Andre and Anthony Dirrell both fight at 168 pounds, and each brother could soon possess a world title at that weight. But boxing fans will likely never learn which Dirrell would win a scrap between the siblings.
“Never gonna happen,” Andre Dirrell said. “It has nothing to do with money. The simple truth is that people die in that ring all the time. One slip or one shot and that could be it. So I could never step into the ring with my brother.”
Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22 KOs) will defend his championship Friday night against Badou Jack (18-1-1, 12 KOs) at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion in a bout airing on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Meanwhile, Andre Dirrell (24-1, 16 KOs) is busy preparing for a world title bout of his own: against James DeGale (20-1, 14 KOs) at Boston’s Agganis Arena on May 23 in a fight being shown live on NBC.
Partly because of their tight personal bond and partly because of their knowledge of one another in their shared profession, Andre, 31, and Anthony, 30, no longer even spar together.
“We know each other so well. If he hits me with a body shot, then I would try to do the same to him. It was never one-sided. It would just be a war, and this goes back to being at a young age, 12 or 13 years old,” Andre Dirrell said.
“The thing between me and Anthony is that if we had bad intentions, which we often did, we wouldn’t listen to any bells and we wouldn’t listen to coaches saying ‘stop.’ We’d both step out of the ring with bloody noses. We just would never give up in there, and we had that hunger to be good. The intensity we once used against each other, we’ve push that on to toward our competition.”
In preparation for their upcoming bouts, the Flint, Michigan, natives trained separately in Boca Raton, Florida.
“We’re in the same camps for the fights, but we’re just training at different times,” Anthony Dirrell said. “I go home and he comes in. But if I want to stay and watch him, I’ll stay and I might help him and tell him this and that.”
After having shared seven fight cards during the early portion of their careers, the Dirrells no longer do so because of the emotional toll it takes on them.
“We had a chance to fight on the same card this time, but we just didn’t want it. We would be focused on each other,” Anthony Dirrell said. “If I fought before him, he would be focused on my fight, and if he fought before me, I would be focused on his fight.
“It’s just not a comfortable feeling to be nervous like that for your brother before you actually have to fight. So I don’t think that we’ll be fighting on the same card ever again.”