By Jake Donovan
Badou Jack will eventually make the first defense of his super middleweight title versus mandatory challenger George Groves. When exactly that fight takes place isn’t immediately clear.
The bout was originally targeted for August 22 in Las Vegas, with Showtime to televise. Those plans are no longer in the works, nor has there been confirmation—or any real indication—of when the fight will be rescheduled.
“Showtime doesn’t have a live boxing event on August 22,” Chris DeBlasio, vice president of sports communications confirmed to BoxingScene.com Tuesday afternoon. “We had contemplated doing (a show on that date), but it didn’t materialize.
“We will have more to announce soon.”
The working theory is that the bout will be pushed back to September, although all plans remain up in the air until World welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather confirms the details of his next ring appearance. The pound-for-pound and box-office king insists that his next fight will take place September 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, though the opponent and the means in which the event will be aired have not yet been revealed.
Mayweather also serves as the promoter for Jack through his Mayweather Promotions company.
Jack claimed the super middleweight belt with a majority decision win over Anthony Dirrell in a mild upset this past April in Chicago. The Spike TV-televised bout came with the condition that the winner next face Groves, who flew in from England to witness the action live from ringside alongside promoter Nisse Sauerland.
The World Boxing Council (WBC) immediately ordered a 30-day negotiation period for the two sides to work out a deal, which they did in time to avoid a purse bid hearing.
Groves (21-2, 16KOs) will make his third attempt at a major title. His previous tries resulted in the lone two losses of his career, suffering back-to-back stoppages at the hands of Carl Froch. The manner in which he was stopped in their first fight was considered highly questionable–with Groves up on the scorecards and mildly rocked before the referee panicked and waived off the bout. It was controversial enough to force an immediate rematch, this time with Froch providing a highlight reel knockout in what would ultimately serve as the final performance of his incredible career.
The 27-year old Brit has since won two straight, including a 7th round stoppage of Denis Douglin in a stay-busy fight last November.
Jack (19-1-1, 12KOS) comes in riding a three-fight win streak following the lone loss of his career, a shocking 1st round knockout at the hands of Derek Edwards last February. Rebuilding wins over Jason Escalera and Francisco Sierra were enough to keep him ranked, and thus placed in position to challenge Dirrell for the title earlier this year. The 31-year old boxer—born in Sweden but now fighting out of Las Vegas—made the most of the opportunity, turning in a career-best performance to claim the belt.
Now all he needs is another fight date in order to log in his first defense. Whether it’s on the undercard of Mayweather’s next fight (a more likely scenario should Mayweather fight on Pay-Per-View rather than network TV as has been rumored in recent weeks), or down the road, he promises to be ready for the dangerous showdown with Groves.
“I’m just waiting on confirmation from (Mayweather Promotions CEO) Leonard Ellerbe,” Jack said to BoxingScene.com of the pending fight date. “I’m ready to go and hopefully will hear something (soon).”
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox