Former two-time super middleweight world champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell stated his clear intention to leave the ring with a victory when he takes on former super middleweight champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant in a WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator that serves as the co-main event of a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View on Saturday, October 15 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I don’t care about Caleb Plant and I don’t care what he says,” said Dirrell. “If I go in there and fight up to my capabilities, I’ll come out victorious for sure. I’m doing this for myself. If you’re doing it for something other than yourself and your family, then you’re doing it wrong I think. I’m here to prove to myself that I still have it. I don’t care what people think or say. As long as I keep positivity in my circle, then I’ll be fine.”
Dirrell has conducted training with his longtime coach, the renowned SugarHill Steward, at their typical base camp at Delray Boxing in Delray Beach, Florida. As a fighter who has frequented the region throughout his career, he made sure to pass along his support for those in the state affected by Hurricane Ian.
“Luckily the area we’re staying in didn’t get hit that hard by Hurricane Ian,” said Dirrell. “So we’re alright thankfully, but I know others haven’t been as fortunate and I just hope everyone is staying as safe as possible.
“Camp has been good and I’m feeling healthy. We’re just working on what we need to work on to beat Caleb Plant. That’s it. We come up with game plans and stick to those game plans. If something isn’t working, we move to the next game plan. We’re just ready to fight.”
A native of Flint, Michigan, Dirrell will look to add a signature victory to his already storied career, against another fighter looking to regain their championship status in Plant. Although Dirrell fought on the undercard of Plant’s previous fight, an undisputed title bout loss to Canelo Alvarez, he has kept his focus on his own training instead of studying the bout.
“I’m not even really thinking about Caleb and what he does honestly,” said Dirrell. “I only saw Caleb’s fight against Canelo when I was at the arena. Bits and pieces of it. We know what Caleb does and we know what he brings to the table. All I worry about is what I can do as a fighter.”
Having twice captured the super middleweight championship, Dirrell will return to fight at Barclays Center for the second time. His first outing came in his first ever world title fight, as he fought Sakio Bika to a draw in 2013, before beating him in the rematch to win the WBC belt. Although he has fond memories of Brooklyn, Dirrell has maintained his laser focus on the task at hand on October 15.
“Brooklyn has always been good, but I’m just focused on the fight,” said Dirrell. “People get too caught up in circumstances and lose focus on what they have to do as fighters. I’m always going to go in there and be ‘The Dog.’”
As fight night nears, the veteran Dirrell knows that looking past a fight can have dire consequences. Even for a fighter who has admitted that he’s nearing the end of his career, he’s maintained his dedication to the day in and day out work that has helped him already accomplish so much.
“We’re going to have to see what happens in this fight,” said Dirrell. “I’m not worried about anything after this fight. That’s out of my control right now. What’s in my control is what’s happening in the gym every day.”
Photo: Gabe Gomez/TGB Promotions