By Keith Idec
Lucian Bute’s handlers want him to fight Carl Froch on April 14, but executives at Showtime want Bute to fight a boxer Froch defeated.
Jean Bedard, president of Interbox (Bute’s promoter), said on a conference call Friday morning that Stephen Espinoza, new executive vice president and general manager for Showtime Sports, has informed him that Showtime won’t televise a Bute-Froch fight because he would prefer a bout between the unbeaten Bute and Andre Dirrell.
Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) defeated Dirrell (20-1, 14 KOs) by split decision in the first round of Showtime’s “Super Six World Boxing Classic,” although their October 2009 fight in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham, England, seemingly could’ve gone either way.
“There were some discussions, some very small discussions, regarding Andre Dirrell,” Bedard said. “But the issue is nobody knows him here. And he lost against Carl Froch. That’s why we still want to fight Carl Froch.”
Bedard added that Dirrell, of Flint, Mich., was the only opponent Espinoza mentioned to him for an April 14 fight against Bute on Showtime. Bute (30-0, 24 KOs) wants to fight Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KOs), who dominated Froch in the “Super Six” final Dec. 17 in Atlantic City, but Bedard said he was informed Ward wouldn’t be available to fight in the spring due to a hand injury sustained against Froch.
Ward also said after defeating Froch that Bute would have to “earn” a fight against him, which a victory over Froch presumably would do.
Gary Shaw, Dirrell’s promoter is holding out hope that if negotiations for a Bute-Froch fight fall apart that a Dirrell-Bute bout still can be made for April 14 on Showtime.
“We’d love for him to fight Andre,” Shaw said. “I believe Andre is the most talented fighter at 168 pounds. Unfortunately, he got hurt and was unable to continue in the tournament, or I believe he would’ve won the tournament. I would love to have that date on Showtime and have Dirrell fight Bute.”
Dirrell defeated Armenia’s Arthur Abraham (33-3, 27 KOs) by 11th-round disqualification in his second “Super Six” bout, but suffered an injury caused by the previously unbeaten Abraham’s illegal blow to the head and withdrew from the tournament. After a 21-month layoff, Dirrell returned to the ring Dec. 30 and knocked out Darryl Cunningham (24-3, 10 KOs) in the second round of their scheduled 10-rounder in Cabazon, Calif.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.