Andre Dirrell: ďWhen no one is blaming Abraham for what he did, or they blame me for not getting upóyou know thatís a big problem there!Ē
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - Last weekís 144th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell (19-1, 13 KOs) who is eyeing a late November return to the ring. Dirrell has not fought since his victory via disqualification against Arthur Abraham during Group Stage 2 of the Super Six Boxing Classic. Dirrell spoke about his future and also shared his views on a variety of topics including Lucian Bute, Carl Froch, Mayweatherís controversial win against Ortiz, his brother Anthony, and more! Here is a complete transcript of that interview:
Article posted on 04.10.2011
JENNA J: Letís go to our first guest of this weekís show. Heís making his fourth appearance to On the Ropes. Weíre joined by super middleweight contender Andre ďThe MatrixĒ Dirrell. Howís everything going today, Andre?
ANDRE DIRRELL: Iím pretty good. How are you doing?
JENNA: Iím doing very well and Iím happy to have you back on the show. So the boxing world has been wondering when weíre going to see you back in the ring, Iíve heard some rumors about October or November. Whatís it looking like?
DIRRELL: We are looking at November now at this point as pretty much a certainty. Itís late November now. Weíve been in talks with Al Haymon our advisor, and with my coaches as well of course. Weíre pretty much looking at the end of November now.
JENNA: Okay now what kind of opponent are you targeting for your comeback since itís been a year and a half since youíve faced anyone in the ring?
DIRRELL: Well it is a comeback fight, so weíre looking for a pretty decent tune-up with a guy somewhere in the top twenty. I donít want to put any names out there at this moment because weíre still fishing for some. But just to get that warm-up out of the way, you know itís going to be a mediocre opponent somewhere around the top twenty. Iím just looking to come back and come back strong and build that confidence level back up. Iíve been working all throughout my layoff and Iíve just been on top of my game. I want to make sure Iím as sharp as ever when I come back, so it will be a tune-up fight. So there is no one special and no one weíre targeting thatís big right now at the moment.
JENNA: Okay now before there were rumors that in August you were supposed to face Sebastian Demers. What happened to that fight?
DIRRELL: Just trying to find a TV spot, that was all. Thatís been the problem this whole time ever since you heard about that October date, trying to find a TV spot and trying to lock it down. But thereís been trouble there. So weíre pretty much narrowing it down to a few networks and we should have one set by fight time.
JENNA: Alright well the big news going around in the super middleweight division is obviously the postponement of the Super Six Final between Andre Ward and Carl ďThe CobraĒ Froch. Many people are wondering if this tournament has gone on too long. You were involved in it previously. What do you think of how the tournament progressed to this point and do you think itís a format that really doesnít work so well because it ran so long and because of the injuries?
DIRRELL: Well the layout was great. It was supposed to be in the span of two years, and within two years we would have fought three or four times. Ward would have fought next and then whoever I would have faced in the Final, so it would have been four fights in two years. That was a great time frame, but injuries did occur, some pullouts did occur. But as far as the format and the layout, you know I think everything was picture perfect. Itís just unfortunate that things happen, just like now with Andre Ward with the cut. With this theyíre looking to make it even longer. I heard theyíre looking to push it to December, which is a mighty long time. But as far as Iím concerned, if everything would have went as planned, then the layout was perfect.
JENNA: Alright do you ever look at that tournament with regret and disappointment that if you had faced Andre Ward that you potentially could be in the Final right now facing Carl Froch?
DIRRELL: Well the only regret I have is fighting Carl Froch in his hometown. Thatís it! Iím going to be honest. The only regret I have is fighting Carl Froch in his hometown. You know looking back at Andre Ward, every fight heís had has been in his hometown. You know, to get put like that being the underdog, thatís pretty good. I just think I had an unfair shot at the title. So thatís the only regret I have is fighting Carl Froch in his hometown. But as far as picking up notoriety, gaining a great fan base, and just putting myself out, all in all everything worked to my advantage. Everything worked great. I loved the press I was getting. Even now to this day, I was at the Floyd Mayweather fight with Victor Ortiz and I got a lot of publicity points out there. So you know, like I said the tournament turned out great but the only regret I haveóthe only regretóis fighting Carl Froch in his hometown.
