Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic round-robin tournament got a much needed punch in the arm Friday as two matches set for the “Group Stage 3” round of the tournament were officially scheduled for November.
The tournament, which has been bedeviled of late by fighter injuries, will resume Nov. 27 with the Andre Ward-Andre Dirrell fight for Ward’s WBA super middleweight title as well as the vacant WBC championship belt, according to Showtime executives.
Also that night Showtime will air on a taped delayed basis the Arthur Abraham-Carl Froch bout set to take place in Helsinki, Finland.
The final Group Stage 3 tournament bout has yet to be determined. Allan Green — who was scheduled to fight former champion Mikkel Kessler before Kessler pulled out of the tournament in August with an eye injury –will fight an as yet named opponent.
The announcement is good news for boxing fans who have been following the tournament and want to see it through to its rightful conclusion and for Showtime, which has a lot of time and capital invested in the tournament.
Showtime also announced this week it will step into the pay-per-view boxing ring for the first time in five years when it distributes the Dec. 18 Bernard Hopkins-Jean Pascal light heavyweight title fight.
The fight, in which Hopkins will look to take Pascal’s WBC light heavyweight title, is the first Showtime distributed PPV fight since the Oct. 2005 rematch between Diego Corrales and Jose Louis Castillo. Since then the pay TV network has focused most of its boxing efforts on its two on-air franchises — Showtime Championship Boxing and ShoBox, which features up and coming fighters.
Showtime was a major force in the PPV boxing business in the 1990s and early 2000s, distributing some of the most successful events in the category featuring such fighters as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Julio Cesar Chavez.
It’s unclear what Showtime will propose as the suggested retail price for the PPV event. Showtime executives confirmed the fight but would not reveal specific event details.
The fight will most likely end what has been a decent year for PPV boxing events. Through five major PPV boxing events this year – including the Sept. 18 Sugar Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora junior middleweight fight – the industry has generated nearly 3 million PPV buys, according to industry sources.
With strong performances from Hopkins-Pascal and HBO’s Nov. 13 Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito junior middleweight title fight, the industry could surpass the approximately 3.8 million buys the PPV boxing category generated last year.