by Hans Olson
Moments after Andre Ward defeated Carl Froch in an impressive showing to win Showtime’s Super Six tournament, he was asked about the prospect of fighting Lucian Bute.
“You know, it wasn’t the appropriate time to talk about it before this fight was over, but hey, you know I deserve a long rest,” said Ward to Jim Gray. “We’re going to sit down with my team. We talk as a team. We’re going to figure out what the next move is. We’re not bound to do anything. We’re going to sit down as a team, talk to Goossen, talk to my coach, talk to my manager, and we’ll see what’s next.”
Wait a minute…I thought Andre Ward wanted to prove to everyone he is the best fighter in the division? Why wouldn’t he immediately say: “yes, I want to fight Lucian Bute to prove to everyone I truly am the best fighter in the division, regardless of me having won this tournament.”
It’s probably because Andre Ward knows how difficult a fight with Lucian Bute truly is. You can be certain that his team will do everything in their power to avoid the best fighter in the division, Lucian Bute.
“Well, this is funny,” said Stephane Larouche to Boxing Insider on Monday. “About a year ago, he was hoping—while the tournament was on—in the middle of the tournament, Ward kept saying that he would love to fight Bute to confirm that he is the best super middleweight in the world, and he was excited about fighting Bute. Now suddenly he’s no longer saying that. So I presume that since Lucian did so good against the same opponents that he fought, and he knows that there is risk to fighting Lucian…he wants push it as far [off] as he can, or as late as he can.”
It won’t be any easier to convince Ward and team to demand this fight happen, not when the American media is so shameless enabling Ward and team post-fight. Reading most of the American writers today…the general consensus was that Andre Ward deserves to do what he wants, that Bute hasn’t “earned” the right to fight Ward yet, that Ward is a “true” champion—even as the biggest challenge of his career is right around the corner, ready to fight.
It’s very odd that the boxing media gives Andre Ward a pass on this, yet a guy like Floyd Mayweather is constantly ridiculed and insulted based on who he fights. Last I checked, Floyd’s had nearly twice the amount of fights that Ward has had, Floyd is a bonafide pay-per-view attraction, and Floyd has been operating on the championship level for years. Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward is not. Fighting a guy like Lucian Bute is what Andre Ward needs to do to be considered on that level.
Despite how great Showtime’s Super Six tournament was, the glaring omission of Lucian Bute nullified it’s overall importance.
And for those who think Lucian Bute avoided the tournament, think again.
“Lucian has never been invited to the Super Six. Never ever,” confirmed Larouche. “The only offer we received was a fight against Carl Froch before the tournament happened. It was Mick Hennessy who offered the deal. This is the only real offer we had. And when we received the offer, we were already in fight negotiations for the rematch with Librado Andrade and HBO was all in. So it was hard for us…and Lucian at that time said ‘people believe that I lost to Andrade. I want to clear that thing first before going further.’ But we’ve never, never received any offer to be part of the Super Six tournament. Never ever.”
Now it looks like a fight with Carl Froch could be a strong possibility if Andre Ward doesn’t step up to fight Lucian Bute.
“I think so far Carl Froch has been accepting and facing any challenge in his boxing career, and I presume that he is that type of guy that hopefully will be the one looking to get a title back,” said Stephane.”And to get a title back he will need Lucian Bute. That’s what I hope, and that’s what I believe. You know, Carl Froch…we have to give it to him. He sells good, you know, with his mouth. He loves doing it, and I think he already sold half of the arena without even signing the contract.”
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson