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PREDICTION PAGE: Dirrell/Abraham, Funeka/Guzman

BY TSS Press ON March 25, 2010
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NEW YORK (March 26, 2010) – Sixty-seven media members have weighed in on who they think will be victorious in Saturday night’s Group Stage 2 Super Six World Boxing Classic matchup on SHOWTIME® (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

Forty-three experts think the Armenian Arthur Abraham (31-0, 25 KOs) will keep his tournament standings lead by beating the hometown hero while 24 feel that Andre Dirrell (18-1, 13 KOs) will reign victorious during a Free Preview Weekend on SHOWTIME.

Here’s how they see the Dirrell-Abraham Super Six World Boxing Classic 12-round fight:

Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated, (Abraham): “Honestly, I think we're looking at fighters at two different levels. Dirrell is skilled, sure, but he has a fraction of the experience Abraham has, and even less raw power. Abraham's solid defense should gobble up Dirrell's attack early and his power will wear him down late. I like Abraham in a late stoppage.”

J. Michael Falgoust, USA Today, (Abraham): “Abraham by decision. Judges tend to penalize a guy like Dirrell for his style. He'll lose a few rounds that he otherwise would've won, much like when he fought Froch.”

Mike Brudenell, Detroit Free Press, (Dirrell): “Thirty years ago, Tommy (Hit Man) Hearns returned Detroit to the boxing map by thrashing Pipino Cuevas to win the WBA welterweight title at Joe Louis Arena, becoming the toast of factory workers, office managers and Grosse Pointe bluebloods. Dirrell isn't the second coming of the Motor City Cobra, but he will add to the D's proud fight history by beating Arthur Abraham by decision in a tough bout in which he'll have to dig deep.”

Ron Borges, Boston Herald, (Abraham): “Abraham by TKO 10. He has just too much experience and too much power for Dirrell to handle.”

Karl Freitag, Fightnews.com, (Abraham): “Abraham is in danger of being outpointed if he spends too much time covering up as he is prone to do. Abraham will have to be more aggressive than normal as he tries to hunt down the nifty speedster Dirrell, who has the home-court advantage in a state that has seen some strange decisions favoring the local fighter in recent years. The feeling here is that the former middleweight champion will eventually catch Dirrell and score his second straight knockout win in SHOWTIME's ground-breaking Super Six series.”

Steve Kim, Maxboxing, (Dirrell): “I like Dirrell by decision. I think being on his home turf, unlike against Froch, he gets the benefit of the doubt in all the close rounds.”

Clive Bernath, SecondsOut.com, (Abraham): “I thought Dirrell was pretty unlucky not to at least get a draw against Froch last time out. Froch struggled to slow down the slicker-punching Dirrell for any period of time, but I believe Abraham is a stronger fighter and will slow the American down late with solid punches to the body and score a unanimous points win to stretch his lead in the tournament.”

Ryan Burton, Boxingscene.com, (Abraham): “I think Abraham wins because Dirrell can't box and move without it looking like he is running. Even though he has the hometown advantage I don't see him backing Abraham up and I don't see him winning enough rounds to get a decision. The other problem Dirrell is going to have is that he hasn't been in the ring with anyone who hits like Abraham. One perfectly-placed punch and it could be lights out. I say Abraham by TKO in round 8.”

Geno McGahee, Ringsidereport.com, (Abraham): “Abraham is a beast in the ring. Dirrell's speedy style may pose some problems for him, but in the end, the power and strength of Abraham will be too much, leading to a 10th round stoppage.”

Robert Hough, FightNews.com, (Abraham): “Dirrell's got guts. He knocked off some mediocre competition and signed on to face some serious men. He said he learned big from losing to Froch, admitted that the Englishman's talk and tactics disrupted his focus and vowed to be smarter when he fights Abraham. Abraham, as ever, is as low-key—and dangerous—as it gets. Can Dirrell's hand speed, movement and what he says is hard-earned wisdom overcome Abraham's toughness and power? It wouldn't be shocking if Dirrell is extremely careful and wins (and gets some home cooking if it's close), but my view is that Abraham will hit Dirrell often enough to wear him down and finish him in the 11th round.”

Colin Seymour, Examiner.com/San Francisco, (Dirrell): “Dirrell might not outbox Abraham as thoroughly as he outboxed Froch last October, but this time Dirrell will be awarded the decision. This fight will be in Dirrell’s home state, so he might even get the benefit of the doubt if he keeps Abraham from decking him. At home in Nottingham, England, Froch apparently got points for wrestling Dirrell to the canvas. Abraham won’t do that. He’ll try to win legitimately but will find Dirrell too elusive.”