JENNA: Alright well Andre, weíre also on the line with my Co-Host Geoff Ciani.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hey Andre, itís a great pleasure to have you back on the show.
DIRRELL: Itís a pleasure to be on it.
CIANI: Thanks. Andre Iím wondering, with this long layoff that youíve had an news that you will be coming back some time in November, what have you missed most about being in the ring?
DIRRELL: Being in the spotlight and being in the four corners! I mean I say it now and I say it every day, man. I just really, really canít wait to get in there. Iíll be heading to Las Vegas by this weekend to start my training back. The main thing is just getting in there to spar, getting back in the four corners, and getting used to doing what I do best. I really miss it. Iím anxious to see how I look when the performance comes. Iím nervous as well about that, but all in all I just want to look good for the fans. I want to let them know that Andre Dirrell is back. Iím hoping for the best in that category. I know Iíll pull off the victory, but itís based on how I look. Iím just hoping I look great. Itís been pretty tough man, and Iím really ready to just get in there.
CIANI: Now if you come back and you do look good in your tune-up victory in your comeback fight, what would your forecast be for 2012? What would you be looking to accomplish in 2012 if everything is smooth sailing through this next fight?
DIRRELL: Well when everything does go to plan after this fight, my first targetóand I hear heís even targeting meóbut my first target would definitely be Bute. That IBF championship, Iíd love to get a shot and fight Bute. If he changes his mind in that category then Iíll probably think of a few words to put in his head to get him to face me. I really want him. Iím chasing that IBF and I want to come back and I want to come back strong for the next year. Then on from there, whoever may fall into place. Me and Mikkel Kessler, we both pulled out of the tournament. We both werenít out. We had to pull out. So weíre two remaining fighters who had a great, great, great possibility of winning the tournament. So people want to see us face each other. That will be a good matchup. Iím just coming real strong afterwards. So I just want to come real hard by next year.
CIANI: Changing things up quickly, you mentioned you were at the Mayweather-Ortiz fight. Iím just curious, a lot of fans were upset with the kind of controversial ending there, what were your thoughts on the fight, Andre?
DIRRELL: When I was watching the fight I was excited. Floyd was dominating the whole fight. I was mad at Victor Ortiz at the time for what he did. Iím sitting there watching it and watching it happening, and Floyd Mayweather at the prestigious level that heís at, with the dominance that he has, and the way he puts on performances, you know heís just all in all as a fighter one of the best. For Victor, an up and comer whoís 24 years old, the world knew he was pretty much going to get schooled. I knew it. I believe hype and hype alone sold the fight, because everybody knew what was going to happen. The hype sold the fight. The hype made everybody believe that Victor was going to win.
Victor got in there with all intentions of winning, but one he did what he did? Iíve never seen a head-butt like that before in my life! I was so disappointed in him. He said it was the heat of the moment. No. You got to learn how to keep your cool. The main thing I was mad at is us as fighters, you have fighters and you have boxers. You have me, Iím a boxer. You have Floyd Mayweather, heís a boxer. You mean to tell me that if Iím doing everything right, I come, and you know Iím a boxer. I come to box you. I put hands on you, everything is working in my favor, and Iím more susceptible to danger because Iím doing what Iím supposed to do in the ring and youíre not! Well the ref didnít let him get away with it. He did a good job in what he did, but the fans actually let you get away with this stuff.
This isnít MMA! This insít UFC! This is boxing! The word for this sport is ďboxingĒ, and thatís what Floyd was doing, thatís what I did when I fought Froch, and thatís what I did when I fought Abraham. Because I did it so beautifully I got cheated out of both fights. I was roughed up both fights and the same with Floyd. He did perfect execution and Victor did what he did. Itís just unacceptable! You know itís all because Floyd was doing what heís supposed to do. So Iím upset with that! Fighters have to learn to keep their cool, man. It could have turned out way worse than it did. Iím happy Floyd is okay. If youíre going to take a title from a man with that much notoriety with that level of expertise, then thatís really just unsportsmanlike, you have to learn to keep your cool. So I was glad Floyd got his payback the way he did, and I really, really, really do hope Victor learned a big lesson off that.
