By Rick Reeno
Sauerland Event has confirmed to BoxingScene.com that the Home Depot Center in California is "one of the sites" being discussed for the Super Six semi-final bout between WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward (23-0, 13KOs) and former IBF middleweight champ Arthur Abraham (32-2, 26KOs). The fight is scheduled for May 14.
There are some major sticking points involved. The California State Athletic Commission is not too friendly with the use of neutral officials. When Sauerland fighter Mikkel Kessler fought Andre Ward in the first stage of the Super Six in Oakland, the controversy over the officials nearly caused the fight to get cancelled. Both sides reached a deal on the eve of the fight. In the aftermath of Ward-Kessler, Sauerland and Team Kessler were very upset with performance of California referee Jack Reiss. They believe the ref allowed Ward to get away with multiple fouls, including several headbutts. It's almost a lock that Sauerland is going to request a neutral referee and neutral judges.
Another issue is a testing protocol by WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency]. California does not have a WADA testing requirement in place. Two of Abraham's three fights in the Super Six have involved WADA testing. The fights with Carl Froch [Helsinki] and Jermain Taylor [Berlin] had WADA testing protocols in place, while the fight with Andre Dirrell [Detroit] did not. There is no indication on how big of an issue the WADA testing requirement will become.