By Terence Dooley
To tweet or not to tweet: that is the question: no one seems to know the answer, especially fighters; they are either dropping their breakfast menu on the social networking site or using it to break huge news. Andre Ward, 24-0 (13,) opted to use Twitter to announce that he had suffered a cut in sparring, telling his followers that the wound requires seven stitches and has forced the postponement of his Super Six final WBA/WBC 168lb meeting with Carl Froch in Atlantic City on October 29. Summing up a complex situation in 250 characters.
Ward’s bombshell has shaken fans, Matchroom, the promoters of Froch, and Showtime, the network behind the Super Six, with Eddie Hearn, Matchroom’s Group Managing Director and the new driving force behind their boxing output, contacting me to clarify the issue.
“From our point of view we are waiting to hear about a rescheduled date,” stated Eddie. “If it is three months then we want a fight for Carl in the meantime. I want to make sure that Carl gets a fight. Carl is 34 so I won’t wait until January or February for him to fight again. We expected him to be out in October so come October or early December we want him out defending his WBC title.”
Fans have bandied about the names of Sakio Bika and IBF titlist Lucian Bute when mulling over Froch’s possible options should Ward postpone until 2012. Hearn, though, has to tread carefully as Froch, 28-1 (20), is tied to the Super Six, the network is keen to ensure that their showcase final features both major belts and fighters so may be hesitant about allowing ‘The Cobra’ an interim bout.
“It is difficult because if Showtime let us fight outside the agreement they won’t want it to be some huge fight,” confirmed Hearn. “What Showtime have to understand is that Carl’s been training for two months, if he doesn’t get another one it effectively takes a fight away from his career. It therefore takes a substantial amount of money from his career.
“Obviously there are contractual issues to get out the way. Hopefully they’ll understand the situation. They may come back and say the Ward fight has been rescheduled for the end of November, which is something we can’t do anything about.”
Eddie shares a little of the skepticism surrounding Ward’s Tweet as well as disappointment over Son Of God’s decision to break the news on the social network, telling me that he hopes Showtime’s Camp 360 team are camped on Ward’s doorstep in order to get a shot of the injury.
“The great thing about Showtime is that they run these quality documentaries and that facet of their production means they’ll probably have a camera outside Andre’s house this morning because they’ll want to see the cut. If it does require seven stitches there’s not a lot we can do about it.”
Adding: “None of it seems right. He shouldn’t have tweeted it. Maybe someone else has his phone or something and is messing about. It is very unprofessional for him to do this, he’s left everyone in the lurch and something doesn’t quite seem right. You’d normally tell your promoter, they’d tell the TV network and you would sit down together and put out a press release regarding the situation and new date. It doesn’t work like this (tweeting postponement news), these are two world champions, we’re not the challenger and it is not a case of what they says goes. We want to fight, are looking for a solution and should have something by this afternoon.”
Ken Hershman, Showtime Sports General Manager, is now on the case, Eddie has contacted the company and expects to hear from them soon. Saying, “I spoke with Showtime last night and things were fine then, the tweet went out later. Showtime is looking into it and no doubt we’ll get a call within the next hour.
“Carl’s frustrated by this, I told him the same things I’m telling you – I want him to fight this year so if it gets put back to early next year we want Carl out defending his belt in the UK on a massive bill. I’m trying to somehow find a positive, that is my aim when we get a bit of bad news so it we can pull something off it will be better for everyone.”
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