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Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Does Ward-Froch winner need to beat Bute?

By Michael Woods

Maybe we will all look back on the grand experiment that is the Super Six and take away this lesson: Americans are not blessed with long attention spans, so if we want to do another tournament, maybe we should make it single elimination, and try to get ‘er done in a year or less.

The final press conference ahead of the Super Six finale, which will unfold Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, featured the final two, Oakland’s humble, God fearin’ warrior Andre Ward (age 27; 24-0 with 13 KOs) and Britain’s not-so-humble and more quotatious hitter, Carl Froch (age 34; 28-1 with 20 KOs). They hyped up the climax fight in front of a fairly sparse crowd of press. I do believe this occurred because the novelty of the tourney wore off; this fight, on its own, should have drawn double the presspersons it did. Promoter Dan Goossen mentioned that the timing, the Dec. 17 date, isn't ideal, with Christmas so close. He is hoping to get close to the 7,000 capacity in AC on fight night, but said that if the fight had gone down on Oct. 29, as originally planned, they were headed to a sellout. The postponement, because Ward suffered a cut on his eye in sparring, diminished the buzz as well.

I suggest to fightwatchers that they miss this one at their peril. Froch will force a rumble, and make Ward work harder than he has as a pro. They are two of the very best super middleweights in the world and had to run through a fierce gauntlet to get here; after two years, and impressive wins against top flight pugilists, come Saturday night, the world will know who the best 168 pounder is.

Or will they? A Romanian-born southpaw named Lucian Bute may well be better than either Ward or Froch. But neither man entertained that notion at the Edison Ballroom on W. 47th on Tuesday afternoon.

“Lucian Bute isn’t even in the discussion,” Froch said after I asked if the winner needed to meet Bute and beat him, to be the best at 168. “I know he’s the IBF champion but the two names on his record are Brian Magee and Glen Johnson, that’s it. He lost to a guy named Librado Andrade. He actually got KO’d. The referee picked him up off the floor, washed his windshield 40 seconds later and the bell was rung and he won on points. But in my opinion, he was knocked out. Lucian Bute needs to fight some of the top level people before he can call himself the best or in the top three in the world.”

“Lucian Bute needs to fight the winner of this fight to be the best,” Ward answered. “That’s just the bottom line. No disrespect to Lucian Bute but he’s fought B- and C level competition. He’s done what he was supposed to; he got them out of there. But it’s like he’s preserving himself, just trying to wait for the winner of this tournament while [Carl and I] have been putting in a lot of hard work. He has to come to us. We won’t have to go to him.”

Tickets are on sale at the Boardwalk Hall box office or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com. All tickets purchased for the original event date will be honored on Dec. 17.  If ticket holders are not able to attend on Dec. 17, refunds are available at the point of purchase. The non-televised undercard begins at 6 p.m. ET.

NYFightBlog readers, does the Super Six winner NEED to fight Bute to be the best at 168, which was the ostensible point of this process when it was unfurled in October 2009? Please weigh in, with a comment.