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Not quite Super Six

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Ben Dirs | 07:38 UK time, Friday, 16 December 2011

Super Six? More like the Coulda Been Super Six. Or the Shoulda Been Super Eight. Or even the Shoulda Been Fantastic Four. One day boxing will get it right, but that time hasn't arrived just yet. What is more, don't expect it to arrive on Saturday, when Nottingham's Carl Froch clashes with American Andre Ward in Atlantic City for an admittedly intriguing tournament finale.

Still, let's not be churlish. While American broadcaster Showtime might not have achieved its aims - to turn the super-middleweight division into boxing's most vibrant, raise the profile of the sport in general and create a break-out star - it should at least be praised for trying.

For as long as anyone can remember boxing has been undermined by internecine politics, the best fighters not fighting each other, the public not getting what it deserves. So persuading eight of the 168lb division's brightest stars to sign up in the first place was a bona fide coup.

But there is no escaping the fact the idea was hamstrung from the very beginning by an unwieldy format. From first bell to last will have taken 26 gruelling months, the tournament meandering all over the globe, public interest waning further with each cancellation or withdrawal.

Carl Froch

Froch is a heavy underdog for his bout with Ward in Atlantic City on Saturday. Photo: Getty

This is largely down to the decision to have the six participants fight on a round-robin basis in the early stages. This lack of immediacy - whereby a defeat for a fighter did not necessarily mean they were toast - meant the whole enterprise lacked drama and clarity, two properties the sport is crying out for.

Throw injury drop-outs into the mix (Mikkel Kessler, Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell), fighters consequently having to take bouts against opponents not locked into the tournament (Ward and Arthur Abraham) and the inevitable postponements, and you were left with a rather ramshackle affair. It certainly wasn't the slick, easy-to-follow product Showtime would have been hoping for.

Far better would have been an eight-man, knockout tournament - long-reigning IBF champion Lucian Bute was an eyebrow-raising omission - or, even better, a four-man tournament with both semi-finals staged on the same night at the same venue.

A four-man tournament consisting of the four major title-holders is boxing's Holy Grail, but that kind of talk is so outlandish it is liable to land you in a lunatic asylum.

Undefeated Romanian-Canadian Bute is the elephant in the room. So protracted has the tournament been that there are some who argue the winner of the Super Six might not even be the best super-middleweight out there and that Bute, who has defended his belt six times since the tournament began in October 2009, has a decent claim to that honorific crown.

Whether that is the case or not, it may be that the winner of Froch-Ward has to face Bute in 2012 in order to convince everyone he is unequivocally the main man at 12 stone, which some fans might argue renders the whole Super Six enterprise just a little bit pointless.

This view, however, ignores the fact the Super Six has produced some pretty decent entertainment - which is, lest we forget, what boxing is supposed to be about. Froch's domination of Abraham was a masterclass, his match with Kessler was compelling, while former Olympic champion Ward has looked like a budding superstar pretty much throughout.

I say 'budding', but Ward - who I expect to beat Froch quite handily on Saturday - ever blossoming into a break-out act seems unlikely. Despite his undoubted talent, Ward remains what he was before the tournament started: a low-key sportsman in what is still, regrettably, a fringe sport in his home country.

As for Froch, who has spent the last few years complaining bitterly he does not get the due he deserves, the fact he did not make the BBC Sports Personality shortlist tells you the kind of recognition the 34-year-old craves may never come, whether he beats Ward or not.

The Super Six cannot be trumpeted as a resounding success - although neither should it be written off as an unmitigated failure. Indeed, anyone involved in the make-up of the venture could be forgiven for responding to any criticism with an impassioned: "We tried, didn't we? Goddamnit, at least we did that..."

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  • Comment number 1.

    Froch v Taylor wasn't part of the super six.

  • Comment number 2.

    Agree with BigBods that Froch v Taylor was before. Also

    "This is largely down to the decision to split six fighters into two groups and have them fight on a round-robin basis".

    This isn't correct either. Each fighter had three group fights against different opposition. No split into round robin stages.

  • Comment number 3.

    BigBods, you're ruddy bloody right, well done for spotting the clanger and putting me right...

  • Comment number 4.

    NewGunner13 - Yep, right again. You see, no clarity at all...

  • Comment number 5.

    Ben - "Ward - who I expect to beat Froch quite handily" - do you want to expand such an off-the-cuff statement a little bit more??

    Wards fights have all been wide point victory's against good opponents but none who came even close to giving him a decent fight - you might say that is because of Ward's superior ability but I don't agree with that.

    Froch came out in the last round against Taylor and KO'd him. He is wily, more experienced and he will give Ward something he has never had in the ring before - a gruelling, all out scrap of a 12 rounder.

    Kessler who lost to Ward but beat Froch is tipping Froch to win.

  • Comment number 6.

    A bit harsh on the Super Six Ben, yes the format was more ludicrous than that of the cricket world cup.

    But it has created a lot of very close match ups between arguably the best in the division (no including Bute)

    Hopefully they will build on this and go for a straight knockout format with either 4 or 8 boxers.
    I think it needs a massive cash prize for the winner to get people involved. Something Alan Stamford-like and look how well that turned out.

    What division would you like to see the Super 4 (or 8) happen in? I think maybe middleweight.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Ben, I think you are being a little unfair here... ok in terms of drop outs it has not been a great success but surely who ever can last the greulling 26 months is worthy of calling himself the best in the division. Bute has not fought outside Canada and a good fighter he may be, only when he fights outside of his back yard can he lay any claim to be the best. Also I think you are a little unfair on Froch, anybody who follows British boxing and has watched Froch over the last ten years cannot argue with what he has produced, I for one am a massive fan and love watching his fights because im yet to see a bad one, he doesn't get the recognition he deserves but his record speaks for itself and as you say boxing is littered with politics and I think it is refreshing that Froch has faced top contender after top contender and been written off almost every time!

  • Comment number 8.

    yorkshire_blogster - Ha. It was off the cuff because this blog is about the concept in general, Mike Costello is expected to file on the fight itself. I think Ward is the better boxer and tougher than some people are giving him credit for. Yep, Kessler thinks Froch will win, but far more people think he will lose. Even in the UK he's a 2-1 underdog with the bookies. Which is not to say we might all be wrong...

  • Comment number 9.

    Also Frochs' perfmormance against Abraham was a much more resounding defeat. Ward is a polished, orthodox, world class fighter. But surely as we have just seen in the Khan fight that against someone who is unorthodox, who has a good chin and who will keep coming forward, that you need to do more than box in an orthodox fashion to win.

    It will be hard for Carl but my money is on him because he has a granite chin, unorthodox movmement and style, and Ward will get to round 5/6 having landed some good shots thinking "why is this guy still coming at me with such ferocity" - he will not have been in that situation before in his last 10 fights.

    Carl to get a late KO to win because on points he probably wont get it as his defence will leave him open to many shots - which he will take on the chin and keep coming forward - but wont get him many points with the US judges.

  • Comment number 10.

    Chris - I don't think I'm being that unfair on Froch. I think he's great, I'm just saying there are an awful lot of people in Britain who, for various reasons, don't know who he is. That's not the same as saying he's a poor fighter.

  • Comment number 11.

    It might have been Nigel Benn (dont quote me on it) who said in latest Boxing Weekly that reason Carl is not as well know is because modern fighters only fight 2/3 times a year whereas back a generation they fought every month just about! A reason he said why Carl is not as well know.

    I think the format was a good effort by Matchroom but too many governing bodies - WBC, WBO, WBA, IBF and promoters - K2, Sauerland, Matchroom, Golden Boy plus fighter's own promoters - too many hands want a piece of the pie to get big fights on!!

    I agree about Bute he has fought nobody's in his own Patch and not worthy of being in top 3 of this division IMO

  • Comment number 12.

    The Super-Six concept was a good idea on paper but the length of time it has taken to complete and the withdrawals through injury (predominantly Kessler who last to ward but beat Froch).

