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My Brother The Boxer, The Terry Daniel Story by Jeff Daniels

My Brother The Boxer, The Terry Daniel Story by Jeff Daniels

This interesting self published book follows 7 years of Texas heavyweight contender Terry Daniels from his brief debut with the Southern Methodist University Mustang football team to his title challenge of champion Joe Frazier in New Orleans the day before Superbowl V in 1972. 70 million viewers are estimated to have watched Frazier to defend against Daniels on free terrestial TV for context to today.

While not a pure biography, it can be seen as an authenic ethnographic record of a young man born into a loving middle class family during the Harry Truman presidency to mature during the Vietnam War torn, racial rioting America of the 1960s. Raised in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, he has to come to Texas for his first bar fights, first love and marriage, and rapid rise to stardom in boxing after a knee injury ended his football aspirations.

This coming of age in the mythologized ’60s is as much God, family, honor, and country as the machinations of a storied boxing era of Texas amateur boxing with Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, and of course Terry Daniels

http://www.mybrothertheboxer.com

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===Parallels=== of Muhammad Ali & Jerry Quarry

by Bobby Mac

Muhammad Ali and Jerry Quarry fought each other twice in the early 70s, never for a world title but for the opportunity of projected future stakes.

Ali vs Quarry

Ali vs Quarry

Ali won both times via early cut stoppages that always lent an anti-climatic ending to the fights before they seemed to be properly warmed up. The best action of the abbreviated series for me was the 2nd fight when Quarry picked up Ali on his shoulder at one frustrating point and threatened to dump him onto the arena concrete floor before setting him down again.

Quarry was understandably upset both times with the stoppages, yet always in vain since The Powers That Be that conspire with The Fates always had bigger things in store for the Gold Medalist darling of the 1960 Olympic Games who was well on his way to becoming Muhammad Ali of legend.

Despite the divergence of their careers,  Ali the long time champ with Quarry as the long time contender, there are enough parallels between Ali and Quarry that it could almost be said that Ali was the long lost “eldestth” brother of Jerry, Mike, Bobby and James Quarry.

OK, so Ali had his own brother in boxing, Rudy, so maybe that’s stretching things too far, but hear me out on the parallels as we follow their timelines.

Ali and Quarry both turned pro as popular teenagers after acclaimed amateur careers and experienced great success. Ali  got his first title shot at age 22 against Sonny Liston, whereas 22yr old Quarry proved himself against the widely ducked contender of the 50-60s, Eddie Machen. Though there was a stark difference in results, I thought Quarry did enough to pocket the win against the crafty Machen in their non title affair. The close loss against a defensive minded Machen turned out to be a plague that resurfaced like a bad rash at the most inopportune moments for the rest of Quarry’s career.

Both Ail and Quarry were involved in Ring Fights of the Year for their first title shots, Ali against aforementioned Liston in 1964, and Quarry in 1969 against a prime Joe Frazier in what is surely the most ferociously fought battle of the modern heavyweight era. The blistering pace and the bruising phone booth style slugging that sees Quarry and Frazier hammer each other back and forth across the ring simply has to be witnessed to be believed.:

Follow the relevant links to the conclusion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqGZIYpOF9M

Jerry Quarry was three years younger than Ali and one year younger than Frazier, first appearing in Ring rankings during Ali’s last year of boxing, 1967, the fateful year that Ali’s draft conviction propelled him into exile. It fell to Quarry, Jimmy Ellis, and Joe Frazier primarily to fight the prime lot of late 60s contenders that Ali missed out on, names like Buster Mathis, Oscar Bonavena, Bob Foster, and each other, all fought before Ali got to them in the 70s.

That late 60s era was as vibrant and competitive as any in history, yet is often overlooked as though boxing had officially ended when Ali went into exile. We can envision Ali fans all queuing up Don McLean’s big hit, The Day the Music Died when Ali announces that he is vacating his title. Boxing may have died for Ali fans, but the many compelling heavyweight fights waged during the Ali exile were often ambitious undertakings that deserve a special niche in heavyweight history.

