Taylor vs Nicklow, Dirrell vs Cunningham, Garcia vs Johnson triple header at Morongo

The six featured boxers on tomorrow night’s Special Edition of ShoBox: The New Generation at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa pose for a photo (l to r): Luis Garcia, Andre Dirrell, Jermain Taylor, Jessie Nicklow, Darryl Cunningham and Alexander Johnson. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

When you consider the participants in Friday night’s Special Edition of ShoBox: The New Generation at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, the show should be a doozy. Two of the headliners, Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell, are making their long-awaited returns to the ring.


Taylor, (28-4-1, 17 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., is a former undisputed middleweight champion who’ll be making his first start in 26 months when he meets Jessie Nicklow (22-2-3, 8 KOs) of Baltimore, Md., in the main event. It will be Taylor ’s first fight since losing to Arthur Abraham in the Super Six World Boxing Classicon October 17, 2009.

Jermain Taylor poses for a photo after his weigh-in for Friday night's fight versus Jessie Nicklow. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

Dirrell (19-1, 13 KOs), of Flint, Mich., hasn’t fought since winning that 11th round disqualification over Abraham in the Super Six World Boxing Classic back on March 27, 2010. Dirrell’s first fight in 21 months will be against Darryl Cunningham(24-2, 10 KOs), of Detroit, who has won 17 in-a-row.

After weighing in for Friday night's fight, Andre Dirrell struck a pose. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

In the opening bout of the telecast, former Cuban amateur standout Luis “El Leon” Garcia (11-0, 9 KOs) who now lives in Cork, Ireland, will be making his U. S. debut when he takes on southpaw Alexander “The Great” Johnson(12-0, 5 KOs, 1 NC) of Oxon Hill, Md., in an eight-round bout of undefeated light heavyweights.

Luis Garcia (L) and Alexander Johnson (R) pose for a photo. Garcia's official weight was 174½ pounds. Johnson weighed 172. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

Garcia, who turned 24 on December 23, is a former world amateur champion. Johnson outpointed previously unbeaten Farah Ennis (17-0 going in) two starts ago on April 2, 2011.

What the fighters had to say at today’s weigh-in:

Jermain Taylor

“I feel totally different today than I ever have the day of the weigh-in before a fight. I’m not irritable. I didn’t have to dry out. I feel calm and at peace. I feel so different because finally, for the first time, I did it right. I put in the hours training in the gym. I did my job and worked hard. I don’t have to drop a bunch of weight. I ate pasta the other night, steak and eggs the other morning. I never could do that before. This is the first time I can say that I am entering a fight knowing that I’m in shape. I’m ready to fight.’’

Jessie Nicklow

“I know why they want to fight me. They think I’m too small, that I’m a natural junior middleweight. But they’re making a big mistake. I’m not a steppingstone. I’m really confident for this. I don’t think Taylor has that confidence. He’s been off two years. I’ve had four fights, two this year, but I’ve never been out of the gym. I definitely feel I can stay close (inside) and fight my style of fight. My game plan is always the same – to hit my opponent in the face. I’m not changing anything just because I’m fighting a former world champion. Let’s see what he’s got to offer. I know what I’m bringing.

Andre Dirrell

“I have never felt as excited for a fight since I turned pro. I’m really psyched up. There’s going to be ring rust, of course. I just don’t want to show it. I’ve trained really hard. I trained through the holidays. It all begins again for me Friday night. I want to win, look good, and then go after all the super middleweights. I’m not ducking anybody. I will fight any of the 168-pounders in the world except for my brother, Anthony. People want to see me and Andre Ward fight. All I can continue to say is that fight will definitely happen.’’

Thursday afternoon, Jessie Nicklow weighed in for his bout on Friday at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Ca. Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

Darryl Cunningham

“I’m going to have fun. I appreciate Team Dirrell giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills, and I will showcase my skills on Friday. This is such a great opportunity. I just can’t lose and not take advantage of it.

“Lots of people have never given me my due. They look where I come from, my background, the fact my Dad’s a pastor. They’ve always said the “Church Boy” couldn’t make it in boxing because he was too nice a guy and too much of a family man. This is my chance to prove them, and everybody else wrong.’’

Luis Garcia

“It’s always been my dream to fight in the U.S., and I’m very excited that now it is happening and that it is on Showtime. I really want to win and leave a good impression so I can fight in the states all the time. I don’t know anything about the guy I’m fighting. What I do know is that I will give my best.’’

Alexander Johnson

“This is a great opportunity for me, fighting on SHOWTIME on such a great card like this. I am determined to come in and show what I am made of and what I can do. He may be a bigger name and have the credentials, but that all changes tomorrow. After tomorrow, when someone mentions my name, the question isn’t going to be, “Who is he?’’

Share This Post

Pin It on Pinterest