Carl Froch vs. Andre Dirrell: Super Six In-Depth Preview

Carl "The Cobra" Froch

Birthplace: Nottingham, England
Resides: Nottingham, England
Height: 6' 1"
Reach: 74 1/2"
Current World Titles Held: WBC Super Middleweight (168 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: None
Professional Record: 25-0, 20 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 2-0, 1 KO
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 4-0
Record at 168 lbs.: 16-0

Notable Wins: TKO12 Jermain Taylor, UD12 Jean Pascal

"The Matrix" Andre Dirrell

Birthplace: Flint, Michigan
Resides: Flint, Michigan
Height: 6' 2"
Reach: 75"
Current World Titles Held: None
Former World Titles Held: None
Professional Record: 18-0, 13 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: No previous title fights
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: None
Record at 168 lbs.: 16-0

Notable Wins: TKO6 Victor Oganov


For those who care about the sanctioning body titles up for grabs in the Super Six super middleweight tournament, this will be the first time one of them is on the line. Reigning WBC champion Froch won his strap by beating Jean Pascal last December, and he'll defend it against a man who's never been in a spot like this - or anything close - in Dirrell.

Froch has a unique claim to fame among the Super Six in that he's already beaten one of them, knocking out Jermain Taylor in dramatic fashion six months ago. Down on two of the three scorecards and having already shaken off a third-round knockdown, The Cobra rallied to stop Taylor with just 14 seconds left in the fight.

In contrast, Dirrell isn't taking a step up in competition as much as he's taking a leap. The 2004 Olympic middleweight bronze medalist has dazzling athleticism and tons of potential, but he's never had to deal with the kind of quality he'll be facing as long as he hangs around in the tournament.

Direll himself has broken down the fight as his speed versus Froch's power, but that's probably oversimplifying things, because he has some pop, and Froch isn't exactly a plodder. The Cobra has also demonstrated a sturdy chin and championship-caliber heart; the next time Dirrell has to show what he has in either of those categories will be his first.

The other factor that can't be overlooked is that Froch will practically be fighting in his backyard in Nottingham's Trent FM Arena, also the site of his victory over Pascal. All of Dirrell's fights have come on U.S. soil, so he'll have to be mentally prepared for having a hot crowd solidly in the corner of his opponent.

Froch's Winning Strategy: Don't Wait

No one can find fault with Froch's assertion that Dirrell has never fought anyone of his caliber, so his pre-fight confidence is understandable. He can also feel good about the fact that he's shown in his last two fights that he is able to handle guys with really quick hands (Pascal), and that he has the power to win even if he's down on points (Taylor).

Indeed, he may be the hardest single-shot puncher among the Super Six. That doesn't mean he can afford to sit back and wait for his spot too long, though, because Dirrell is an entirely different animal than his two previous victims.

Dirrell is more technically sound than Pascal, and his young legs aren't likely to fade on him like Taylor's did. He'll also gain confidence from every round he wins or even fights competitively.

The Cobra's best bet will be to make Dirrell feel his power early and stay in his face. Winning the initial rounds will keep the crowd excited, give his younger foe some self-doubt and make the knockout shot he's looking for later on more likely to come from opportunity rather than desperation.

Dirrell's Winning Strategy: Keep Things Unpredictable

Even Froch himself would probably have to admit that Dirrell has the faster hands. The Matrix earned his nickname with his ability to get off first and throw truly ridiculous combinations that look like they came straight out of a video game.

But boxing is much more than a hand speed competition, and Froch is both crafty and sturdy. He's not likely to wilt under simple volume and he's too dangerous to stand in front of for too long, especially with Dirrell's whiskers so untested.

Fortunately for Dirrell, he has more tricks up his sleeve. Listed as a southpaw, he's actually adept at fighting from either stance and is fond of switching numerous times over the course of a fight. He's capable of some nifty moves with his feet too, hopping in and out and leaving opponents flailing.

Dirrell can't worry about proving himself or trying to impress anyone. He'll find success if he can keep Froch guessing by continually changing the distance, pace and his stance, and yes, unleashing his long combos when he gets a chance. Froch will be the best boxer Dirrell has seen, but The Matrix can win if he gives the champ something he's never seen before either.

Posted by The Franchise

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