Andre-Dirrell12This coming Saturday May 23rd, the “Premier Boxing Champions” series continues with a broadcast on NBC featuring England’s James DeGale facing off against Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF World title at Super Middleweight. Right now, the match has a very tight line that sees Andre Dirrell a slight favorite at (-125), with the payback on DeGale at (+105). The over/under for the twelve round bout is set at 9 ½, with the over paying (-340) and the under at (+280). Dirrell has the potential to be a feel-good, comeback story or a tragedy for boxing. Dirrell won an Olympic Bronze medal, and as a professional he was surging. He entered the Showtime “Super 6” in October of 2009, and he took his first career loss, to Carl Froch. He returned shortly after, in March of 2010, as he faced undefeated Arthur Abraham (31-0 at the time). Dirrell was well ahead on the cards of all the judges when he slipped on the canvas and Abraham hit him when he was down. Dirrell won the fight by disqualification, however he was also diagnosed with a brain injury that stalled his career outright. He did not fight again for more than a year and a half, and after that comeback he took another year and a half off. He fought every two months three times since August of 2014, however and hopefully all his medical problems are behind him. This is his second shot at a world title, the first being his split decision loss to Froch, so he is hoping this is his turn to shine. In the ensuing period since the Abraham fight, Dirrell has seen his brother Anthony not only become a world champion, he overcame cancer while doing it. For DeGale, this is his first shot at a world title. After his 2008 Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing, he turned pro and quickly went (10-0), but he suffered a setback, losing a British and Commonwealth title fight to George Groves. Since then, DeGale has gotten back on track and reeled off another ten fight winning streak that left him the mandatory title defense for IBF World Champion Carl Froch. Though a fight in England between the two countrymen would have been big, Froch is looking to fight overseas for big money as he nears the end of his career, and he avoided the match with DeGale like a plague. Froch has since vacated the title, opening up this possibility against Dirrell for the vacant title. It would be a nice win for DeGale, who could go back to the UK with a world title and be in the cat-bird’s seat for a re-match with Groves, the only man who beat him. A loss would leave DeGale at (20-2) and would be a major setback for him at this point in his career. Some of the books are still listing the Bryan Vasquez vs Javier Fortuna Super Featherweight WBC title fight for this card, however that fight has been moved to the “Premier Boxing Champions” broadcast scheduled for SPIKETV on May 29th. Vasquez vs Fortuna now supports the Chris Algieri vs Amir Khan main event scheduled for the Barclay’s Center. The Dirrell vs DeGale bout now has a Light Heavyweight ten rounder between Edwin Rodriguez (26-1) and undefeated Craig Baker in the co-main event spot, so expect a line on that fight later this week as well.