    I do think Showtime (for attempting something different) and the boxers (for essentially agreeing to fight only the best fighters in there division for 2 years) should be commended as too often recently boxing has been blighted by the what could have been fights (Klitschko V Haye (which eventually happened) and Pacquiao V Mayweather Jr which probably never will) or some poor match-ups (Haye V Harrison).

    As for this weekends fight Froch is probably slight under-dog (in my opinion), he has been slow to start in some fights and Ward will come out of his corner quickly and Froch could find himself a round or two down quite early. I do think this fight will go the distance and could well be decided on who's able to take the punishment better which would give Froch one hell of a chance!

    As for the winner they should face Bute next year, but in their own back yard as they will have earn't it, lets hope they can make this happen!

  • Comment number 13.

    ( As a side note can I just take my hat off to you Ben for actually taking the time to reply to those who comment on your blog. So many of your colleagues (Iain!!) do not )

  • Comment number 14.

    First post here so everyone please be nice to me. However, how anyone can argue and Bute is the main man at 168 is beyond me.

    Froch's last 6 fights

    Ward's last 6 fights

    Bute's last 6 fights

    Admittedly Froch does have a defeat in his last 6, but that list of opponents is phenomenal. Ward's last 6 fight, whilst probably not as tough as Carl's, still look stronger to me than Bute's. Add into the mix the fact that for the last 4 fights Froch and Ward have had to fight whoever was put in front of them, whilst Bute has been able to pick and chose, and I really find it quite confusing as to why anyone would suggest that Froch and Ward are not the top 2 in the division right now.

    Oh, and before anyone asks, yes, I did use Boxrec to help me there :-)

  • Comment number 15.

    The BBC seem obsessed with Amir Kahn and David Haye.

    It’s thanks to their extensive coverage that they are big names. Why don’t you give Froch as much coverage? No wonder he is unheard of because the BBC fails to give him the coverage they give to other British fighters. Hypothetically speaking If Kahn was in this final it would be all over the BBC. It would be on the BBC Breakfast news in the morning; he’d be sitting down with Chris Hollins before and after the fight. Why do the Beeb have such an agenda towards these boxers who have honestly had most of their fights with bums with exception to klitschko & Peterson.

  • Comment number 16.

    tomtom83 - absolutely agree there

    Bute is sitting on the sidelines staying fresh - the fact it has taken so long for the Super Six to come to a close proves that these fighters have had to take on tough fights against decent opponents. Which is why if Froch wins he won't fight him he will fight kessler again then go batter Hopkins.

    As for BoxRec they have Bute at no.8 in pound-for-pound rankings!! Ridiculous - only because he is unbeaten but he has stayed at home!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    TCUK - again I agree - must be a Friday thing!!

    Khan gets a lot of hype and coverage but where is the backlash after that amateurish, immature and poor performance against a boxer who he should have beaten? Not saying that judge probably ruined the fight, and im not taking credit from Peterson because he was thumping Khan's ribs and chin down, head down march forward - Khan could not deal with it! HE should have boxed in and out using his jab and speed and stayed off the ropes trying to prove he is billy big cahoonas!

    Look at Ricky Burns - best British victory of the year and where was the OTT coverage Haye and Khan get??

  • Comment number 18.

    With six boxers originally involved, it was always going to take the winner of the Super Six five fights to win the prize. In that light, just over two years to decide the consensus head man at 168 lbs doesn't seem that bad to me.

    I think the blog is rather harsh on the wider effects of the Super Six. Froch may not have been one of the chosen ten for SPOTY, but when that award has been won in the past by Princess Anne in preference to Barry John and Ken Buchanan, I think that we can agree that this says more about the ludicrously "democratic" nature of the process than anything else. The Cobra is undoubtedly better known now than he was at the beginning of the process; sadly, boxing has been marginalised by mainstream TV, so it is natural that his name does not command the same attention as the Brunos and Henry Coopers of years gone by. He's still a better fighter than either, of course. Had Froch fought and beaten Ward in November, when the fight was originally scheduled, I doubt that his name would have been omitted from the SPOTY candidates, even by the Manchester Evening News.