More important to the still developing Jerry Quarry was his part in the late ‘60s eight man WBA elimination tourney that saw him defeat Floyd Patterson and Thad Spencer before just losing out to defensive minded Jimmy Ellis in the finals. That fight, again, could have just as easily gone Quarry’s way as the more active aggressor landing the bigger shots, a role that the naturally counterpunching Quarry was forced into adapting to make the fight happen after the elusive jab & move style of Ellis negated much of Quarry’s bread and butter counterpunch style at ring center.

Quarry retained his high Ring rankings into the mid 70s, so during 1970 when Ali scrambled to find a venue to stage his return to the ring, Atlanta, Georgia as it turned out, it was Jerry Quarry who was willing to run the public political gauntlet to get the fight made at a backwater venue lacking a boxing commission. Beating Quarry in his highly publicized comeback enabled Ali’s push towards his goal of challenging Joe Frazier for the rights to his old title, the fabled Fight of the Century promotion.

Just like Quarry in 1969, Ali lost out to the pulverizing Frazier in 1971’s Ring Fight of the Year, one of the truly memorial classics that bookmark people’s exact moment in their lives forever.

Was Smokin’ Joe ever in a dull fight?

When Ali beat Quarry again in 1972, Ali was again successfully maneuvering his way through the changing heavyweight landscape that ultimately saw him challenge and defeat the new champ, George Foreman,  in the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle.

Jerry Quarry could never quite put together the correct winning sequence of fights to manage a crack against Big George, but the fight was out there, waiting for the right moment like so many great fights that never get made.

Foreman vs Quarry

Foreman vs Quarry

Nonetheless, Quarry stayed more than relevant with his own “best ever” performances, knocking out undefeated KO artist Mac Foster along side a stunning 1st round KO of Ernie Shavers to go with his beatdown of Ron Lyle well before Ali ever laid a glove to them.

That’s three of some of the hardest hitting preeminent sluggers of any era who took it hard to Ali big time, yet they were chopped down as if they were nothing more than a pesky patch of scrub brush to be cleared by Quarry.

And yet there was nothing more Irish Jerry Quarry could ever do that was enough to reclaim another challenge to the title after his only two shots fell short in 1969. He was helpless to prevent the Standers, Romans, Wepners, Coopmans, and Dunns from staking their “challenges” to the title. Time and promoters had simply bypassed Quarry who had the ultimate misfortune to be tagged by the media with the “Great White Hope” and “He cuts” monikers, dismissing him as a bloody hapless no hoper, the pugilistic kiss of death.

Like Ali, Quarry toyed with retirement and then soldiered on past his twilight years, neither one ever finding that graceful exit from the sport that brought them so much acclaim that it becomes an addictive way of life.

Like Ali, Quarry’s health took a precipitous decline as he aged, suffering from a morbidly flat affectation that robbed him of his sharp personality and wit. Of all the guest commentators over the years that I’ve seen at big matches, Jerry Quarry was by far the most intelligent and insightful with the ability to translate the boxing in the ring into a common, easy to understand language for the public, but that Jerry Quarry was soon lost forever.

Jerry Quarry

Jerry Quarry

Just as with Ali, it was tragic to see him robbed of his speech and ability to care for himself, these cocky, two physically compelling iron chinned warriors who defined their heavyweight eras. Perhaps the most chilling part of what should have been his post career highlight is to see the mid 50ish Jerry Quarry interviewed on the eve of his induction to the World Boxing Hall of Fame looking as helpless as a little lost lamb at a barbecue when he looks feebly down at his feet after a question.

It was from a distant place far, far away in his mind when Jerry Quarry is barely able to mumble, “I feel……like an old man.”

The widely acclaimed Ali has more notably declined before our very eyes, to the point of needing a wheelchair when he was sometimes so enfeebled, but some good news is that his medical team in charge of his therapy has seemingly revitalized him to some extent, probably with the latest drug developments. The last I saw him, he was looking fairly well and sturdy again even if he needs the assistance of his wife and a female aid to keep him in an upright position as he shuffles about.

But it’s already been a couple of years since I’ve seen him in public, so as Ali nears his allotted three score and 10 years, any good health still possessed by him is sure to become more uncertain.

Ali the Hawk

Ali the Hawk

Yet in the midst of their incapacities, there were always inner glimpses of the warriors of old when Ali and Quarry momentarily find a glint of that ruthless, hawkish, predator mentality that looks to swoop down on helpless prey for the finish.

And like Jerry Quarry, Ali also has his own Irish links. Yes, Virginia, that was a leprechaun a dancin’a jig in the ol’ Kintuck woodpile.

 Ali returned to the roots of his Irish great grandfather’s birthplace, visting Ennis,  County Clare, Ireland to his usual throng of admiring crowds only two years ago.

Mama Clay at Play

Mama Clay at Play

Ali’s great-grandfather, Abe Grady eventually settled in the US state of Kentucky in the 1860s and married a freed slave. One of their grandchildren, Odessa Lee Grady Clay, gave birth to Ali, AKA Cassius Clay, and Ali truly did love his Mama dearly.

His previous, more private visit years before to the green emerald had been less heralded but more informative. Like so many Americans influenced by the ground breaking Roots episodic TV movie, he finally saw fit to connect with the Irish side of his heritage after so many years of connecting to African roots.

It was inevitable that Ali was steered in the direction of the undefeated King of the Gypsies, Bartley Gorman, famed Irish Traveler bare knucks champ whose signature finishing move was his legendary Bull Hammer Punch. Gorman is also known as a distant uncle to the up and coming fringe British heavyweight contender Tyson Fury.

Gorman was a great admirer of Ali, so apparently they hit if off immensely, and as legendary encounters of the sweet science are want to go, they staged an historic private sparring session as each put the other through their paces on the way to mutual respect.

Gorman vs Ali

Gorman vs Ali

It’s pure speculation that somewhere in these Irish genes are the roots of the legendary toughness of Muhammad Ali and Jerry Quarry as well as their propensity to suffer immensely from the delayed effects of too many punches, yet they share so many common bonds that defined their early successes and later problems in life that a connection cannot be easily dismissed either.

Ali and Quarry both finished their careers with similar numbers, Ali at 56-5, 37 KO in 61 fights with 550 professional rounds to Quarry at 53-9-4, 32 KO in 66 fights with 419 ring rounds. Quarry is supposed to have first donned the gloves at age 3 and Ali as a young teen, so adding in all their amateur rounds and untold sparring and exhibition rounds that both were very fond of, each is doubtless well into the hundreds of spar sessions over thousands of rounds.

Yet we have examples of fighters with longer professional careers of the same era who aged well with less readily apparent damage to their mental and physical functions in George Foreman, Larry Holmes, and Earnie Shavers. True understanding of pugilistic related declines and maladies is an ongoing process. Athletes from other physical sports suffering from the effects of hard body collisions and head concussions such as American Football, “Soccer,” Ice Hockey, and rodeo are being interviewed and evaluated. Even work related accidents and traffic accidents and now the military have become part of a broader study, yet there can be little doubt that life itself can take a toll on anyone as it usually does as we make our way through our preciously allotted time on this earth, much less adding in too much boxing on top of that.

Jerry Quarry has already been released from his earthly bonds, R.I.P., January 3, 1999. He never reaped the benefits of modern research, but we should all thank our stars above for the opportunity to have borne witness to Muhammad Ali and Jerry Quarry and the rest of their era mixing in with our own timelines.

Go forth with the big right hand of God guiding you gentlemen and thanks for all the great fights and memories.

The Battle of the Weakest Links

By Bobby Mac

OK, for a bit of fun with the usual suspects decrying the Vitali Klitschko title defense against Albert The Dragon Sosnowski. The complainant is usually moaning about the golden days when there was only one champ fighting the toughest contenders, blah, blah, blah.

