If for some reason an April 14 fight between Lucian Bute and Carl Froch doesn't happen, promoter Gary Shaw says that Andre Dirrell is ready to step in and fight Bute, which has been Showtime's preference. From Keith Idec:
"We’d love for him to fight Andre," Shaw said. "I believe Andre is the most talented fighter at 168 pounds. Unfortunately, he got hurt and was unable to continue in the tournament, or I believe he would’ve won the tournament. I would love to have that date on Showtime and have Dirrell fight Bute."
Shaw's statement is no surprise, as both Dirrell brothers have been talking up fights with Bute and Andre Ward since both had dates on Showtime in January, albeit in small ShoBox events.
Dirrell (20-1, 14 KO) returned from a 21-month absence to blow through 37-year-old club fighter Darryl Cunningham in two rounds on December 30, and looked about as sharp as could be fairly stated for a guy who was fighting someone who had absolutely no business in the ring with him.
Showtime pushing for Dirrell is a bit tough to swallow, though -- it's not that Bute vs Dirrell is a bad fight, but Bute vs Froch is a better fight, and it would seem just a little like serious favoritism if Dirrell, promoted by Gary Shaw and managed by Al Haymon, were to waltz in from his two-year, alleged injury absence and basically go directly to a title fight, particularly when a bigger, better title fight is being offered.
Jean Bedard of InterBox, Bute's promoter, said this about a fight between Bute and Dirrell:
“There were some discussions, some very small discussions, regarding Andre Dirrell. But the issue is nobody knows him here. And he lost against Carl Froch. That’s why we still want to fight Carl Froch.”
All plans right now appear to be Bute fighting Froch on April 14, no matter what Showtime wants, and no matter if they air it or not. I said this earlier, but I want to be really clear: If Showtime ultimately chooses to not air Bute vs Froch, thus blocking the fight from airing in the United States where Bute has an exclusive deal with Showtime for one more fight, they're slapping their customers in the face, and they're opening up way more questions than I think they want. New Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza has been accused of favoring Haymon's fighters in his short run, and I've been reluctant to buy in, but this would be cutting it pretty close, and the idea would have to be given consideration.