It was a loss that hurt Andre Dirrell as if he had suffered it himself.
Watching younger brother Anthony Dirrell lose his 168-pound world title to Badou Jack on April 24 in Chicago, Andre Dirrell couldn’t help but also feel the pain from that defeat.
“Anthony just had an off night. We got home after the decision and we sat and talked for about two hours,” Andre Dirrell said. “I didn’t try to tell him all the things he could have done to win it. I just told him to learn from this and to keep going."
Andre Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs) knows firsthand the experience of coming up short in a world championship bout. His only defeat came by split decision in October 2009 in a title fight against Carl Froch in the Englishman’s hometown of Nottingham.
“I believe in my heart that I won that fight, but I acknowledge the loss because it taught me a lot,” Dirrell said. “I’ll accept the decision that was given that night and not dwell on it. I’ve just learned from it, moved forward and kept fighting."
Dirrell, a 2004 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, gets another title shot May 23 at Boston’s Agganis Arena against Englishman James DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs) in a fight airing live on NBC at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m.
“I’m motivated to carry on the Dirrell name, and my brother is also,” Andre Dirrell said. “He just lost one fight. He just had one of those nights. My brother held onto the title for six months, but just like that, it was out of his hands. It just showed me how fast it can go. Walking into the ring as a world champion and then walking out as second best, that hurts. That bothered me a lot. It wasn’t just him that lost; we all did.
“Anthony’s loss made me realize that it’s more hurtful to secure a title and to lose it than it is to fight for a title and not win it. So as soon as I got off of the plane that Saturday night, I went straight to the gym. I literally got there and didn’t go home. My coach already had my workout ready, we opened the gym and we got busy right from there. I am just super motivated to carry on the name. It inspires me quite a bit.”
DeGale, 29, has won 10 straight fights, including six by stoppage, since losing a 12-round majority decision to countryman George Groves in May 2011.
“I’m not sure how strong DeGale is, but his record shows that we’re in the same category in terms of power. His power is not even a thought to me,” Dirrell said of the 2008 Olympic gold medalist.
“I don’t like to base my skills off of power. I don’t get the credit for the power that I deserve, but I’m not looking for it. I’m going to go into this fight as the better fighter, and on May 23, I’m going to prove why people believe that. I’m motivated to go out there and give our family another world champion.”