock in the morning is nothing for me. I’m going to sleep on time here because I have to, but usually I’m up pretty late. I’ll adjust to the time. When something has to be done I don’t go asleep until it’s done. I don’t care if its four o’clock in the morning.”
Carl, I know you’ve only fought in America twice, but you’re 2-0 with two knockouts.
FROCH: “I’m well traveled. Like I said, I have a good amateur pedigree. When I travel I still fight well. I consider it a slight advantage to fight at home, but Andre is trying to bring some negativity to that. At the end of the day, it’s a slight advantage being at home but you don’t depend on those advantages.”
Carl, how much more confidence did that win over Jermain Taylor give you?
FROCH: “I was knocked down for the first time in my career, amateur or professional against a world class boxer in Jermain Taylor. He caught me with a good shot, he caught me cold. There were a few factors in that fight with the Allan Green fight going quite early. I literally put my gloves on and went straight into the ring. I’m not making any excuses, but I didn’t have any warm-up time at all before that fight. I was guilty of not being professional in the sense that I got in the ring cold.
“It was close, but I showed what I’m about in rounds 10, 11 and 12. I stepped up the gear and started putting my heavy artillery together and started landing some big shots. I could have boxed 15 rounds; I could have boxed 20 if that was necessary. I did what I needed to do in the last round. It felt great and installed me with more confidence, because it was the first time I’ve ever been down on the canvas. I was down, I got up and I kept my cool, calm composure and I did what I needed to do. I finished strong. It was such a big finish and it’s been received well.
“I’m looking forward to be bringing it all back to Nottingham and defending my title. I’m just really excited. I’m in such a good position and I’m just excited about this whole tournament and being successful through the tournament.
“You know I’m a big puncher. My record speaks for itself. If I get anyone, and not just Andre Dirrel, in the position where they’re down and they’re hurt, I’m one of the best finishers in the business. That’s why TVs are excited about showing my fight, because I’m exciting, I’m a big puncher and the knockouts come easy for me.”
DIRRELL: “If you’re looking forward to knocking anything out it will have to be the air. That man won’t be able to touch me in the air. Every fighter is entitled to their own opinion. He is a great finisher. He’s a very strong puncher, but I’ve been in there with a million guys like him. Not on the skill level or experience base, but all through my amateur and professional career, even with sparring partners. Truth be told, he has never, ever faced a guy like Andre Dirrell, and he’s going to see that in the fight. Not talking, not hyping myself up, it’s the truth. He’s never been in there with someone as fast as me, with a guy who can switch up like me. I don’t care who he’s sparring with out there. He’s on the right track, but he’s on the wrong train because they’re not going to get him ready for Andre Dirrell.
“If I can come with my ‘A’ game, I can make this happen. But if I’m not careful, like I said, Carl Froch is a very powerful puncher. I take nothing from him. It’s going to be a heck of a fight. I’m just coming prepared; I’m just going to be ready. I know he’s doing the same. I’m just really, really ready to show off my talent and show off my skill.”
Andre, can you tell me what you thought of Froch’s performance against Jermain Taylor?
DIRRELL: “He definitely showed the most heart. He showed that he can be in there with a top, world class opponent, and he showed how to overcome being hurt. He showed 100 percent toughness. He showed that he’s a heck of a fighter. Getting in there with a guy like him after he fought Jermain Taylor, I know he’s going to give it 100 more percent. So, you have to be ready and you have to be a very careful fighter.
“I wouldn’t say he was dominated. You could say it was close. Like I said, he showed heart. He showed that he wanted it more, period. He went in there and he put in his work. Regardless of what the scorecard was, he knew what he had to do, he did it and he won it like a champ. He got the belt and he handled himself very well. That’s why I’m looking forward to him coming with his ‘A’ game because I’m coming with mine. I’m just looking forward to him coming with his ‘A’ game so there will be no excuses.”
Who do you each regard as the toughest challenge in this tournament?
DIRRELL: “I don’t want to comment on any other fight but this one. This is my world championship time. This isn’t just another fight coming up for me. This is time for me to make a statement and make a name for myself and that’s what I’m focusing on right now.”
FROCH: “Looking at the tournament, I’d say just based on experience, pedigree and proven entity, I’d say Mikkel Kessler. He’s only lost one fight, and that was to Joe Calzaghe, who’s obviously dominated the super middleweight (division) for years. But, I consider Mikkel Kessler, and rightly so, to be a serious threat in the tournament. But, I’m the most dangerous opponent in the tournament and I think everyone knows that. That’s why all the boxing press in the world has got me as the favorite.”
Carl, earlier there was talk about you fighting Lucian Bute. What was it that got you to fight in this tournament?
FROCH: “You talk about Lucian Bute, he had a very hard time against Librado Andrade in his last fight. In fact, I consider that he got beat in that fight. Librado Andrade, in my eyes, won that fight. Let’s not forget Mikkel Kessler easily outboxed Andrade. Mikkel Kessler is in this tournament. So, we’ve got the cream of the crop in the Super Six World Boxing Classic. We don’t even need to be mentioning other fighters. Mention Bute? In my opinion, he needs to grow a set of stones because he didn’t want to fight me. And he didn’t want any part of this tournament either. This tournament sums up the super middleweight division. It sums up the core champions, myself, Mikkel Kessler, Jermain Taylor, previous world proven Arthur Abraham, then we’ve got Dirrell and Ward, who are Olympic medalists who mean business. They’re good fighters. They’re coming into this with intentions of winning the tournament. Let’s talk about the tournament and not worry about the other fighter. Let’s not worry about who’s not in the tournament because we’ve got the cream of the crop here.”
