Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell has a message, one that he delivered first with his fists and later reiterated with his words—you know, just in case you didn’t get the memo spelled out all over Marco Antonio Rubio’s swollen ribcage.
“I’m back,” Dirrell said from his locker room after his 10-round drubbing of Rubio on Sunday at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. “The kennel is open.”
Rebounding from his first loss to Badou Jack in April, Anthony Dirrell (28-1-1, 22 KOs) looked like a marksman at target practice, but with Rubio’s face and midsection in place of clay pigeons.
Using superior hand speed and surgical counter-punching, Dirrell continually knocked the steam out of a charging Rubio, a human bulldozer who constantly plowed forward only to get plowed himself for his efforts.
Landing hard right hands at will, Dirrell punished his opponent, who couldn’t find a way to initiate his offense, eating far more punches than he was able to land.
Marco Antonio Rubio (59-8-1, 51 KOs) continually pressed the action gamely, but he was pummeled while doing so, as Dirrell served up a buffet of fists, regularly landing two- and three-punch combinations.
Dirrell got off first throughout the fight, stunning Rubio with hard, flesh-rippling right hands that forced the Mexico native to cover up and play defense instead of returning fire. Dirrell was in such control of the fight that when Rubio connected with a slapping left hand early in Round 7, eliciting cheers from the crowd, he shot an incredulous look to the fans seated ringside, throwing his arms in the air as if to say, “Really?”
Still, Rubio absorbed the abuse and kept coming forward—and with 51 knockouts on his record, he ostensibly had the power to turn things around.
“He’s got a little pop on his punch, and with a guy like that, you still have to respect him, because nobody’s chin can get strong,” Dirrell said. “Anybody catches you on the chin, you’re going down.”
Nevertheless, as the fight progressed, Dirrell seemed to respect Rubio’s power less and less, closing the distance and outslugging the slugger in the final two rounds.
Rubio survived the savagery, but it was a pyrrhic victory: He was on the wrong end of a shutout, with all three judges scoring the one-sided, albeit entertaining, fight 100-90 in Dirrell's favor.
“I’m happy that I didn’t stop him, because I wanted everybody to see that I can box, that I didn’t fight like I fought my last fight,” Dirrell said. “I wanted everybody to see that I can go the rounds—and keep going.”
Afterward, Dirrell gave himself the high marks of a prizefighting poindexter—and he didn’t even have to grade on a curve.
“I think I did a helluva job,” Dirrell said. “I give myself an A-minus —not an A-plus, yet. There’s still work to be done.”
For full coverage of Dirrell vs Rubio, visit our fight page.