Andre Dirrell: The Next Star in Boxing

Joe OneillCorrespondent IIFebruary 2, 2009

Andre Dirrell.

Remember that name.

Nicknamed "The Matrix," Dirrell brings a scary mix of power, speed, and smarts to the super middleweight division. Most intimidating of all is that he's an ambidextrous fighter equally as adept with either hand.

He has that confusing style reminiscent of Roberto Duran of never telegraphing his punches. They come from both hands and from all angles.

Not that I'm saying he has the power or chin of Duran (few fighters in history have).

In November he dismantled sixth ranked Victor Olganov in a fifth round knock out that wasn't as close as that. Olganov could scarcely get off a punch he was so over-matched by Dirrell's hand speed. Switching easily between a traditional and southpaw stance, Dirrell looked like a matador toying with a bull.

Next, a possible fight with Dennis Inkin of Germany. A fight I expect Dirrell to win easily. He's now 17-0 with 11 knockouts. 

I'd love to see him go up against Kelly Pavlik, Bernard Hopkins, Jeff Lacy, Jermaine Taylor, or even Joe Calzaghe.

He has that kind of talent.

Out of that group, I think only Calzaghe, and perhaps Hopkins, can beat him. Given a couple of years, he will be at the top of his division.

It should come as no surprise given that he won the bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics.

The story doesn't stop there.

He won the 2001 featherweight amateur championship as well as the 2003 amateur middleweight championships.

His brother, Anthony Dirrell, won the 2004 and 2005 amateur middleweight championships. He turned pro in 2005 and was 12-0 when tragedy struck. Anthony was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He didn't fight at all in 2007, spiraled into a bout with depression, and was booked on suspicious of armed robbery.

Beating the disease, Anthony returned to the ring in a victorious October, 2008 decision. He's now 12-0 with 11 knockouts. It looks as though his comeback is complete and he's back in the game.

A fighting family, both brothers are trained by their grandfather out of Flint, Michigan.

Watching Dirrell, I was reminded of a time back in 2001 when I saw another young pro out of Michigan and immediately proclaimed he would be a world champion someday.

That young man was Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Dirrell has the same kind of scary ability of Mayweather. He even seems as brash as dysfunctional outside the ring as Mayweather.

Imagine if Floyd had an equally as talented younger brother?

The Dirrell brothers could add a lot of excitement to the super middleweight division. Andre seems to be the quicker of the two but Anthony has the heavier hands. Both are well-trained and possess the requisite amount of ring savvy.

I'd look for Andre to fight for a Championship in 2009 or early 2010.

In the meantime, catch some of his fights on ESPN or Showtime because they won't be free for long.