But, just how valid is that complaint? Let’s take a look at the heavyweight champs who put together a nice, long title run and find out which challengers were the weakest and run them head to head against Sosnowski for the WBC, Weak Boxing Council Heavyweight Title.

Sosnowski vs Klitschko

Sosnowski vs Klitschko

Jim Jeffries: Jack Finnegan, The Pittsburg Stogie, 180 lbs with a record of 1-2-2, 1 KO with 2 losses by KO.

Result: Not hard to envision the 6-2, 225 lb Dragon knocking out The Pittsburg Stogie sooner rather than later.

Jack Johnson:  Tony Ross, 5-9, 215lbs with a record of 11-6-2, 11 KO with 4 losses by KO combined with 2 DQs. The “Italian Bearcat” 1-3-2 going into the bout.

Result: I’d imagine this would be a fairly easy Sosnowski KO. Ross had a win over fringe contender Mike Schreck and a win over Lightheavy HOFer George Gardener in his last bout on a losing streak, not enough to beat a prime Sosnowski in the shape of his life.

Jack Dempsey:  Jimmy Darcy, 40-32-33. A ton of fights against the era’s HOFers, Fighting Jimmy was briefly a top era middleweight with knockdowns of ironmen Harry Greb and Tommy Loughran. He was a Dempsey sparring partner going into this 4 rd exhibition. It was only technically considered a title fight by a ruling by the New York State Athletic Commission.

Result: Fighting Jimmy is actually a threat over 4 rounds that he was a specialist in. His best wins are against era title challenger Fireman Flynn, but I seriously doubt he has a prayer over any true champsionship distance against big Albert.

Joe Louis: Cynics of course christened a period of Louis defenses “Bum of the Month Club,” but those fighters actually had Ring rankings. While Louis was in the Army in 1942, he boxed an 4 rd exhibition in New York against one Johnny Davis, 190 lbs, 3-3-0, and, yepper, you guessed it, those loony New York State Athletic Commishes ruled that it was a title fight.

Result:  Johnny lasted 53 seconds against Louis and went on long losing knockout streaks after this bout, going 2-15. Maybe Johnny lasts longer, but how much longer is a moot point. He was a knockout waiting to happen, so another Sosnowski walkover, making him 4-0, 4 KO on my card, so, moving on….

Ezzard Charles: Charles had a nice 9 win title streak going that typically passes under the boxing radar. Freddie Beshore was 5-9, 185 lbs, 28-8-1 with 2 losses by KO going into his title challenge against Charles, 3-3 in his last 6 bouts.

Result: Beshore’s best win was over HOFer Tiger Jack Fox at the end of his career, but, otherwise lost to era contenders. Sorry, but I just can’t see a 5-9 fighter of his talent level giving Big Albert much bother. Beshore lasted 14 against 185lb  Charles, so maybe he could go a 12rd distance, but, regardless of Sosnowski’s few failings, he’s much more consistent and would be a lopsided favorite.

Floyd Patterson: Well, Floyd is a rare combination of underrated and overrated champion noted for avoiding his era’s strongest challenges. His weakest opponent hands down is Pete Rademacher, a full sized heavyweight at 6-1, 200 lbs, but only 0-0-0, 0 KO. Yup, that’s no typo. Pete was the Olympic heavyweight gold medalist given a title fight on his debut.

Pete Rademacher

Pete Rademacher

Result: Pete put up a decent scrap, flooring Patterson in the 2nd round and was within a few seconds of making it into the 7th round, but unfortunately was knocked down 6x. Sorry to say, this has to be another walkover for Albert. Figure he’s up 6-0, 5 KO for the WBC title.

Muhammed Ali: Ali had two solid runs and has several weak champs he defended against, but one name stands out, Jean Pierre Coopman, The Lion of Flanders, a solid 6-0, 205, 24-3-0, a pretty decent record, right?

Result: Jean Pierre had never fought out of Belgium, never fought much less beat even a fringe contender, and his career took a distinct southward turn after his 5th round KO by Ali. Yes sir, another walkover for big Albert.

