Why Showtime's Super Middleweight Tournament Could Actually Happen

bleacher report.com7th July, 2009

There weren't any major fights to look back on during this July 4th weekend (sorry Eddie Chambers!), so instead, I'm going to focus on some news that first hit over the last few days.

Close your eyes for a second and imagine that two current super middleweight titleholders, two rising American stars, a former middleweight champion and an undefeated middleweight titlist moving up in weight all agreed to compete in a six-man, round robin tournament.

Sounds great but crazy, right? After all, this is boxing, where even obvious matchups have a hard time coming together for various reasons.

But it might not be as far-fetched as it seems. As reported by various sites, but most prominently by ESPN's Dan Rafael, Showtime is attempting to assemble a tournament featuring Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell, Jermain Taylor and Arthur Abraham.

You really need to read the whole piece to appreciate the ambition involved, but to summarize the details, each man would fight three others in the field with two points awarded for a win (plus one for a KO), one for a draw and none for a loss.

The top four in points after the preliminaries would advance to the semifinals, with the winners facing each other after that to decide the whole thing.

The very tentative plan for the first round would be:

Oct. 10: Froch vs. Dirrell and Abraham vs. Taylor

Nov. 7: Kessler vs. Ward

Jan. 30, 2010: Abraham vs. Dirrell

March 2010: Froch vs. Kessler

April or May 2010: Ward vs. Taylor

July or August 2010: Ward vs. Dirrell and Froch vs. Abraham

September 2010: Kessler vs. Taylor

In a word, wow. It would be hard to believe any boxing fan wouldn't be excited by this idea: a series of good fights in a division stocked with talented fighters.

So many questions would be answered by this tournament. Is Froch for real? Does Taylor have anything left in the tank? Can Abraham continue his winning ways at 168? Are the two Andre's ready for the big time? And that's just a few off the top of my head.

At the same time, it's even easier to see why it's not wise to get your hopes up for Showtime actually pulling this off. Too many competing interests, too many egos to be stroked, too much perceived risk (it's very possible to come out 0-3) and just too many questions, even if Rafael says there are contingencies for everything.

Until an official announcement is made that the tournament is on or credible boxing scribes write that it's dead, the case against it will be argued all over the internet. As an optimist by nature, I'm going to take a shot at arguing why the crazy thing might happen.

1. None of the participants are superstars.

Yes, it's a talented field, and everyone but Ward and Dirrell has held an alphabet belt. All of the fighters are known quantities who have been on the big American cable outlets.