LOS ANGELES – Two-time super middleweight champion Anthony “The Dog’’ Dirrell and tough contender Kyrone “Shut It Down’’ Davis battled to a hard-fought 12-round split draw in a WBC Super Middleweight title elimination match in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night Saturday night from the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
It was a tactical match as both boxers displayed superb skills, battling from a distance and in close quarters. Dirrell landed the more accurate shots, but Davis matched his work rate on offense. As the fight wore on it became a question of whether the wily veteran, Dirrell, would be able to drag the younger man, Davis, out into deep waters and sink him. Davis didn’t let that happen, making Dirrell work for everything he got in the fight.
In the end neither man was the clear-cut winner. Judge Patrick Russell scored it 115-113 for Dirrell. Judge Lou Moret scored it 115-113 for Davis and Judge Zachary Young had it 114-114 even.
There was something extra on the line for the winner of the fight – a shot at the WBC Super Middleweight title. The 36-year-old Dirrell (33-2-2, 24 KOs), a two-time WBC 168-pound champion, had the edge in experience over the 26-year-old Davis, who was fighting for the first time at 168 pounds. The younger brother of Andre Dirrell, a bronze medalist for the 2004 U.S. Olympic boxing team, Dirrell was coming off a hard-fought loss to former champion David Benavidez. Dirrell of Flint, Michigan has cleared several hurdles in his life, including surviving cancer and a horrendous motorcycle accident. He was looking at this as his path back to the championship ranks. And he still is.
Davis (15-2-1, 6 KOs) stepped up to the biggest challenge of his career in taking on Dirrell. The most notable victory of his career had come against Marcos Hernandez in 2017. Hernandez was undefeated at the time. In the early rounds against Dirrell, Davis of Wilmington, Delaware seemed a bit hesitant, but settled in as the fight rolled to the middle rounds. He pressed the action at times, but it wasn’t enough to convince two of the judges to give him the decision.
In other televised action, rising Dominican super lightweight prospect Michel Rivera (20-0, 13 KOs) pounded Arecibo, Puerto Rico’s Anthony Mercado (13-5, 11 KOs) and scored a TKO victory when referee Edward Collantes stopped the fight at 2:26 of the eighth round. Anthony Cuba (1-0-1, 1 KO) and Diego Elizondo (3-2-3) fought to a four-round majority draw.