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The Go-Ahead: The Super Six Moves Forward

The Super Six tournament is back on track with the announcement that Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell will finally meet and that Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham will fight on November 27 in Helsinki. “We are still on pace to complete the tournament in 2011, at which time we will have delivered to boxing fans around the world a number of the most compelling and meaningful matches in the sport,” Ken Hershman, Vice President of Sports Programming at Showtime, said.

Helsinki is not an ideal choice, but at least Finland has homegrown boxing talent to draw local support. Among the most prominent Finns are Robert Helenius, Niko Jokinen, and formerly world-rated Amin Asikainen. It remains to be seen whether Mick Hennessy and Sauerland Event are smart enough to utilize a local site coordinator to stock the undercard with Finnish talent. After all, these are the same yokels who decided Fontvieille would be the perfect place to mollify a paranoid Carl Froch, who lately has become the boxing equivalent of Fox Mulder. This is one opportunity even a boxing promoter could not screw up: Helenius fights for Sauerland and is an obvious choice to fill some seats at the Hartwall Areena.

As for Dirrell and Ward, their mysteriously delayed fight will take place on the same date as Abraham-Froch in a location yet to be determined. Chuck E. Cheese or any Tunnel of Love will suffice. No one has been able to ascertain exactly why Ward and Dirrell have been so drag-ass about facing each other in the ring. In a sport where every other warm body is a “reliable source,” none have come forward to drop that dime on a situation so preposterous that Showtime was forced to send legal letters to both camps. Gary Shaw is remarkably tightlipped about the situation, Andre Dirrell sent out a disingenuous Tweet or two, and Dan Goosen gets mealy-mouthed whenever the subject is broached. Andre Ward recently told Ring Magazine, “Honestly, I don’t know what the holdup was,” but if one was forced to guess…Ward is a professional prizefighter who has remained unflappable in the ring and has shown a quiet confidence outside of it. Can the same be said
of Andre Dirrell?

After Mikkel Kessler dropped out of the tournament due to an eye injury, there was much speculation that the remaining fights would be moved ahead to semi-final status. But Allan Green, the personification of a boxing sore thumb at this point, will remain in the Super Six and an opponent is being sought out for him. Considering the labyrinthine machinations revealed throughout the Super Six, it makes sense that a replacement from Kessler would come from Sauerland, to “make up” for the absence of Kessler. Unfortunately, the only super middleweight they have seems to be Henry Weber, a young fighter with only a dozen bouts to his name. Does that mean other promoters get a shot to slot one of their fighters into the Super Six? Many super middleweights are busy or ineligible at this point: Lucien Bute and Jesse Brinkley, for example, will be fighting each other. Sakio Bika lost his last fight via DQ, and Jean Paul Mendy, the victim of Bika-rage, was last
seen counting atoms in the ring in Las Vegas. Will it be a fighter from a smaller promotional company willing to take the opportunity? Robert Stieglitz? Daniel Geale? Dimitri Sartison? Or will a “deal” be worked out somewhere along the way among the Super Six promoters? The only likely super-middleweight to be found among the rosters of all the Super Six promoters appears to be undefeated Marcus Johnson, handled by Lou DiBella.

After all that has happened, the Super Six has begun to resemble a resilient poker player on a bad run. And it might not get any better for Showtime and the tournament. These Group Stage III bouts will most likely go up against a planned HBO tripleheader headlined by Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis, a fight that will probably set off fire alarms and sprinkler systems in the MGM Grand. Once again, the Super Six sees its hand beaten by an ace on the river. But it will just take the hit and wait for the next deal.

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