Joe Frazier: Smokin’ was the heavyweight of the 60s for me when you look at who he fought, but when he won the title he found a couple of soft defenses against Manuel Ramos and David Zyglewicz. Ramos had the patchy record, but had beaten a legit era contender in Eddie Machen, so enter Ziggy into our WBC elimination, 5-10, 190 lbs, 28-1, but never having fought much less beat a fringe contender.

Result: Ziggy fought well for 1:36 of the 1st round, but that was all he was good for. Ziggy had a little power and was squat, waterbug quick and has an outside punchers chance in a good style matchup, but I gots to go with Sosnowski in this, a much bigger, more proven heavy.

Larry Holmes: Holmes padded out his record big time running up 20 straight title wins. Los Tres Amigos, Alfredo Evanglista, Lucien Rodriguez, and Lorenzo Zanon stand out as weak Europeans as getting title shots only by beating each other. Enter one ex champ and Olympic Lightheavy Gold Medalist, Leon Neon Spinks, 6-1, 200 lbs, 10-2-2 with one loss by KO.

Leon!

Leon!

Result: Leon was in the process of dissipation, though he managed to knock out a fading Evanglista and Bernardo Mercado who managed to obtain a Ring ranking. OK, Leon was fast, active, and aggressive and it’s possible he could outwork Big Al. However, in his 9 KO losses, Leon never saw the end of the 7th round and 4 of those Kos came in the 1st round. Got to favor Sosnowski here, but Leon is a live dog and closes the odds.

Mike Tyson: Tyson’s first run as champ was super solid, whereas I’m tempted to ignore his 2nd run which was a fraud perpetuated on the public. The Peter McNeeley fight was a joke, but he regained his title against a good era contender/champ Frank Bruno, so enter his first defense,Bruce Seldon , 6-1, 230 lbs with all his losses coming against era champs, McCall, Bowe, and Tubbs. Seldon had beaten a number of fringe contenders, contenders, and former champs though and was a legit ranked heavy.

Result: Seldon is by far the biggest, strongest, most dangerous opponent for Sosnowski. He performed pathetically against Tyson, but wouldn’t be too afraid to put his punches together against Sosnowski. I’d make Seldon the favorite here, so Albert takes his first loss, losing his WBC crown to make him 9-1-0, 8 KO thus far.

Lennox Lewis: Lewis had a pretty good run that made him the heavyweight of the 90s, so enter one Phil Jackson, 6-1, 215 lbs, 30-1 with one KO loss to Razor Ruddock.

Result: Jackson had only faced one contender, was smashed to smidgets and never showed he could be a ranked fighter. Sosnowski has the more credible career, is bigger, stronger and has to be the favorite. I’m thinking a wide decision for big Albert, now being the 2x WBC champ with a useful title record of 10-1-0, 8 KO.

My conclusion is that the history is clear. Vitali has plenty of leeway before anyone has any rights to complain about the quality of Albert Sosnowski regardless of the result.

Listen Up: Without Peer, The One & The Only, Archie Moore

by Bobby Mac

First off, a disclaimer needs to be noted. I have always like Archie Moore before ever consciously thinking about what he meant to boxing.

It came about naturally just as the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west.

I mean, what was there not to like about this smiling, affable, congenial, just about every friendly descriptor that could be applied to him up to and including beaming man. Yes, Archie Moore as often as not was literally beaming good vibes, happiness, confidence, just about every positive descriptor that can be conjured and beaming them to every corner of the earth.

“Now, hold on right there podnah,” I can hear you saying, “how old are you, and this Moore fella, was he a saint who boxed or what?”

The Student & The Teacher

The Student & The Teacher

Well, I tell you that The Ol’ Mongoose proved that age was irrelevant, and yes, Archie could be said to be a saint who boxed, a wise sage who boxed, a desperately hungry man who boxed, an assassin who boxed, a grandfather, father, husband, and uncle who boxed. He was all these descriptors and more.

“Oh, come on.” you say, “You’re just gonna launch into another the good ol’ days being better than now. Today’s boxers are better trained and better athletes and this ol’ git would be lucky to be ranked.”

How about I recount to you a familiar story, the story of Bernard Hopkins who has often compared himself to Archie Moore? How many fights has he won after turning 40, and how many of your modern ABC belts were on the line? 

Hang on before you scurry off, let me save you the trouble, podnah.

Hopkins’ post 40 career record is 6-3, 0 KO and 3-3 in “title” bouts that generously include the light heavy Ring title he fought for 3x. He fought from middleweight to lightheavyweight.

“Not bad for a 40 year old legend,” you say?

Yeah, but the purpose is to compare to THE LEGEND, the Ol’ Mongoose, Archie Moore, the fighter Mr. Hopkins claims to be most like.

Now, grab your crotch, I don’t want the family jewels busting open on the concrete when I give you Archie’s numbers. How’s about 43-4-2 and 10-2 in full unified title bouts, the 10 wins being his undefeated lightheavy title reign and his 2 losses to HOF heavies, Rocky Marciano and Floyd Patterson.

Archie Decks The Rock

Archie Decks The Rock

Most of his fights  and knockouts were against heavies, too many for me to be bothered to count. Generally he’d only fight one or two lightheavy bouts in a year, mainly title defenses, and then cash in for the remainder of the year, most against ranked heavy contenders, fringe contenders and former contenders which was where the money was.

Then we have his last loss near 50 yrs of age against young Cassius Clay. What other old man in the history of boxing goes out on his shield against class like that?  

Now, stop your yelping and listen up. Nobody in any era has come close to that record, so I ain’t trying to skewer the era of your precious Mr. Hopkins. I’m just trying to hammer home some relevant history in your noggin is all.

Moore’s was the era when men were men and didn’t run around like it was Halloween dressed as executioners making silly signs like kids out on a dungeons and dragons lark. Like Liston, Archie was widely reputed to be 2-3 yrs older than his accepted birthday, meaning his post 40 record would be greater than Hopkin’s career record, but I don’t want to rub it in too harshly so as to ruin you for your wife.

Many a HOFer mixed in that post 40  record, many more than Hopkins faced in his career.

“How did he do it,” you ask?

Beats me and most anyone who stepped into the ring with him. I’d guess he was simply a one off fistic genius who was able to meld intelligence and discipline with waning but still formidable physical attributes in a way nobody else has come close to.

 Not sure if he ever divulged all his techniques for training and losing weight, but one famous method is gut wrenching, literally. He would eat a steak by chewing it very slowly and thoroughly, bite by bite, absorbing the juices and nutrients and then spit the spent bite into a bucket.

It’s no wonder he holds the record for the most KOs in boxing. He couldn’t wait for his post fight reward, the eating of the whole steak, a luxury beyond our imagination in his world of hurt.

Buy'em Dinner After the Big KO

Buy'em Dinner After the Big KO

So when the preening wonders of modern boxing science crow about being old school Archie Moore kind of tough, you can rest assured, a gaggle of em couldn’t lift the Ol’ Mongoose’s jock strap to carry it off.

Trust me on that.

The Contrast of King Arthur Abraham vs The Matrix Andre Dirrell

by Bobby Mac

Super Six tournament leader King Arthur Abraham is being matched in the fabled Joe Louis Arena in Detroit against Andre The Matrix Dirrell in one of the most important bouts of 2010.

The contrast in the nicknames between the medieval “King Arthur” to the modern “The Matrix” cannot be any more pronounced than the boxing styles the boxers will bring into this bout. Abraham has a very relaxed elbows tucked high guard he employs as his base of ring operations that has seen him to an unblemished championship quality record of 31-0, 25 KO, compared to the high energy frentic footwork flash of Dirrell, currently sporting an 18-1, 13 KO record.

Abraham is the proven fighter having made 10 defenses of his IBF middleweight title before moving up a division to knock out Jermain Taylor in one of the most dramatic and concussive knockouts in fistic history. At age 30 with few demonstrated weaknesses in the ring, he seems in the big middle of his prime years. Jermain Taylor also turned out to be excellent preparation for this Dirrell bout with both having fast footwork, fast hands, and sharp jabs.

