A report today from Bob Velin at USA Today says that Andre Dirrell has pulled out of the Super Six World Boxing Classic with an undisclosed injury, canceling his November 27 fight with Andre Ward. FanHouse's Lem Satterfield reports that promoter Gary Shaw is calling it a neurological problem.
Dirrell and Ward were supposed to fight on September 27, but promoters Shaw and Dan Goossen couldn't come to an agreement on a venue. After the two sides were served legal notice by Showtime, they worked out a new date recently. But now the fight is completely off, and Ward joins Mikkel Kessler and Jermain Taylor on the sidelines, meaning that half of the original field of the tournament is out before the third stage even begins.
Showtime's Ken Hershman says Ward will still fight on Nov. 27, but he doesn't know if it will be in or out of the tournament.
At this point, no matter how Showtime wants to spin it, the tournament is dead in terms of momentum. They might keep it going, but it simply won't mean near as much from here out as it did before. But with Dirrell and Kessler pulling out, every ounce of steam this tournament has built up is now gone. We're already dealing with a double replacement fight between Allan Green (who was embarrassed by Ward in his tournament debut in June) and Glen Johnson, a very good but old fighter trying to cut to a weight he hasn't made in a decade.
Ward against yet another replacement -- especially given the likely options -- just isn't much of a fight. Green-Johnson is already light on interest. Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham may look at this disaster around them and wonder if it's really worth it anymore, especially if they think there are easier fights out there for them, which there are.
In short, with Dirrell pulling out, the Super Six is now totally meaningless. Taylor leaving was one thing. Kessler leaving was a big blow. Dirrell drives the nails into the coffin. I'd love to rally around Showtime's dogged determination to keep going, but I just can't. We aren't even out of the group stages yet and half the field is gone. Is there really any reason to believe that this thing will make it through elimination rounds even if they get all these fights done?
It was a great, ambitious, and admirable idea, and Showtime and Ken Hershman deserve a lot of credit for thinking outside the box. But it didn't work. It just didn't work.