Sauerland Event sent out a press release today, making official their rumored signing of super middleweight titlist Mikkel Kessler, a move that Kalle Sauerland told reporters makes the Showtime 168-pound tournament good to go. Sauerland says his new star is headed to the United States for the July 13 press conference.
This is really, really big news all around. Kessler career's has been stop-and-go since his loss to Joe Calzaghe, and at this point it had become nothing but "stop." His feud with his old promotes, the Palles, had become a Cold War of sorts. He was fighting iffy mandatories and really nothing more. For a man who tested Calzaghe as much as just about anyone ever did, it was a shame to watch him not get the chance to truly inherit Calzaghe's throne as the king of the super middleweights.
If (yes, if) the Showtime tournament is truly on, the first three matchups will be:
October: Arthur Abraham v. Jermain Taylor
October: Carl Froch v. Andre Dirrell
November: Mikkel Kessler v. Andre Ward
Kessler also has a mandatory in place against Gusmyl Perdomo, and may try to get that out of the way. Dan Rafael says that since their July 3 date to come up with a deal has passed, the WBA is expected to order a purse bid on Kessler-Perdomo soon. I'd almost prefer Kessler give up the title and not risk even a cut or anything, but fighters do care about those belts even if many of us do not. Sauerland's Chris Meyer says that Kessler does plan to fight Perdomo and then go to the tournament. If they can get a deal sorted out for an August date, there really shouldn't be a problem. Even early September would likely suffice. Perdomo, honestly, is no match for Kessler and the fight is kind of ridiculous.
All in all, this is good news for everyone. Kessler is out from under the clutches of Mogens Palle, who seemed intent on doing nothing more than wrecking the fighter's career, and I don't say that to make Palle sound evil or anything, it's just how it was playing out. The tournament -- which I think is the biggest advancement in boxing promotion in decades, literally -- looks good to go. Nothing bad here.