The first time super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell and Jose Uzcategui met they produced an action fight that ended in a storm of controversy, and that says nothing of the shocking aftermath.
An immediate rematch was ordered and now it has been scheduled. Dirrell, who won a vacant interim world title in the first fight, will defend the 168-pound belt for the first time when he and Uzcategui renew hostilities on March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The fight, announced on Monday, will open the Showtime-televised tripleheader (9 p.m. ET) headlined by heavyweight world titleholder Deontay Wilder’s defense against Luis “King Kong” Ortiz and Jermall Charlo taking on Hugo Centeno Jr. for a vacant interim middleweight world title.
Dirrell (26-2, 16 KOs) and Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs) first met May 20 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, where Dirrell won by disqualification after Uzcategui hit him virtually simultaneously with the bell ending the eighth round and knocked him out.
Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs), 27, a Venezuela native based in Mexico, drilled Dirrell with a three-punch combination with the final shot landing while the bell was still ringing to end the round.
Dirrell (26-2, 16 KOs), a 34-year-old southpaw from Flint, Michigan, went down hard, face first, and referee Bill Clancy ruled that the final punch landed after the bell and that Dirrell was unable to continue.
Had Clancy ruled that the knockout punch was the result of an accidental foul the fight would have been sent to the scorecards and Uzcategui would have won a majority decision. He was ahead 77-74 and 77-75 on two scorecards and the third scorecard was 76-76.
Uzcategui protested the result, but the Maryland State Athletic Commission upheld Clancy’s ruling. Uzcategui also asked that the IBF, whose interim belt was at stake, order an immediate rematch, which it did, citing errors made by Clancy.
Both boxers said they are anxious to fight each other again to clear up any doubts about the first fight.
“I’m extremely excited to be a part of one of the most dynamic tripleheaders this year,” Dirrell said “This time around I’ll be phenomenal and leave no doubt who the better fighter is. I’m 100 percent focused on dominating Uzcategui on March 3 and getting another shot at the (full) title.”
Said Uzcategui: “I’m very excited to go get what’s mine. I feel I won the last fight. I didn’t feel I did anything wrong. What happened in the last fight is in the past. I’m going to get what belongs to me. The world will see what ‘Bolivita’ can do and they’ll want to see more of me.”
Minutes after May 20 fight ended Dirrell’s uncle and trainer, Leon Lawson Jr., viciously assaulted Uzcategui by sucker punching him in the face as he stood in his corner minding his business. Lawson was later arrested on assault charges. He faces a trial on a second-degree assault charge in Maryland’s Prince George’s County in April, following multiple postponements.
Lawson is barred from working Dirrell’s corner because he suspended indefinitely by the Maryland State Athletic Commission, as well as by various sanctioning organizations, for the unprovoked attack