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Feb 24th
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Home Boxing A few thoughts on the recent Abraham vs. Dirrell match:
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A few thoughts on the recent Abraham vs. Dirrell match:

How did Laurence Cole get this assignment?  How bad do you have to mess up before nepatism isn't enough to save you?  He has the fundamentals of a referee, but is not good enough to take on the big assignments.  This was a painful reminder that there actually is a worse commission than Texas.  Michigan has proved its incompetence before with lousy decisions (Rico Hoye against Montell Griffin, and Courtney Burton over Emmanuel Augustus).  In fact, in the Augustus fight, commentator Teddy Atlas actually caught a judge not knowing what a majority decision is!
Michigan however, did itself horribly on this night, by allowing the entoruage of Andre Dirrell immediate access to him following the DQ.  Did anyone else notice the vigorous head-shaking of Dirrell by his handlers?!  That could have been disastrous.  Even poor Dirrell had to yell for a chance to breathe.  Where was security to ensure only the doctors had access to him, until he was deemed fit to leave the ring.  His head should have been stabilized.  Even in the dressing room, the doctors were giving interviews, rather than keeping others' hands off of the injured party.  Disgraceful.
But back to Cole... Laurence Cole missed two knockdowns.  The second counter-left which put Abraham down in the 7th round... as well as the counter right which dropped Dirrell in the 10th.
Also, what on earth was Cole counting for when Dirrell went down in the 11th?  He had called time, thereby admitting it was a foul, immediately.  He ended up making the right call, but his confusion in those tense moments should disqualify him from refereeing major events.  Never mind that he told Dirrell to "get off the ropes" at one point.  Excuse me, Laurence... but how a fighter fights is none of your business.  One would think he would have learned a lesson from the Marquez vs. Jaca match, but when Daddy is a powerful man is Texas, you don't have to learn anything (just ask our former President). 
Is it not the doctors' job to simply determine if a cut is bad enough to warrant stopping the fight?  These doctors seemed to go a step further, and actually closed the cut for Abraham!  I notice Sauerland is not protesting this. 
Before Sauerland gets uppity and starts filing protests, maybe a review of the rules is in order.  Dirrell was in a sitting position when struck.  The result of that punch is non-essential to the referee's decision.  If the fighter chooses to continue (Genaro Hernandez vs. Azumah Nelson) he may do so... but Dirrell was hardly in condition to be presented with any choices.  Besides, the only other possible option for the referee, if the foul was deemed accidental (it obviously wasn't), was a technical decision.  In that case, Abraham would have been clearly behind.  Therefore, what is the point of the Sauerland protest?  Your man lost.  Deal with it.
Perhaps in certain cases, the post-fight interview is not a good idea.  Abraham likely lost a lot of fans on Saturday.  When Roy Jones committed a similar foul... we didn't hear much from him (compared to how much he normally talks anyway).  He simply made a mistake, and righted it with a big knockout win in the rematch.  Abraham had been cut, dropped, and dominated prior to the end of the fight, only to have microphones shoved in his face, while clearly dealing with a bruised ego.  This, I believe, was responsible for his ridiculous assessment of what had transpired.  The right thing to do would be say he needed to "see the tape", and that it was never his intention to foul Dirrell.  And don't get me started on the idiocy of attempting to interview Andre Dirrell.  See above for the right moves to have been made.
Abraham has also been spoiled into some bad habits that he desperately needs to break.  Turning to complain about non-existent low blows may be done without consequence when the crowd is in your back pocket, and your promoter hires the officials... but it is a formula for disaster anywhere else.
Let's see if either man can come back after this.  This is the kind of loss (and in Dirrell's case, win) that changes the way a fighter fights, both mentally and physically.  I sincerely hope this tounrament does not ruin any more fighters.  We want the best to fight the best, and that trend will end here if the fighters all end this tournament completely used up.
Chris Strait

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