All it took was a terrible incident to give super middleweight Andre Dirrell more press than he could have ever wanted. But it was the wrong kind of press. On a night when Andre Dirrell would fight for an interim belt in the super middleweight division, one of the more infamous scenes in boxing took place.
Dirrell fought Jose Uzcategui on the undercard for a Showtime boxing show this past Saturday night, which featured Gary Russell Jr. versus Oscar Escandon in the main event. According to USA Today, Dirrell claimed the victory in unconventional fashion after Uzcategui was disqualified for punching him several seconds after the bell rang at the end of the eighth round. It was the beginning of what would become the ugliest moments in recent boxing memory. The fight was held at the MGM National Harbor.
Uzcategui hit Dirrell with a three-punch combination as the bell at sounded. The final punch rocked Dirrell and had him fall flat onto the canvas. Jose Uzcategui getting disqualified was due to the fact that referee Bill Clancy had warned him in previous rounds about throwing punches after the bell. The referee was left with no choice but to end the fight after Andre Dirrell had hit the canvas. What ensued afterwards goes directly into infamy.
— Sun Sport (@SunSport) May 21, 2017
Andre Dirrell’s uncle and assistant trainer, Leon Lawson, took matters into his own hands. After the fight was called in Dirrell’s favor, Lawson walked up to Jose Uzcategui and offered his version of justice — a two-punch combination that rocked his nephew’s nemesis. The first punch, a left hook, landed flush on Uzcategui’s jaw. Lawson’s actions started a brief skirmish, but most importantly, could have caused some physical damage to Uzcategui.
Lawson left the scene abruptly after the melee and is now being sought by Prince George’s County Police.
After the incident, an apology was issued by Andre Dirrell.
“I’m sorry for what my coach has done. My coach is my family, my uncle, and he was worried. He cares for me. He loves me. Please forgive him.”
“I’m going to stand up like a man. I didn’t win like I wanted to, but I’ll be back.”
The next time that Andre Dirrell fights, he will likely not have Leon Lawson in his corner.
Jose Uzcategui has filed criminal charges against Lawson, according to The Sun. The British-based website is citing that second-degree assault charges were filed. If tried and convicted, Lawson could face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
— Sean Gibbons (@KnuckleheadSean) May 21, 2017
It took a while for things to settle down after the Dirrell-Uzcategui incident. The main event had not taken place and was likely in danger of being canceled if the chaos prior had not been put under control.
Gary Russell Jr., the featured boxer of the night, made an attempt to rationalize things and apologize for the situation (courtesy of the Washington Post) between Andre Dirrell, Jose Uzcategui, and Leon Lawson.
“We boys are gladiators, and sometimes emotions get the best of us. Our families support us and we draw from each other’s energy, and I hope the fans can see that and understand that sometimes emotions run high. I want to apologize for the gladiators. The gladiators are warriors. The Dirrell camp, sometimes emotions build up and take the best of us. Please forgive them.”
No excuse or reasoning can erase what happened during and after Andre Dirrell fought Jose Uzcategui. It is also difficult to understand the actions of Leon Lawson, who some have stated that he was defending his nephew from what he felt was an unnecessary punch. One set of unnecessary punches does not deserve others. This is not how Andre Dirrell wants to gain publicity.
[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]