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Dirrell must avoid brawling with Bika

Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1, 22 KOs) will be looking to capture Sakio Bika’s WBC 168 pound title tonight in their rematch at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Dirrell showed the talent to win last time he fought Bika last December, but he played to his strengths by electing to slug it out for the entire fight instead of boxing him the way that his brother Andre Dirrell had wanted him to.

Tonight, Dirrell is going to need to stay 100% focused on hitting and getting out of the way of Bika’s fierce assaults. Dirrell cannot fight the same way by standing in front of Bika hoping he can get the better of him.

Bika showed last time that he’s the better slugger of the two, and more capable of winning those kinds of brawling fight. Dirrell had Bika hurt and on the canvas in the 5th, but he wasn’t able to repeat that in any of the remaining rounds

“It’s important for Dirrell to really fight his fight to really stick to his game plan and not get caught up in the roughhousing and all the rest of that, which is hard to do against Bika,” said Showtime’s Al Bernstein via “Dirrell is the more skilled fighter, obviously. He’s the more skilled guy, technically more polished and Sakio Bika in the last couple of years has actually let his technique slide a little bit and as a result of that, Dirrell is technically more polished.”

Dirrell is by far the more skilled fighter of the two. Bika has always been a little crude with his fighting style, and he didn’t get this way in the last couple of years as Bernstein says.

If anything, Bika has improved in the last couple of years with his boxing technique, because he didn’t use to use his jab like he does now, and his head movement has gotten a lot better. The Bika that exists today is a far better fighter than the one that lost to Lucian Bute, Joe Calzaghe and Andre Ward in the past. He’s older now at 35, but he hasn’t started showing signs of age. He’s in his prime more or less.

Dirrell can win this fight if he doesn’t get drawn into any sustained exchanges like last time. He can’t stand flat-footed in front of Bika any length of time because he doesn’t throw enough punches to get the better of him. Dirrell’s pot shotting isn’t conducive to beating a high volume puncher like Bika. Dirrell has got to move and not present himself as an easy target.

Here are tonight’s purses per Dan Rafael of ESPN: “Porter $500k, Brook 200k, Bika 700k, Dirrell 500, Figueroa 270, Estrada 130, Wilder 50, Gavern 32,500, Linares 5K, Terry 6,500.”

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