It was a busy weekend in the fight game with major cards on both Friday and Saturday night and several action-packed scraps. When the smoke cleared there were no major upsets, but there was some interesting developments for the super middleweight division which is currently one of the sport’s most interesting and active weight classes.
On Friday night the Dirrell brothers were in action via PBC on Spike and while both won, only one impressed fight fans. Anthony, aka “The Dog,” sunk his teeth into Caleb Truax early and never let go resulting in a first round stoppage. Just over a minute in, three big right hands led to a knockdown and when action resumed a fourth sent Truax down again and the referee called a halt. In the post-fight interview Dirrell called out the man who took his world title, Badou Jack.
Anthony’s brother also won, but in far less impressive fashion. In a mostly sloppy and tedious affair, Andre Dirrell defeated Blake Caparello of Australia by unanimous decision. The lone highlight was a second round knockdown by Caparello. After that, Dirrell controlled the fight but showed little zest for combat. While his brother took care of business and gave fans some action, Andre only excited the crowd during an inane post-fight interview in which he called out every world champion in existence.
But if you wanted excitement, you got it on the Ortiz vs Berto PBC card, where light heavyweights Thomas Williams Jr. and Edwin Rodriguez packed more action into six minutes than all ten rounds of Dirrell vs Caparello put together. The two contenders exchanged bombs at a furious pace until a left hook from Williams put Rodriguez down hard. He climbed to his feet but was unsteady and the referee stopped it. Williams may be the next challenger for Adonis Stevenson’s crown. On the same undercard, Jorge Lara overwhelmed Fernando Montiel in the first round, knocking him down four times.
Meanwhile, over on Showtime, fight fans had to feel satisfied after 24 action-packed rounds as James DeGale turned back a spirited challenge from unheralded Rogelio Medina and Badou Jack had to settle for a draw against veteran Lucian Bute. The champions are expected to meet in the summer to decide the undisputed king at 168.
DeGale vs Medina was the more competitive of the two bouts as Medina really gave the Britisher all he could handle. It was rough, close battle all the way, but DeGale’s greater natural talent seemed to be the difference, though some thought Medina’s non-stop body attack should have received more credit from the judges.
Badou Jack may have given the best performance of his career as he neutralized southpaw Bute for the first half of the bout, staying away from the former champion’s big left hand and denying him opportunities to load up. Bute came on in the late going, but it appeared to be too little, too late. However, two of the three judges thought highly enough of the challenger’s efforts to score the bout a draw, even though most saw Jack the clear winner.
Oh, and Floyd Mayweather basically announced he’ll be fighting again in September though Jim Gray had to really pry it out of him.
One of the most anticipated fights of the weekend was a long overdue rematch between welterweights Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto. Back in 2011 these two gave fight fans a thrilling war which saw Ortiz prevail by unanimous decision. Finally they meet again, but the rematch could not live up to the original. Ortiz started out well, boxing smartly and scoring a flash knockdown in the second round.
But Berto found his rhythm in round three and in the fourth landed a perfectly timed uppercut that dropped “Vicious” Victor hard. Ortiz beat the count but Berto didn’t let him off the hook. A flurry of heavy shots put him down again and when he just barely beat the count he appeared dazed, prompting the referee to wave it off. Berto can look forward to some meaningful match-ups given the deep roster of PBC fighters at 147, while Victor Ortiz may be finished as any kind of major attraction.
Finally, Anselmo Moreno outboxed Sor Rungvisai in Panama. Full report from Daniel Attias is forthcoming. — Robert Portis