Boxing: Ward vs Froch, Bute vs Johnson, Kessler vs Stieglitz, Super Six 2?
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On October 29 and November 5, all four major world championship belts from the super middleweight (168 lbs) division will be on the line.
The Showtime Super Six Tournament concludes on October 29 with WBA world champion Andre Ward (24-0, 13 knockouts) facing WBC world champion Carl Froch (27-1, 20 knockouts) at the Boardwalk Hall in New Jersey.
Undefeated knockout artist Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 knockouts) was noticeably missing from the Super Six and has brutalized good, but not elite competition until now.
November 5, Bute puts his IBF world title on the line against former world champion, Glen Johnson (51-15-2, 35 knockouts) in the second of a three-fight deal with Showtime.
Showtime is likely to televise WBO world champion Robert Stieglitz's November 5 title defense against Mikkel Kessler (44-2, 33 knockouts) according to ESPN.
Kessler was an original member of the Super Six, but dropped out after two rounds of combat with an eye injury, losing to Ward by unanimous decision and then defeating Froch by unanimous decision.
Three championship fights within a week of one another with six world class boxing talents? Hmm, sounds like a Super Six reboot to me.
The winners of these three championship matches will likely be offered an attractive mult-million dollar package for two to three more fights with Showtime.
Use the right arrow key to continue to see what three fights I believe are coming next in 2012.
The Winner of Bute vs Johnson vs the Winner of Kessler vs Stieglitz
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In light of Showtime's recent loss of the highly-anticipated Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez pay-per-view event to HBO, Showtime will have a new determination to make sure its Super Six stars stay put.
Airing Kessler's and Bute's title fights on the same night is likely to cause the desire for a unification match amongst the fans watching at home.
The general consensus on Showtime's plans were to have Bute face the winner of the Super Six should he get past his November 5 title defense.
Showtime may delay Bute facing the Super Six winner to showcase him against yet another elite talent to further hype the bout.
Bute's exclusivity contract with Showtime currently has only one fight left after Johnson. Showtime can easily renegotiate a new contract with more money.
Kessler in the mean time, if he can beat Stieglitz, will likely get one more run at big money against Bute likely in Canada where his name sells out arenas to maximize the profit.
The winner of this clash also has two world championship belts (WBO and IBF) to match the Super Six winner's belts (WBA and WBC).
The Winner of Andre Ward vs Carl Froch Against Anthony Dirrell
A captivating story like this is what sells pay-per-views and attracts the audience to boxers and makes them fans.
Anthony Dirrell (23-0, 20 Knockouts) has recently been rated the No. 1 contender by the WBC for their super middleweight belt.
Should the winner of Ward vs Froch want a fight to keep them active while they await the winner of the unification bouts for the WBO and IBF belts, Dirrell would make an exciting dance partner.
Not only is he exciting, but his backstory of fighting cancer at age 23 and being arrested for armed robbery would charm anyone with a heart for the underdog.
If Ward wins against Froch, the fact that he and Dirrell are undefeated will be played up for as much hype as possible by Showtime.
Expect to see tired phrases to hype the fight such as "who's '0' will go", "somebody's '0' is about to go" and so forth.
The Final Unification of the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO World Championships
Here's the Original Super Six Trailer.
After the winners of Bute vs Johnson and Kessler vs Stieglitz have competed. The winner will likely face the Super Six winner in the fall of 2012, assuming the Super Six winner bypassed or defeated Dirrell.
If Dirrell does defeat the Super Six winner, and Bute defeats Johnson and the Kessler-Stieglitz winner, then the final unification match will be action-packed for sure.
Two knockout kings going head-to-head will surely get Showtime the type of fight that thrills audiences and creates potential ratings.
If Ward emerges as the man on the other side of the ring from Bute, then it's still a fight between two great undefeated fighters.
If Kessler happens to defeat Bute, then Ward vs Kessler II will still be a decent sell. Their first fight was close enough to warrant a rematch.
Showtime will likely not want Stieglitz or Johnson to win. Johnson is elite, but a 42-year-old man. Him winning says a lot about the young and bright talent at 168 lbs.
The perception would be that the young guys aren't extraordinarily talented if a 42-year-old can beat them. That may not be true, but that's how an audience may choose to view Johnson's victory.
Stieglitz is another boxer Showtime likely won't want to win. He's not a knockout artist and he has a difficult name to pronounce.
He's also German. The most marketable fighters in the America that come from Europe usually are from Britain like Froch. That may be slightly biased, but numbers don't lie.
What non-British European fighters sell pay-per-views or do any kind of numbers in America outside of Danish star Kessler or the Klitschko Brothers?
No matter who wins, the final match will be interesting and a fun fight to watch. Be sure to be on the lookout October 29 and November 5 and beyond, because I feel Showtime has big plans for these men.