The scheduled May 26 bout between IBF super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute and Carl Froch has come with a bigger demand for tickets than promoters in the UK were expecting, and thus the fight appears to be on the move out of Capital FM Arena, which has a 10,000 capacity for boxing, and possibly into an outdoor venue in Nottingham, London, or Manchester.
"Since announcing the fight, the phones, emails and tweets have been relentless," said [promoter Eddie] Hearn. "Fight fans and sports fans all want to see these two World beaters clash, and I want to make sure as many people as possible get the chance.
"It is important that Carl gets to fight in Nottingham and I am looking at two outdoor venues there. We are also looking at venues in London and Manchester but we are working with Nottingham City Council to try to keep the fight in Carl’s hometown."
I don't find this all that surprising, as Froch has slowly but surely emerged as arguably the top star in UK boxing, going on the road for the last two-and-a-half years and earning his respect along the way. What was once a marginal star, constantly doubted, has turned into perhaps Britain's best fighter, and while the likes of Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe have retired, Amir Khan has alienated some, and David Haye has made himself almost a running gag, Froch has simply fought and done himself and his countrymen proud.
Now fighting in the UK for the first time since October 2009, and against someone as good and respected as Lucian Bute, with Sky Sports now fully behind him, demand figured to be big for Froch -- bigger than the Capital FM Arena could handle, and that seems to be the case.
I think it's great. Outdoor shows are excellent, a rarity nowadays, and this one should have a tremendous atmosphere no matter where they put it. More and more fans started going to the US with Froch (he wasn't Hatton or anything, but the change in his support for fights was noticeable), and getting a chance to see him in the UK again, and against a world-class opponent, should be exciting for his fans.
There's still no word on American TV for the fight, but we know Showtime is out, and there have been rumors of Epix carrying the fight, plus perhaps a smaller-scale PPV from Integrated Sports, or possibly through Top Rank, as Interbox (Bute's promoters) have a good relationship with Top Rank.