Just a day after the hints started rolling out from Canada, and hours after Carl Froch said he was confident it was coming, a May 26 fight between IBF super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute and Froch is a done deal for the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England.
Here's what Bute told ESPN.com:
"It's my goal to fight the best boxers in the super middleweight division," Bute said Thursday. "Carl Froch belongs in the elite of the super middleweight division and it will be a great fight. I am very confident and it will not faze me fighting in enemy territory.
"Supporters of Carl Froch will live their greatest disappointment. The IBF belt will fly roundtrip Montreal-Nottingham and back."
Froch added this:
"It's a dream come true to get this opportunity to become a three-time world champion in my hometown of Nottingham," Froch said. "The Super Six was an incredible journey for me but I missed fighting in the UK and it was important that Eddie and I made that happen, and for it to be for a world title is the icing on the cake. I'm ready to go to war all over again."
With Showtime rejecting the fight, the retain rights to another Bute fight, but this one can be sold to another network. HBO has declined, Dan Rafael reports, which I think is more their President, Ken Hershman, being the former lead man at Showtime, and seeing that as picking a fight that doesn't need to be picked, plus it's really a no-win situation for them to air this fight. HBO only has so much budget, too, and to put this fight on their network would not be cheap. They'd have no future in Bute should he win, since with a Showtime fight left they could choose to capitalize on any investment HBO made.
One report has said that Epix will carry the fight, and surely they're interested. ESPN could get involved, in theory, and so could Integrated Sports, airing it as an afternoon pay-per-view and just picking up the Sky Sports feed from the UK.
However it winds up on American TV, I'm sure it'll get here, because it's basically too good of a fight to not wind up somewhere, but for the promoters, that's a secondary issue. The fight is done, they have UK and Canadian TV outlets, and we're good to go.