By Mitch Abramson
Ken Hershman, executive vice president and general manager of Showtime Sports, is still open to running another boxing tournament that approaches the size, scope and length of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, which has been criticized for taking nearly two years to complete. Speaking at a news conference to promote the finals on Tuesday between Andre Ward and Carl Froch on Oct. 29, Hershman dismissed chatter that it took too long to get to the championship round, saying that with so many competitive matchups in the preliminary rounds- it was worth the wait.
“A lot of people throw out that criticism that it took too long,” Hershman told BoxingScene.com. “And I’m thinking: When you saw the level of fights and the number of fights, if you’re a boxing fan, it can’t be too long to see too many great fights. I think it takes time. These are tough guys. You need rest in between. You need time to plan for injuries. There are going to be drop outs inevitably. It takes time, but ultimately you get what you’re getting on Oct. 29, which is one of the biggest fights in super middleweight history.”
The Super Six, which was initially met with widespread support and was trumpeted as a revolutionary idea, was marred by injuries, fighters suddenly announcing retirement and late replacements for bouts. Still, Hershman’s vision and his resolve will be on display for the championship bout at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J with the culmination of the tournament.
“I’m thrilled obviously that it’s coming to a conclusion,” Hershman said “That’s what we wanted. You’ve had to get through a lot of events, a lot of fights, lots of ups and downs to get to the finals. The two who got there deserved it.”
Of doing another tournament in the future, he said: “I would love to do it. I think it’s great for boxing. It’s fantastic for the participants. It’s great for Showtime and I’d love to keep doing it. Obviously, you want to keep them as short as possible,”
Hershman went on. “But with injuries and delays, it’s inevitable it’s going to stretch out longer than we would personally like but we think at the end of the day, two years is a very reasonable timeframe when you consider all of the great fights that we’ve done.”
Hershman has yet to decide on which weight class and when he wants to run another tournament.
Mitch Abramson covers the boxing scene for the New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.