JENNA: Alright well Andre we just have a couple of more questions before we let you off the line. Before my Co-Host brought up your 2012 goals, you mentioned Lucian Bute. There is also Carl Froch who has a win over you. Between those two, who would you like to into the ring with more?
DIRRELL: Honestly, I would like to get in the ring with Froch more! I honestly believe in the back of my mind that Froch wants to rematch me as well. Thatís a fight thatís going to linger in the back of his head, especially if he wins this tournament, man! If Froch wins that tournament that heís definitely going to want to erase this bad little odor that he has floating over him. Everybody says, ďOkay, you won the tournament but you didnít beat AndreĒ. Every day I hear it. Ward and me, the fans want to see that more than anything. I want to see it happen as well. I know itís going to happen, but weíre on good terms. We are both fighters. We are both in the weight class. So I know our day will come. We will fight. There is no doubt about that, but as far as getting back on my feet and as far as showing the world what I got and what I should have had, it will be Froch. Thatís my number one priority.
JENNA: Okay now something interesting happened when youíve been out of the ring, and that is that your brother Anthony Dirrell has shot up the rankings and is now number one in the WBC super middleweight division. What do you think about his rise and everything heís overcome to get to this point?
DIRRELL: Itís just really a blessing to be in the position that he is in now. Now that I make my return and I push forward to come up in the rankings knowing that both of us will be on the same prestigious level, then thereís nothing better than that. Next they start comparing us to the Klitschkos. Iím telling you. We plan on dominating by next year and from then on with our careers. So itís really a blessing for Anthony to overcome what he has and done what heís done. Just me seeing him work, mature, and fight like heís supposed to is a great feeling. I know heís my little brother but he seems so much more like a big brother now at this point. Heís a hard worker, he wants it, and I see it. Iím just looking forward to him progressing and weíre going to see where this thing goes next year.
JENNA: Alright Andre, since youíve been out of the ring you had an injury and you were out all that time. Do you think fans unfairly judged you for what happened in the Abraham fight and your layoff?
DIRRELL: My fans never unfairly judged me! My fans always gave me the support I was supposed to have because those are true fans! I do have people that are doubters that believe that I took a dive just because I didnít want to fight Ward or basically I just took a dive because I didnít want to finish with Abraham. Either or, those are not true fans. Those are not fans of the sport. They just want to see brutality. When no one is blaming Abraham for what he did, or they blame me for not getting upóyou know thatís a big problem there! So those arenít true fans. Those are guys who just want to see fighting, blood, guts, and gore. You know I donít have that for you. I have pure talent, pure skills, and Iím going to carry out the sweet science of the sport with excitement. So all of my fans, they gave me the utmost support on my Twitter account and my Facebook account. I currently have over 1,000 Facebook friend requests. I canít even keep up with it! But as far as Twitter man, they keep me uplifted every day. Every single day I check it. Itís something uplifting on there. Of course you have your few haters, but Kay Williams said it best, ďIf you only have 4 hateSo rs you need to be trying a way to figure out how to get to 10 by the time the year is upĒ. So you know, I appreciate them as well. Iím just really working on coming back and coming back strong no matter what the naysayers say. I want to keep my fans uplifted as well as they keep me uplifted.
JENNA: Okay Andre, well weíre definitely looking forward to seeing you back in there. Is there anything else you want to say to anyone out there?
DIRRELL: Well all in all, just my fans and the whole world of boxing. Just keep my name out there. Everybody out there thatís been looking up to me and working hard to make sure I get back in that ring and do what Iím supposed to do and just keep my spirits lifted. I just want to really pretty much thank everybody, all of my fans!
JENNA: Okay well Andre it was an absolute pleasure having you once again return to On the Ropes, and as I mentioned before weíre looking forward to seeing you back in the ring and seeing what youíre going to do.
DIRRELL: Thanks a million! I really appreciate you guys for having me.
CIANI: Thanks Andre. Best of luck!
DIRRELL: Thanks a lot.
For those interested in listening to the Andre Dirrell interview in its entirety, it begins approximately four minutes into the program.
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