By Rick Reeno
The boxing world is buzzing after Friday's bombshell on BoxingScene.com. We reported that Showtime was moving forward with their planned super middleweight tournament. The round robin format will feature 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.
If Dan Goossen, Gary Shaw, Lou DiBella, Sauerland Event and Mick Hennessey are able to agree on all of the tournament terms and the contracts are signed by their fighters, then Showtime will pull off one of the biggest moves in the last few years.
I received a lot of calls and emails over the absence of one particular name from the tournament, undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute. I was personally told by two parties that are heavily involved in the tournament negotiations that Bute's team turned down the offer to be part of the tournament. One source claimed that Bute's team refused to agree to the round robin format.
One of the many calls I received came from Bute's matchmaker, Don Majeski, who was very angry over some of the inaccurate information going around. According to Majeski, there was never an offer presented by Showtime and Bute would have been happy to be part of the tournament.
"That is a lie [referring to Bute's refusal to enter the tournament]. How is Jermain Taylor, who lost three of his last four fights, a part of this tournament and not Bute? What credentials do Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell have over Bute? They invited two other undefeated champions to be part of the tournament but not Bute or Jean Pascal [who Majeski also works with]. Bute has been on Showtime and he's a North American fighter," Majeski said to BoxingScene.com.
"Bute will fulfill his mandatory [against Librado Andrade] and take on any and all of these fighters in the tournment and the same goes for Jean Pascal."