Who do you fancy in the other fight on Oct. 17, between Jermain Taylor and Arthur Abraham?
DIRRELL: Jermian Taylor has to come in shape. Jermain has to come ready and he has to come prepared. He can win it if he outboxes him, but if not, Arthur Abraham will make easy work of him.
FROCH: Jermain obviously has far superior boxing ability and he could outbox Arthur Abraham in a one-sided affair. But, can he sustain a boxing lesson for 12 rounds? There’s a question mark on that. What has he got left after what I did to him in the last few rounds? Physically and mentally, what he has left after that? We’ll find out.
Andre, how are you going to make up for the experience factor that Carl has?
DIRRELL: I just have to be in tip-top shape. I know my skills, I’m a world championship fighter. I believe my time is now. All I have to do is come in shape and with a sound mind, and I believe that I will make it happen. Like I said, I’ve been in there with tough, tough fighters all through my career. My toughest up to date was Victor Oganov. Nobody has ever pressured me as hard as he did. I had to prove myself then and I stopped him in six. He’s a lot shorter than Carl Froch, but if you pay attention, it’s harder to hit shorter guys, on top of the defense that he has, I broke through that. I just have to come in in shape and I believe I’ll be able to handle the very well.
Do you think you’re being underestimated in this tournament?
DIRRELL: “Not only that, but I should be. Like I said, you have four other world champions in this tournament (including former world champions). In this case, it’s understandable. My only task is to show up for it, and I believe I will do that. I believe I will show my true skills. I should be (underestimated), it’s not surprising. It just means I have to prove more to the crowd and I believe I’ll be ready to do that when the time comes.”
Carl, how do you avoid looking past Dirrell?
FROCH: “Well, you just touched on it right there, I’m a professional. I don’t look past any opponent and I train for every single fight like I’m challenging for a world title. It’s difficult; it’s hard to become a world champion. I went toe-to-toe with Jean Pascal for 12 rounds to win my title. I’m a proud, proud warrior. I’ve gone 12 rounds with a guy who has since become a light heavyweight world champion. And, I went to defend my crown in America against Jermain Taylor, a former undisputed world champion and a top, top quality fighter. I don’t take anybody lightly. I know what’s in front of me and I’m realistic, I don’t put anything down or take anything for granted. It’s not difficult for me to look past anybody because I prepare hard, I train hard, and I do what I need to do to remain a champion of the world, which is what I am, which is what I’m staying, with no underestimation coming from this part of the Atlantic.
“I’m ready to rock and roll at 2 a.m. By the time it comes, I’m ready to unleash hell.”
Why did you decide to leave training in Vegas to go to Big Bear?
DIRRELL: “I decided to make this transition because this fight and this whole tournament is a different transition. Every guy from here on out will be world class fighters. I believe I have to work at a world class environment, and this is definitely it. Oscar De La Hoya has trained up here, Sugar Shane Mosley trained up here. It’s a tough environment, period. You have to be mentally focused because anything can break you down. Big Bear is a tough place to train and I’ve overcome that already. These last two weeks of training will just add on to the fire. I know I’m more ready than I’ve ever been.”
Andre, is it better for you for this fight to get over with early to string on for 12 rounds?
DIRRELL: “It’s better for me to showcase my talent. That’s all I have to do. All I have to do is showcase my talent and show that I belong here. That’s the key. If it goes 12 rounds, I shouldn’t have a thing to worry about because I’m a hell of a boxer. If it goes by knockout, then it means I either made him quit or I showed that I have power as well. Either way it goes, it should turn out that I am the world champion. Either way, I’ll be ecstatic because it will be me holding that belt in the end.”
Carl, same question:
FROCH: “I work hard, not for one round or five rounds, but for 12 rounds. One thing I don’t do is fade, and the last thing to go for me is my punching power. It’s always nice to knock an opponent out in round one because you don’t risk doing anything and you don’t get paid for overtime in this sport. If I can knock him out in round one, I’ll knock him out in round one and get off and celebrate with my family and friends. Either way, a wins a win. That’s what I’m there to do. I’m there to defend my title. I’m world champion and I will remain world champion. If you’re asking me for a prediction, I can not see this fight going past seven or eight rounds. I’m punching so, so hard and I’m powerful. I’ve seen some chinks in Dirrell’s armor, that I’ve noticed, and I’m confident I’m going to get my big punches going and it will be over before the 12 round bell rings.”
DIRRELL: “That’s funny. That’s how he feels. Like I said, every fighter is entitled to his opinion, but I’m looking forward to everything, whether it be 12 rounds or before that. If it goes seven, then my speed was too much for him and he was underestimating my power. The only way I’m going in the seventh round is if you swing so hard that the wind from the air will knock me out. That’s the only way I’m going down, buddy.
Photo credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME