Anthony Dirrell’s Digital Display
To the ongoing debate on Nature vs. Nurture vs. the long-term value of Olympic pedigree, I’ll add the following fuel:
Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell vs. Dante “Inferno” Craig, in a scheduled 10-round super middleweight bout that took place July 2 in Flint, Mich.
Matchup looks great on paper. Dirrell is the brother of 168-pound star Andre Dirrell, and the only one among the two who remains undefeated. With the same genes and the same training he can’t help but be as slick and skilled as his wombmate, right?
And Craig’s a 2000 Olympian who advanced to the round of 16 in Sydney, so he’s got to have some serious talent, right?
Yes and yes, provided this fight takes place on paper.
And on July 2, 2011 Flint gave us a boxing tragicomedy even the World’s Greatest Sportswriter couldn’t have scripted. If somebody had begun telling me the story of the Dirrell-Craig grudge match I’d have had them stop, rewind and tell the story right.
Luckily, one of Dirrell’s good friends captured the event on video, and even more fortunately my homeboy and fellow RFTW fan Corey Erdman unearthed the footage on YouTube and sent it to me Monday morning.
And here I present it to you, along with a footnotes on important points I didn’t want you guys to miss.
0:25 Our host, King Mondo, says they’re doing it big in Flint City, but I wouldn’t have guessed it from the setting. When I first saw the vid I thought they were fighting in a parking lot.
0:50 Could they have gotten a smaller ring with saggier ropes? Guess here is no. I’ve seen better rings at health clubs.
0:50 Way too many people inside the ropes. Dirrell’s not choosing to stand at centre-ring for the intro’s. There was just no space left in his corner.
1:10 Still not convinced that’s not a parking lot.
2:00 By this point you will have noticed Craig’s flabby midsection. And his braids. And the fact that he’s probably two weight classes smaller than Dirrell. If you don’t already know how this ends, well…
3:16 Craig’s facial expression says “I know it’s the first round, Anthony, but I hope you’re as tired as I already am.”
5:14 Craig may be way on the downside (more on that later), but he’s still trying. Local boxing guru Chris Johnson has a saying: “Where there is Hunger, you will find Champions.” Look at Craig’s hair. Guys like Udonis Haslem can afford to get their braids tightened, and even Haslem broke down and went to the barber for something more contemporary. Not Craig. Not those braids. Those are the braids of a hungry man. Beware, Dirrell.
5:38 Chick in the crowd: “Put him to sleep! Daaaang, let his head go!”
5:47 Know this about Craig. Before this fight he hadn’t competed since 2009, his last fight a 6-round decision win over Reggie Strickland. Who is Reggie Strickland? Only the losingest fighter of all time. No shame in going the distance with him though. Fewer than 10 percent of his 276 losses ended in knockouts. Strickland retired after the Craig bout, which says a lot. Like he was thinking, “Man, if I can’t beat Dante Craig I mize well hang em up.” Said all that to say this: Craig’s skills have diminished significantly since he was an Olympian.
5:49 But he still busts Dirrell clean in the face with a straight right. Cleanest punch of the fight so far. Fans in the parking lot… I mean football stadium… briefly fall silent.
6:39 “Knock them braids out his head, baby!!!!”
7:15 Craig drops like a stone from a “low blow” that is clearly a punch his soft belly. He’s looking to win on DQ. It’s not happening. Not in Flint City. They’re doing it BIG in Flint City.
7:36 “Hey man, he actin! Gitcho ass up!”
7:50 Yes, Dirrell, good sport till the end, was doing pushups while Craig writhed in pain.
9:40 By this point Dirrell has imitated Floyd Mayweather, his brother Andre and Roy Jones…all poorly. If Dirrell’s world class a guy as slow as Craig shouldn’t hit him this much….A huge if…
11:45 Still waiting to see some footwork or defense from either guy. Waiting….waiting…
13:09 That crowd. Seriously. I bet Dirrell drew more spectators fighting in the school yard as a kid.
14:07 This fight is soooo sloppy. Makes me wonder where Dirrell was while his brother was learning to box properly.
15:19 Check the party going on in the seats near Dirrell’s corner. “Fight? What fight?”
15:26 Ring card girl holding up a sign that says “5.” That’s about right.
15:57 “Cmon baby! Your Flint pass has been revoked!”
17:13 Left hook to the ribs. Flint pass revoked. Tens of fans go wild.
17:33 Who knew Dante Craig was an opponent worth backflipping over?
18:00 Who gave that dude a mic? And who gave Dirrell a belt?
18:14 “Flint Michigan, stand up!” Uhh…. they been standing all night. Where you been?
18:33 I see the actual ring announcer walking around tapping on his mic. Save your breath dude. They’ve already announced the after party. There’s nothing you can add.
19:09 The UBO Intercontinental Champ? Did that title even exist before this fight?
And I’m still not convinced that wasn’t a parking lot.