Despite the claims by both sides that they wanted to make an April 14 fight, and that they'd do it with or without backing in the U.S. from Showtime, a Lucian Bute vs Carl Froch fight appears to be off the table for now.
Froch will instead focus on returning home, as he told Sky Sports (via Phil D. Jay at World Boxing News):
"I’ve fought everywhere recently in big world title fights and I have got some air miles," said Froch on Sky Sports earlier.
"I want a home fight first, possible Nottingham or just in Britain, then on to another world title after that and maybe look at Lucian Bute."
This could mean that Andre Dirrell, Showtime's preference, will face Bute in April, or it might not. Dirrell recently split from promoter Gary Shaw and adviser Al Haymon.
Froch (28-2, 20 KO) probably won't be taking any kind of significant fight in his April or May return, but rather a winnable bout meant as a thank you to the fans, and also a way of taking some of their money to come see him fight. There have been no rumored opponents.
Dirrell (20-1, 14 KO) says he wants the Bute fight, and without Froch going to Montreal, the Bute camp can't really bring in another big drawing card. The sticking point would be Dirrell's trainer, uncle, and Team Dirrell Promotions partner, Leon Lawson Jr, saying that they won't go to Montreal to fight, instead ludicrously offering to fight him in Detroit, where the crowd would be sparse and everyone would make less money.
In short, if Showtime could force it, Bute vs Dirrell would probably be getting hammered out at the negotiating table right now. But they can't. They have another fight with Bute on his contract, and they're high on Dirrell, or at least they were before he fired Haymon and Shaw. But they can only push for the fight, they can't flat out make it a reality.
There's a pretty good chance Bute will take another easy fight. As of right now, he has no mandatory challenger, and here are the IBF's rankings:
|4||Don George||United States|
|5||Edwin Rodriguez||United States|
|6||Librado Andrade||United States|
|7||Thomas Oosthuizen||South Africa|
|8||George Groves||United Kingdom|
|9||Anthony Dirrell||United States|
|10||Daniel Jacobs||United States|
|12||Jesus Gonzales||United States|
|13||Glen Johnson||United States|
|14||James DeGale||United Kingdom|
- Farias just lost to Arthur Abraham.
- George and Rodriguez will fight each other on the Martinez vs Macklin card on March 17.
- Andrade has already lost to Bute twice.
- Oosthuizen is fighting Serge Yannick on March 3.
- George Groves is fighting Kenny Anderson on March 16.
- Anthony Dirrell is sitting on a WBC mandatory after beating Renan St-Juste.
- Daniel Jacobs is recovering from a battle with brain cancer and without meaning to sound insensitive, has absolutely no business being ranked here.
- Les Sherrington lost his last fight in May 2011 to a guy who came in with a 7-24-1 record. It was a freak accident, as Sherrington was down from a legal punch, and broke his fibula. Sherrington is booked to fight on March 9 in Australia to shake some rust off.
- Jesus Gonzales and Adonis Stevenson are fighting February 18 in an IBF eliminator for the #2 spot.
- Glen Johnson was embarrassing during and after his last fight, which was a loss to Bute.
- James DeGale has some issues right now with promoter Frank Warren, as he's trying to leave Warren's stable.
So this is quite a pickle Bute has right now. He isn't going to fight Froch, Andre Dirrell's team doesn't want to go to Montreal because they hate money, and nobody in the IBF top 15 (13) is free or qualified...except Andre's brother, Anthony Dirrell.