By Rick Reeno
A few weeks back, I reported that Showtime was very interested in putting together a super middleweight tournament with the biggest names at the weight. Over the last few days, BoxingScene.com has spoken with numbers high-level sources who are close to the situation and it appears that Showtime is going to move forward with the super middleweight tournament.
The negotiations for this tournament have been very secretive and some of the information I was able to dig up will make Ken Hershman [Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sports & Event Programming at Showtime] wonder if I tapped his phone line.
From what I was able to find out, Showtime plans to enter into multi-fight agreements with undefeated IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler, former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, undefeated contender Andre Ward, undefeated contender Andre Dirrell and undefeated WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch.
This will NOT be an elimination style tournament.
Once all of the contracts have been signed and every fighter is officially on board, Showtime plans to match them in a round robin tournament with some form of a point system.
If everything goes as expected, the following fights are being discussed for this tournament.
Arthur Abraham vs. Jermain Taylor in October in Germany
Carl Froch vs. Andre Dirrell in October in the UK.
Mikkel Kessler vs. Andre Ward in November.
Arthur Abraham vs. Andre Dirrell in America in January 2010
Mikkel Kessler vs. Carl Froch in Europe in March 2010
Andre Ward vs. Jermain Taylor in America in April/May 2010
Andre Dirrell vs. Andre Ward in America in September 2010
Arthur Abraham vs. Carl Froch in November 2010, with Mikkel Kessler vs. Jermain Taylor taking place around the same time.
After those bouts takes place and the points are tallied up, there will be semi-finals and a final tournament bout.
As far as Kessler’s legal dispute with Mogens Palle, I’ve heard that some form of an agreement was reached with Palle to allow Kessler to participate. I’ve been told that Palle will not be part of the promotion, but if everything comes together as expected - Dan Goossen, Gary Shaw, Lou DiBella, Sauerland Event and Mick Hennessey will be involved.
Some other points of interest.
1. Abraham would vacate his title and move up to 168.
2. Kelly Pavlik would be left without any significant opponents at 160 or 168. The only options I would see for him is the winner of Lucian Bute vs. Librado Andrade or Paul Williams.
3. You would have to applaud the promoters involved if everything is able to get worked out. The tournament would be a global event with some of the biggest names in America, Germany, UK and Denmark.