In a stunning bit of news that will seriously dent the ongoing Super Six World Boxing Classic, reigning WBC super middleweight titlist Mikkel Kessler has pulled out of the tournament, citing an eye injury that has been "bothering (him) for some time."
His scheduled September 25 fight with Allan Green has been canceled, and there is no word yet as to whether or not another fighter will replace Kessler against Green, or if Green is simply on the short end of the stick here.
Kessler's withdrawal marks the second fighter of the original six to pull out of the tournament. Jermain Taylor dropped out after his stage one knockout loss to Arthur Abraham. Green replaced Taylor and lost a wide decision to tournament pace-setter Andre Ward.
Right now, it looks like there's a lot of trouble with the Super Six overall. With Kessler out, it's really a little late in the game to get a new fighter in there, and there's a lack of viable options anyway. Sakio Bika would probably make the most sense, but Bika's not the most reliable guy in the world either. Robert Stieglitz is basically sitting on his alphabet title and appears to have no intention of fighting tough opposition. Librado Andrade is promoted by Golden Boy, which might be a bit of a pain, but I'm sure Andrade would be willing to take whatever fight he could. As for the possibility of Jermain Taylor coming back and trying his luck a second time, he doesn't even have a promoter right now, and has said nothing about his boxing future since leaving the tournament.
Kessler was beaten by Ward last November, but rebounded to lift the WBC belt from Carl Froch in April, in what was the tournament's best fight so far. At 31, Kessler has had several nagging and recurring injuries over the years, and has reportedly been advised to not even spar for the next few months.
The third stage of the Super Six now has all of one set fight -- for now, at least. Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham are to meet in Monaco on October 2. The other fight, which matches Ward with Andre Dirrell, is up in the air as everyone squabbles about the venue. The two are close friends and there has been gossip that Dirrell was considering leaving the tournament, but it's just gossip.
With Kessler out, the points leaders are Ward (4), Abraham (3), Froch (2) and Dirrell (2). I'd suppose there's a chance that Showtime would consider just moving right into the elimination rounds, which would have the same two matchups that are currently slated anyway. Allan Green only had an outside shot at advancing anyhow, but may well push for a replacement opponent, given that a knockout win over somebody could then land him in the one-and-done stage, were Froch or Dirrell to lose their next bout.
All in all, this probably doesn't bode well for the scheduling of future Super Six tournaments. Two fighters have pulled out, there has been the expected bickering about where fights are held, and several postponements and delays. But we'll see what Showtime comes up with before we react too seriously.