Ramon Aranda of 411 Mania reports that the California State Athletic Commission has acted quickly to comply with the contracts of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, changing the disputed officials for Saturday night's Mikkel Kessler-Andre Ward fight.
Russ Heimerich, a spokesman of the California State Athletic Commission informed 411mania moments ago that the commission has now come to terms with both the WBA and Team Sauerland on a new set of officials.
The officials will now include Swedish judge Mikael Hook alongside Steve Morrow (Calif) and Stanley Christodoulou (South Africa) along with referee Jack Reiss (Calif).
As we discussed earlier today, the contracts called for one judge from Ward's "territory," one from Kessler's (a Scandinavian country), one neutral judge, and a neutral referee. Stanley Christodoulou was already in place as the neutral referee. Mikael Hook replaces California's Steve English. With a neutral referee likely harder to get on such short notice than a judge, Jack Reiss will stay in the spot. Reiss is a fine referee and shouldn't show any favoritism to Ward, so I expect no issue there. In a perfect world, I'm sure the Kessler side would have a referee from England or Canada or the like, but this was a commission screw-up and they made it as right as possible 48 hours before the fight.
After all that, Kessler's WBA super middleweight title will be on the line. It really made no difference to me whether the title was up for grabs or not, but I'm sure it mattered to Ward and the promoters and the WBA themselves, so it's good it got resolved as quickly as possible.