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Ward-Dirrell likely to be postponed as promoters dispute venue

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

The scheduled September 25 fight between close friends Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell in the Super Six World Boxing Classic is looking more and more likely to be postponed, according to Lem Satterfield of FanHouse. Promoters Gary Shaw and Dan Goossen are in a dispute about where the fight will be held, and though they're working to hash it out, they're both pretty set on their positions.

"There is zero chance -- no chance -- that Andre Dirrell goes to Oakland to fight Andre Ward," said Shaw, who won't entertain fighting Ward at a neutral site. "No way. Andre Ward has been at home the whole time. He's got to come to Michigan to fight Andre Dirrell."


"I'm still working on the site with Dirrell's team. Sept. 25 is the date that we've targeted, but obviously, as the days go on, the harder it is to look at that date. I'm still arguing the fact that the most money to be made for all of us is in Oakland," said Goossen.

So Shaw demands Detroit, a city with no money, and Goossen is stuck on Oakland, where Ward is becoming a bigger local draw by the fight. Shaw not entertaining the idea of a neutral site is kind of silly -- it's the logical thing to do if the sides are so entirely against fighting on one man's home turf. But he might just be bluffing about that to solidify his anti-Oakland stance, too. If Goossen comes up with a neutral ground that Shaw and Dirrell don't mind, they can then say, "Well, we don't want to, but if that's what it takes to get this done, then fine. Let's do it."

Realistically, Goossen is almost certainly right. The only place this fight makes much money is in Oakland. Despite Ward's status as an emerging P4P contender and his domination in his first two Super Six fights, he's not a huge name by any means yet. He is, though, building up a loyal audience in his hometown. Dirrell doesn't even really have that, and he's even less known than Ward outside of his own turf. Las Vegas would run the risk of drawing a pitiful crowd at a second-rate casino, and you have to expect that any location in California is not agreeable for Shaw and Dirrell. The best fit might really be New York, a market so large and with so many serious boxing fans that they might be able to promote heavily and spark some interest.

A really "out there" idea would be Montreal. If you get some local talent involved on the undercard (maybe David Lemieux, for instance), I think there are enough diehard fight fans in Montreal who just love to see world-class boxing that it could possibly be a success there even without one of the major Quebec-based fighters headlining. It wouldn't do a Bute crowd, obviously, but then again they're not going to get a Bute crowd or a Bute gate out of this thing anywhere.

Finding a Showtime-approved date and a fighter-approved location could wind up being quite a hassle. Hopefully there's a compromise coming soon, or this could drag out for a while. Showtime had set everything up very well to keep all the fighters on the same schedule, with Mikkel Kessler facing Allan Green on September 25, too, and Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham meeting the following weekend.

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