It’s been nearly two years since the launch of Showtime’s ambitious Super Six World Boxing Classic, a made-for-TV tournament designed to crown a “true” champion of the 168-pound division.
What’s a few months more?
The super middleweight title unification fight between WBA champ Andre Ward and WBC beltholder Carl Froch, set for Oct. 29 in Atlantic City, N.J., has been postponed after Ward suffered a cut above his right eye Thursday during a sparring session.
The announcement was made jointly today by Ward’s promoter, Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions, Froch’s promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, and Showtime Sports general manager (and tournament architect) Ken Hershman.
“I’m extremely disappointed about this cut,” Ward said in a statement. “We used every precaution, including headgear with a face bar and it was just a fluke situation. My sparring partner and I were involved in an exchange inside and the next thing I knew, I was bleeding. That is the most frustrating thing about this — I don’t have an explanation for how it happened.
“This is very frustrating for my camp and I, and I knew that if the shoe was on the other foot and Froch suffered an injury, I would be extremely disappointed.”
“This is absurd and unprofessional. Ward needs to get his act together,” Froch said, upon hearing the news. “Of course, you’ve got to take the medical advice seriously, but for a cut to put you out of a fight a full five weeks before the event is ludicrous. If it were two weeks out from the fight, maybe I’d understand. But he’s got 35 days to deal with it. To me, he’s showing his weakness. Nothing changes for me. I’ll be ready if and when he shows up.”
A noble effort toward superseding boxing’s alphabet-soup sanctioning bodies and determining an undisputed champion in one of the sport’s deepest divisions, the Super Six has been snakebitten by injuries and dropouts nearly from the start, extending far past its original 18-month timeframe.
Ward (24-0, 13 KOs), an Olympic gold medalist in 2004, ranks No. 8 in SI.com’s latest pound-for-pound ratings.
Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) suffered his only loss as a professional in the second round of the round-robin group stage to Mikkel Kessler, but amassed enough points to qualify for the semifinals, where he decisioned Glen Johnson in June.
– Bryan Armen Graham