Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 06th
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andre-ward-vs-lucian-buteI have a few thoughts regarding the recently proposed deal for a two-fight series between Carl Froch and Lucian Bute.  The idea involves a two fight series, one fight in each fighter’s hometown.  First off, nice try in getting us to forget that the big fight in the Super Middleweight division is Andre Ward vs. Lucian Bute.  Perhaps someone looked at the numbers and realized that Bute vs. Ward has a problem.  Both men sell tickets in their home regions, and nowhere else.

Neutral ground made no sense, and perhaps neither was willing to give up home ring advantage, as that fight is likely to go to the scorecards.  While the matchmaking done in the Super Six 168lb tournament should be an inspiration to us all, it was a series that did not display a ton of knockouts.  There were two to be exact… Johnson over Green, and Abraham over Taylor .  Overall it was a positive experience.  There was drama, a few upsets, and not really any outright lousy decisions.

While the set-up forced most people to fight outside of their home turf, it did not really make a star out of anyone in a new region.  Andre Ward won the whole tournament without leaving his home country.  In fact, he did not even leave his home state until the final.  He didn’t even leave his hometown until the semi-final.  He is now the legitimate champion at 168lbs, but he is still largely unknown in Europe , as is the number one contender, Lucian Bute.  Bute does not need to beat Carl Froch to prove this further, either.  This is merely delaying the inevitable at least 7-8 months, if not a full year, as injuries and postponements are very likely.

This will give Ward a chance to perhaps defend against both Dirrell brothers, but Anthony’s ranking is inflated, and Andre needs more time back in the ring before a challenge like that.  Let us not forget, or perhaps we should, Kessler, Abraham, and Stieglitz.  None of them have fought each other, but they have a belt, and with Ward being elevated to Super Champ, there will likely be another belt freed up.  The three of them can stall us out for at least another year, while fighting each other.

Do you see what I am getting at?  It looks as if the ultimate ending we wanted is going to be delayed, just long enough for belts to be stripped, and chaos to reign supreme.  This means that the fans will be denied the one 168lb fight they all want to see.  True, Bute and Ward need to both prove they can win without the crowd on their side, but I’d rather see the two-fight deal being attempted with these two.  The alternative is watching the division stall, and then fragment again.  True, we have an undisputed champion, but with Ring Magazine’s takeover at the hands of a promoter, even that designation is suspect.

The purpose of any unification is to provide clarity… to provide a “man”, therefore the title can change hands the old fashioned way… by the man, beating the man, who beat the man… etc.  Sadly, memories are short, and belt stripping, and avoidance work well for conniving promoters.  Sergio Martinez is the legit Middleweight champion, but with belts stripped away, we have to constantly remind people of that.  I hope Ward and the 168lb-ers are not headed for a similar fate.

Chris Strait

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