Norm Frauenheim, 15 Rounds, (Dirrell): “Dirrell by unanimous decision. The versatile Dirrell can do more than Arthur Abraham. He'll have to. Dirrell also will be armed by a couple intangibles. First, there is motivation in the frustration he felt in the disputed loss to Carl Froch. Then, there figures to be a friendly crowd from nearby Flint, Mich., his hometown. If Dirrell wants to become a star, this is his chance.”

Francisco Salazar, Fight News, (Abraham): “This will be an interesting fight between experience and youth. Dirrell may control some rounds early, but Abraham will begin to figure him out. Dirrell might get knocked down once, as Abraham will win by a unanimous decision, along the lines of 116-111.”

Percy Crawford, Fight Hype.com, (Dirrell): “I like Dirrell. I think when Taylor was boxing Abraham he was having some success. Dirrell's boxing ability or stamina shouldn't come into play as much as it did for Jermain. Dirrell's back is against the wall, so he really has to shine in this fight and I think the home crowd will get him through it. Dirrell by split decision.”

Martin Mulcahey, Max Boxing, (Abraham): “A tough pick, with many favoring Abraham's experience and guile over Dirrell's youth and speed. I think Abraham's crab defense could be the worst thing against a slick speedster like Dirrell. So there is doubt in this outcome. I see Abraham figuring out and timing Dirrell from the fifth round on and winning the fight on points, perhaps with the aid of a couple knockdowns in the championship rounds.”

Lyle Fitzsimmons, SportsNetwork.com, (Abraham): “I like Dirrell's skill, but something tells me Abraham's going to be too tough and will deal better with adversity than Dirrell. . . . even in front of his home crowd. Abraham by decision.”

Don Stewart, Reading (Pa.) Eagle, (Dirrell): “I like Dirrell to pull off the upset by decision. No one has been able to solve Abraham's style, but Dirrell might just be awkward and tricky enough to throw Abraham off his game. This might not be a pretty fight, and the scores could be all over the place. But I just have a weird feeling that Dirrell is going to come out on top.”

Ivan Goldman, Ring Magazine, (Dirrell): “Abraham's style doesn't pile up points but makes life very dangerous for opponents. Dirrell has plenty of talent, but does he have the will? Froch, who doesn't hit as hard as Abraham, couldn't get Dirrell to exchange, so unless Dirrell undergoes an attitude transplant he'll stick and run for 12 rounds and it will be up to the judges to characterize the outcome. This year we've been seeing some pretty crazy decisions. Dirrell wins on the cards at home.”

Ramon Aranda, 411 Mania, (Abraham): “Though I like Abraham in this fight, I respect Dirrell's speed and that could cause him some problems. Still, if Abraham manages to stun Dirrell and not take him out, expect it to get ugly from there, resulting in a decision win for ‘King’ Arthur.”

Paul Upham, SecondsOut.com, (Abraham): “One of the most important points to come out of the SHOWTIME Super Six tournament will be the boxing world's understanding of how great a fighter Abraham really is. Dirrell is a talent, but Abraham has the raw power, experience and skills to win and win well. Abraham wins by 10th round knockout.”

Earle Robinson, WKAR, (Abraham): “As much as I would love to pick Dirrell, I will have to pick Abraham, as his experience should carry him to the win. Abraham is strong and fast, where Dirrell is faster but not as strong or experienced.”

Mike Elliott, TheDailySportsHerald.com, (Abraham): “Dirrell will not generate enough offense, and Abraham will walk through his shots. Abraham's power edge will be the difference.”

Ryan Bates, 411 Mania, (Abraham): “Cracking Abraham's defense is the key, and I'm not sure Dirrell can do it. Abraham by unanimous decision.”

Chris Cozzone, Fight News, (Abraham): “Abraham by unanimous decision over Dirrell, 115-113 and 116-112 twice.”

Anson Wainwright, 15Rounds.com, (Dirrell): “This is a fantastic fight which pits two very different styles of fighters: Abraham's pressure against Dirrell's speed. I think Dirrell will start fast and win the early rounds before Abraham finds his way into the fight by the mid-rounds. I expect Dirrell to pick and prod his way late through some potentially awkward late moments to a close maybe controversial points win.”

Geoffrey Ciani, East Side Boxing, (Dirrell): “Abraham is the safe pick here. It is reasonable to assume that he will land a big shot somewhere along the line and that will be all she wrote. Dirrell, however, has the style to outbox Abraham. He is slick, quick, and knows how to use the ring to his advantage. I do not expect him to make the same types of mistakes he made with Froch. If he can remain focused for 12 full rounds and neutralize the explosive power of Abraham, he should win this. Prediction: Dirrell by unanimous decision.”

Marc Lichtenfeld, Through the Ropes, (Abraham): “Abraham will take Dirrell to places he's never been before. Dirrell knows that if he is going to be a star, he's going to have to weather some heavy fire against Abraham. Dirrell will erase the memories of the Stevens fight and some of his other stinkers with a gutsy performance and will squeak out a (controversial?) split-decision win.”

Ralph Gonzalez, The Sweet Science.com, (Dirrell): “I'm going with Dirrell on this one by split decision in a close fight. Abraham will stalk and Dirrell will box effectively. Dirrell's patience and focus will propel him to a close win in an exciting fight.”

German Villasenor, Maxboxing, (Abraham): “Abraham by mid-to-late rounds stoppage. Abraham will put up more pressure, start earlier than he did against Taylor, wearing down and eventually catching a tiring, backpedaling Dirrell in the mid/second half of the fight for a TKO stoppage.”

Dennis Taylor, Ringsideboxingshow.com, (Abraham): “I'm among the minority who thought Dirrell beat Froch, and I think ‘The Matrix’ has the style to give Abraham fits. This is going to be a great fight -- a split decision -- with Abraham getting the nod.”

Michael Payne, 411 Mania, (Abraham): “I think Abraham will have a tough time keeping up with Dirrell who will look to use his speed to stay away and pick him off but I still cannot see Dirrell winning. Abraham will stalk him all night and sooner or later he will catch him. I don't think Dirrell will handle his power. Later KO for Abraham.”

Corey Erdman, SIRIUS 98, (Dirrell): “Dirrell's hand speed, stamina and his ability to move in and out of the pocket will win out. If Jermain Taylor were a tad more elusive, he could have beaten Abraham. The hometown boy will hit and run his way to a world title.”

Stephen Tobey, Maxboxing.com, (Abraham): “Abraham by late-round KO. Abraham is stronger and has too good a chin.”

Scott Gilfoid, Boxingnews24.com, (Dirrell): “I have to go with Dirrell. Abraham is too slow, too short and too primitive a fighter to win this one.  Abraham has had things his way in recent years, fighting limited opposition in the weak middleweight division. Abraham is going to be fighting a complete fighter when he steps in the ring against Dirrell. Abraham’s skills, or lack thereof, will be badly exposed by the talented Dirrell. I see Abraham losing badly. I just hope he doesn’t resort to fouling when things start to look bleak for him. Dirrell is a diamond in the rough, a young Roy Jones Jr. type fighter. This is going to be a  break-through fight for him. Dirrell by lopsided 12-round unanimous decision

Raymond Markarian, The Sweet Science.com, (Dirrell): “I think Dirrell knows how to win this fight. He knows that he has to attack Abraham's midsection to slow him down. But can he execute the game plan effectively? That's the real question. I say Dirrell has what it takes to win a majority decision.”

Thomas Marriott, 15rounds.com, (Dirrell): “I've been a big Abraham fan for years, but styles make fights. With that said, I'm giving the edge to Dirrell. Abraham's ear-muff style of defense will have him down on the cards early, forcing him to play catch-up and need a KO to win. Also to factor in is Dirrell getting the benefit of some close rounds after getting ripped off in the UK against Froch. Dirrell by a MD is my pick.”

Coyote Duran, Max Boxing.com, (Abraham): “Dirrell is not a guy who’s going to get down and dirty with you; it just isn’t his nature. He’s slippery, quick and quite a counter-puncher. Abraham knows how to command a ring. Combine that with his power that’s, fortunately, migrated to 168 with him (making any connects he can make even more significant), and I’m thinking, that after a very early lead, we might see Abraham do enough damage on the inside to the body, wearing down Dirrell, en route to a 10th-round stoppage.”

Jack Hirsch, Boxing News, (Dirrell): “Dirrell will win. His jab, speed, and movement will shut down Abraham's vaunted attack just enough to win a close decision.”

Dan Hernandez, Boxingrepublic.com, (Abraham): Abraham came in with such hoopla that it seemed impossible to live up to the high expectations. He has made me a believer. Abraham has considerable boxing skills that complement both his established power and durability. Dirrell, while an excellent fighter, would appear to be relegated yet further into the losers’ bracket. A unanimous or knockout victory for Abraham would not be a surprise.”

