Andre Dirrell (-150) vs José Uzcátegui (+175), Draw (+3300)
After the debacle of the first fight on May 20th, the IBF has ordered an immediate rematch between Andre Dirrell (26-2, 16 KOs) and José Uzcátegui (26-2, 22 KOs) for the interim super middleweight world title.
Dirrell was awarded the win in the first fight by disqualification. The eighth round ended with Dirrell backed into a corner and Uzcátegui laying into him with a three-punch combination. The last punch landed slightly after the bell, knocking Dirrell flat on the canvas. The referee deemed the blow an illegal punch and disqualified Uzcátegui.
After the fight was called off, Leon Lawson Jr., Dirrell’s trainer and uncle, entered the ring and sucker-punched Uzcátegui in the face. Both camps swarmed the ring, fights broke out in the audience, and the scene devolved into chaos.
The disqualification decision was hotly debated. Many felt that the late punch was clearly accidental, and some even believe it was legal. After reviewing the fight, the IBF concluded that a rematch was warranted.
At the end of the eighth round, Uzcátegui was ahead according to the judges’ scorecards. Dirrell opened as the heavy odds-on favorite and started the fight well, but as the rounds went by Uzcátegui appeared to be the stronger fighter.
Dirrell has a lot more experience fighting at a high level. He’s an Olympic Bronze medalist and has faced top-level fighters like James DeGale and Carl Froch, though he lost both of those fights.
Uzcátegui has only had three professional fights outside of Mexico, and Dirrell was his first notable opponent. Uzcátegui was considered a huge underdog leading up to the first fight, but after his strong performance, he’ll be taken a lot more seriously this time.
Dirrell had been inactive for a year before facing Uzcátegui the first time, so he was battling a bit of ring rust. He’s been fighting a lot less frequently in recent years, only fighting once in 2015 and ‘16.
Dirrell is the more established fighter but Uzcátegui proved in the first fight that he can rival him. He was unlucky to be disqualified in the first fight, and if the late punch hadn’t happened, he would probably already be the interim super middleweight champ.
Pick: José Uzcátegui (+175)