Dirrell is largely untested coming off a loss in his biggest fight to date against Carl Froch, part of the opening series of the Super Six tourney. He is an athletically gifted boxer, but it remains to be seen if he can actually win at the top level he now finds himself at. His last 5 fights have been his greatest challenge to date, and while he showed flashes of greatness, he also showed flashes of anxiety which  robbed him of his balance and tangled his footwork. He reminded me of the late great Floyd Patterson’s tendency to go down in the barest of breezes.

Abraham is the shorter, stockier, man, probably the strongest and most powerful fighter in the tourney. Dirrell is the younger fighter, taller and quicker by a significant margin over Abraham, so the physical differences are yet another of many contrasts in this fight.

d/a

Before the Battle

So, the $64,000 question those interested are asking is how is this fight going to play out?

Two years ago, Anthony Hanshaw really brought it early to Dirrell, scoring two knock downs Hanshaw was quite unfortunate not to get the call on. Dirrell regrouped enough to trade with Hanshaw and force the stoppage in the 5th round. In his next bout, Dirrell scored a dramatic one punch stoppage of undefeated Mike Paschall, knocking him down and splitting his forehead open. Then came the overmatched Organov and Findley where he simply outclassed and then overwhelmed aspiring prospects.

Abraham has been a Ring ranked fighter since 2005 when he outclassed the #1 Howard Eastman with a decision. By the end of the year, he’d knocked out the 6-4 freakishly tall Kingsley Ikeke for the IBF title that he defended like a Lion against a variety of challengers. Abraham has only had two fights at supermiddle, both non-title bouts that he blasted out ranked contenders Edison Miranda and Jermaine Taylor with dramatic, highlight quality knockouts.

So King Arthur will enter this match as the favorite because he’s much better than any fighter Dirrell has met and he’s also beaten a host of fighters as good or better than Dirrell that possess some overlapping natural attributes.

There is one fight that saw Abraham almost in a life and death struggle, the first Miranda fight. Abraham reportedly lost 2-3 pints of blood after his jaw was broken and seemed to have been given some unsporting extra penalty points and time to recover by the ref. Regardless, recover he did. He was knocking Miranda back at will by the fight’s end to win a controversial decision that he later settled in the rematch.

The switch hitting southpaw Dirrell will be looking to box and move, peppering Abraham with sharp jabs and quick combinations before he has a chance to set to punch. Though winning on the cards against Taylor, Abraham did look ponderous against the quick waterbug defense of Taylor at times. Dirrell also has 13 knockouts in his 19 fights and often marks up his opponents, so he is a live dog in this dustup as long as he comes to fight with some fire and purpose. He cannot rely on spoiling his way to a decision as he tried against Froch against such a quality champion as Abraham is.

Abraham is a devastating puncher who is a solid boxer in his own right, an excellent tactician who intuitively knows when to duck and cover or when to open up. I’d think his team have already spotted Dirrell’s shaky balance in the ring and will be looking to pick their big shots early to build a lead with knockdowns.

Even when not taking punches Dirrell operates on surprisingly stiff legs that belie his fast footwork and quick reflexes. Abraham will put those stiff legs to the test with more pressure than Dirrell is used to which makes me think this will be another Abraham stoppage.

To win, Dirrell would have to bust up Abraham’s face for a TKO stoppage at the discretion of the ref or ring doctor. I don’t see Dirrell’s stamina holding enough to win a decision if he lasts. Dirrell would have to perform well above his previous efforts to beat Abraham. Sure, it’s possible, after all, the Hall of Fame is packed with great fighters who beat bigger odds to establish great legacies.

Dirrell has something of a home advantage in Detroit in spite of never having boxed professionally there and he certainly has the talent, but does he have the fight and the smarts to pull it off?

Stay tuned and we will find out. If the stars all line up just so, they might even duke out a classic for the ages.