David Lee, 411 Mania, (Abraham): “This fight is what the term ‘pick-em’ was invented for. Abraham is not the monster some make him out to be, but he's consistent, powerful and has a toughness about him which makes him more reliable than Dirrell. I go with Abraham ever so slightly on points.”

Raymundo Dioses, 411 Mania, (Dirrell): “Although Abraham’s power is something to be respected, I believe Dirrell will win. Abraham is open to be hit, and if Dirrell fights well on the outside and lands decently in the clenches, he can win on points.”

Jerry Glick, Boxing Digest Magazine, (Abraham): “It is hard to pick against Abraham. He's so strong it appears that he's almost impervious to the punches of his opponents. Abraham’s foes must work around his power. He had some difficulty getting his finisher to connect onto Jermain Taylor's chin until the final few seconds of their fight, but when he touched Taylor, he knocked him out. As talented as Dirrell is, it will all be over when he's tagged by honest Abe by round eight.”

Joseph Bourelly, Examiner.com/Oakland, (Dirrell): “I believed Dirrell was the most talented of the combatants in this tournament from the very beginning, and his performance against Froch confirmed my belief, as I am of the opinion he should have gotten the decision.  Now fighting at home in Michigan, Dirrell should get an extra boost.  He is naturally too fast and talented for Abraham and should emerge victorious via a unanimous decision.”

Dave Wilcox, Talkinboxing.com, (Abraham): “Dirrell is a tremendous fighter, but Abraham is the strongest man in the division. His power will be the difference and he will KO Dirrell in 10 rounds.”

Chris Strait, Convictedartist.com, (Dirrell): “I rarely pick the underdog, but this time, I think I will. I can certainly see Abraham having too much firepower and strength for anyone, but Dirrell has the speed, awkwardness, chin, and energy to outbox Abraham over 12 rounds. He also has no shame in stinking out the joint if that's what it takes to win. Abraham will start hustling in the last few rounds, but it will be too late. He has started to believe his own hype, and that is when fighters lose. Dirrell by unanimous decision (split or majority if Sauerland picks any of the judges).”

Isaac Barrio, Fightweek.com, (Abraham): “Abraham by Unanimous Decision (115-113).”

Ali Shakoor, 411 Mania, (Abraham): “I like Abraham. I don't think Dirrell has the discipline and maturity to beat a tough veteran like Abraham. Dirrell has the physical skills to do it, but he doesn't have the mind, or the experience. I expect Abraham to start slow as usual, but eventually wear down the frustrated and tiring Dirrell down the stretch. Abraham by UD due to clean, effective, power punching.”

David Duenez, Therewillbebloodfightshow.com, (Abraham): “Dirrell is obviously stepping into this match with a greater boost of confidence, since dancing with Froch on the first stage of the tourney. Dirrell has the speed, but does he have the maturity to push and interrupt Abraham effectively and not carelessly? I would say no. Abraham is no Froch. He may be predictable, but that doesn't mean he isn't world class in the ring. Abraham by late stoppage.”

George Elsasser, BraggingRightsCorner.Com, (Abraham): “Guess here is Abraham by late stoppage, or likely decision. Dirrell’s early quickness will make it interesting, but finding no place to hide over the run to the wire should be his downfall.”

Manish Pandya, TheDailySportsHerald.com, (Abraham).

Oscar Borras, 20 de Mayo, (Abraham): “Abraham should be the winner because he is the more experienced fighter. He can box, and hit very hard. He is just a better fighter than Dirrell.”

Rizwaan Zahid, Ringsideboxingshow.com, (Abraham): “Dirrell has a lot to prove since his outing against Froch. Although Dirrell did more then Froch in the view of many, he lost on the scorecards and few had sympathy for him due to his running and holding tactics. Abraham, on the other hand, aims to add another American on his resume with a win over Dirrell.”

Elisa Harrison, Braggingrightscorner.com, (Abraham): “King Arthur for me. I think he is stronger, certainly more experienced, and he strikes me like the kind of guy that won't wilt under any type of pressure. I think he will take this Super Six crown, but for now, I pick him over Dirrell.”

Howie Reed, The Square Ring, (Abraham): “Abraham late as referee stops fight.”

Joe O'Rourke, Ringsideboxingshow.com, (Dirrell): “One can anticipate a war on the horizon, an eventual collision between two prototypical fighters. I favor Dirrell most likely to win. It is not unknown that Abraham has only fought twice outside Germany, and  Dirrell’s loss to Froch may awaken in him a sense of resolve powerful enough to outpoint his adversary.  Moreover, a great outside boxer like Dirrell usually wins against an inside master like Abraham.”

