Yesterday, we discussed the possibility that the winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic may not face Lucian Bute immediately, even if Bute wins on November 5 against Glen Johnson. That came up because Andre Ward's promoter, Dan Goossen, said there was no obligation.
However, the key we pointed out is that Showtime will absolutely be pushing for Ward or Carl Froch, who square off on October 29, to face Bute next. They signed Bute to a three-fight deal, and have timed it perfectly so that his third fight in that deal could be against the Super Six winner. They have the parties fighting just a week apart, so buzz will follow from the Super Six into the Bute fight, and if Bute beats Glen Johnson, you can expect him to be asked in the ring if he'll fight Ward or Froch next.
But his answer to that question won't mean anything is certain, no matter how enthusiastic he might sound. He also said he'd fight Mikkel Kessler earlier this year on Showtime, and that didn't happen. Kessler says he was offered short money, and instead is taking a fight at home in Denmark with WBO super middleweight titlist Robert Stieglitz.
At the time, Carl Froch hadn't said anything about the situation. But Keith Idec at BoxingScene.com has this from "The Cobra," who brings up the other key to making the potential fight: Location, location, location.
"It’s just where the fight will happen. Will he come out of Canada? Will it be over in England? Will it be in America? But that’s definitely a fight that could happen and should happen, really, because after this Super Six final, one guy should be determined or should have a chance to become the three-belt champion, the undisputed [super middleweight] champion of the world."
I think we can guarantee that Bute won't be going to England to face Froch. Bute's team doesn't leave Canada for tough fights. Let's be really clear about that: Bute hasn't fought in the United States since 2004, and has only twice since then fought outside of Quebec, when he made two trips to his native country, Romania. He went to Romania in 2005 to defeat Donny McCrary, and in his last fight when he was matched with lousy mandatory challenger Jean Paul Mendy. Bute makes major money in Canada.
Froch, as we mentioned yesterday, is very good at making sure everyone remembers he's been traveling for tough fights. But you also get the sense that he's sick of traveling for those tough fights, and if he does beat Ward, might want to have a victory celebration sort of fight in the UK.
Now, that may seem like no big deal, but here's where the big deal could come into play. Let's say Froch were to win, and he wants to take a fight at home, where Bute is not going to go fight him. That part's fine. But Bute isn't going to sit and wait for another downtime cycle to pass. He'll fight again, which puts Showtime in a tough spot: If they don't televise him, as they didn't for the Mendy fight, then Interbox and Bute could potentially pull some kind of argument out about Showtime leaving him off and trying to milk the contract. If they do televise him, without signing a contract extension, they're opening the door for HBO to snap up Bute and prevent him from fighting Froch next. The same basically goes for Ward as the winner, should he also want to take a fight between Froch and Bute.
If it's Froch, that's probably easier to make. I expect Froch could be negotiated into going to Montreal or Quebec City, and there's a good neutral ground for a Froch vs Bute fight, too, which would be Atlantic City. Ward vs Bute could be more of a hassle. Ward isn't quite the homebody fighter that Bute is, but he has fought all of his Super Six bouts in California, and likes fighting at home. I don't see that fight being a draw in Las Vegas, and I'm not sure Ward would be up for another trip to Atlantic City, even. He's making a pretty big deal out of the trip there to face Froch.
I don't think Showtime can truly force the fight to happen. They'll have to televise Bute a third time at some point, and if he refuses to leave Quebec, or Froch or Ward refuse to fight him there, it could be a dilly of a pickle. And while it's all just speculation right now, Bute leaving Quebec for a big fight would be a first, and Ward and Froch aren't exactly Brinkley, Andrade or Magee, either. They have their own fanbases and places where they can make their own fights. I'm really quite interested to see how this all pans out. And we haven't even given proper weight to what Glen Johnson might say about all of this, either.