Igor Frank, Burbank Times, (Dirrell): “Abraham is a lot more experienced fighter with explosive power, but for long periods of time he could use his high guard defense and be inactive. Dirrell is a more athletically-gifted boxer who is in a must-win fight if he is to stay in the tournament. I believe he will upset the odds and outwork and out punch Abraham for a well deserved unanimous decision victory.”

Armando Cabrera, Boxing Let's Talk.com, (Abraham): “Dirrell is a good fighter but Abraham is a tougher fighter and probably will win the fight.”

Travis Hartman, Ringsideboxingshow.com, (Dirrell): “Dirrell by unanimous decision. I think he shocks not only Abraham but the world. Amazing fight nonetheless.”

Albert Alvarez, Diiamondboxing.com, (Abraham): “I see Abraham being too much for Dirrell to handle at this particular time. My pick goes to the thunderous punching Abraham by UD.”

Ed Ludwig, Braggingrightscorner.com, (Abraham): “This fight could really go either way. Abraham imposing his strength or Dirrell using his well-rounded boxing skills and taking a decision. Big fights and experience favor Abraham and I think he will be able to keep constant pressure on the young Dirrell and by round nine, Abraham will have his hands raised in victory as Dirrell’s corner stops the fight.”

Scott Swerbinsky, TheFightFans, (Abraham): “Abraham by easy decision or late-round KO/TKO.”

Jake Emen, ProBoxing-Fans.com, (Abraham): “Abraham continues to prove that he's more versatile than he at first may seem, and that he's exceedingly patient, slowly working to unfold his game plan as it was envisioned. While Dirrell's speed and movement could frustrate Abraham, he will not have the ability to maintain that for a complete 12 rounds, providing Abraham with opportunities to land his well- placed power shots and break his man down. Abraham's power will either cause Dirrell to retreat in full, leading to a decision victory, or could possibly hit home and end the fight late. Abraham by unanimous decision.”

Jerry Hoffman, 12 Sports Production, (Dirrell): “Dirrell got jobbed last fight and Abraham may be firing at air. Decision AD.”

Martin Mayfield, Game Sports Magazine, (Dirrell): “This is an intriguing matchup of pure puncher vs. natural boxer with outstanding movement, and underrated power. I believe Dirrell pulls this one out to impress and surprise just as his good buddy Andre Ward did against favorite Mikkel Kessler. Not only do I feel Dirrell should have gotten the decision in his fight against Froch, I believe he learned some valuable lessons in the ring. And let's not forget, this one is stateside! Dirrell 12D”

Juan Zurita, Boxingfanatics.com, (Abraham): “Many felt Dirrell deserved the nod against Froch.  However, there's no denying the bout was a close, ugly affair, all due in large part to Dirrell's stall tactics.  Abraham is more talented than Froch, so I expect him to apply much more pressure and get his offense off more effectively than Froch was able to. Of course, Dirrell will do his best to make things ugly again, and he'll very likely be outraged when he drops another close decision. All that said, a late TKO victory for Abraham would not surprise me either.”

Butch Gottlieb, Boxinginlasvegas.com, (Dirrell): “Dirrell by unanimous decision. This time Dirrell is fighting at home and can concentrate on his opponent. He has a plan and will implement it on the 27th.”

HBO’s hit late-night boxing series features a doubleheader of hungry young fighters when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK:  MARCOS RENE MAIDANA VS. VICTOR CAYO AND JOAN GUZMAN VS. ALI FUNEKA is seen SATURDAY, MARCH 27 at 10:30 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT), from The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, exclusively on HBO.  The HBO Sports team of Bob Papa, Lennox Lewis and Max Kellerman will be ringside for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

The main event features sluggers with nearly perfect records, as Marcos Rene Maidana (27-1, 26 KOs) of Margarita, Argentina goes up against Victor Cayo (24-0, 16 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in a scheduled 12-round junior welterweight match.  Suffering only one loss in his pro career, Maidana possesses a fabulous knockout margin and is one of the division’s top contenders and heaviest hitters.  Boasting great ring presence, the undefeated Cayo looks to elevate his standing in the division with a victory.

The opening bout is a rematch pitting undefeated Joan Guzman (29-0-1, 17 KOs) of Brooklyn, by way of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, against Ali Funeka (30-2-3, 25 KOs) out of East London, South Africa, in a scheduled 12-round lightweight title bout.  Last November on BOXING AFTER DARK, the two faced off in an action-filled contest that saw Guzman dominating the early rounds before Funeka rallied.  The judges’ verdict of a draw left most observers unsatisfied, setting the stage for this highly anticipated encore.

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