    The Super Six has also ensured that the top boxers of a division have all fought each other, for the most part. Despite the injuries, there has been a refreshing absence of tomato can defences in the division in recent years, and the picture is now far clearer. Bute may be the "elephant in the room", but if the elephant is reluctant to leave Canada at any stage and remains content to feast on nonentities, you'll have to forgive the boxing public if they consider him to be rather closer to Dumbo than Jumbo.

    No, the winner of Froch-Ward (I also lean to Ward, but think that it will be substantially closer than Ben appears to) will deserve to be celebrated as the top super-middleweight of the day. Doubtless, Bute will be next on the list to fight, although I'm prepared to bet that the bout won't take place in Montreal. We should celebrate the concept of the Super Six and its outcome, regardless of the inevitable glitches along the way. Other divisions would do well to emulate it.

  • Comment number 19.

    Thanks for the reply Ben, I think I meant in general he has been treated unfair because he should be a superstar - lets hope he proves most people wrong and does the business on Saturday its going to be tough but it would be a much needed boost for British boxing!

  • Comment number 20.

    I think that the Ref will be the most important person in this fight.

    Ward does like to use his head!

  • Comment number 21.

    Chris - I don't think there is much with British Boxing - more as #captaincarrant and #TCUK allude to that the coverage of certain British Boxers and the way they are ommitted from things such as SPOTY means the limelight is elsewhere.

    Again I say Ricky Burns that was a great performance against a true warrior but not even a nomination for SPOTY?

    Boxing as a whole though does need to get its act together. Surely there is a higher power that can make manny v floyd happen - the fans want it and the sport needs it! Ali Foreman and Frazier would have fought each other every month!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Can anyone shed light as to when this shin-dig starts on Saturday? Not the night as a whole but specifically the Froch fight? Am I set for another early to bed, ridiculously early to rise job?

  • Comment number 23.

    I've presumed there's an undercard btw

  • Comment number 24.

    by all accounts an earlier one around 2-2.30am - obviously our own Kell Brook to cheer on as well to put in a good performance to boost his profile. other than that the undercard is a bit of drab one but all boxing is good boxing - you can get some smashing fights on unknown undercards. If you are watching with a few of you just have a couple of quid on each fight to make it more interesting!

  • Comment number 25.

    Ben, I think only Canadian's would argue that Bute is the best in the division. His best win is against Glencoffe Johnson, who Froch had already beaten convincingly.

    Plus his undefeated record should have an asterix next to it, as he was knocked out by Andrade. Plus he had the oppurtunity to enter the super six, but turned it down.

    Fact is the two proven best fighters in the division are fighting this weekend. They have proven this by fighting the best in the division. Bute is just another contender

  • Comment number 26.

    ...all boxing is good boxing
    Couldn't agree more...

  • Comment number 27.

    Thanks Yorkshire. Very nice to get a response to my first post.

    Really enjoy your work Ben - keep it up please!

  • Comment number 28.

    Ben, what a downbeat blog. It's very rare these days where you get the best fighters agreeing to meet each other. I think it's a fitting final with 2 great fighters and Froch should be applauded for taking tough fights in different corners of the world and battling to the final. It's a shame it hasn't captured the public's imagination but I don't think your blog wasn't anything like as balanced as usual or do enough to recognise the considerable achievement of Froch.

  • Comment number 29.

    anyone got predictions for Froch v Ward tonight then?

    Also as it seems we all regard Bute as an absolute time waster does anyone think he deserves the chance to fight the winner? Surely Bute would be the challenger anyway so would have to get a new passport so he can leave Canada!

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree that this is a bit harsh on what Showtime tried to acheive. A knockout tourny has flaws as well. Let's be honest, nothing will be perfect, but Showtime has managed to put the Super Mid division on the map as one of the best out there. Look at Froch before this started and look at him now. I reckon he's grateful.

    This tournament, despite its obvious setbacks has been a great idea. Wouldn't it be amazing to have Khan in a tournament like this with the likes of Bradley, Alexander, Morales, Peterson and Maidana? Speaking of which, I'm surprised there hasn't been more made of the Khan fight, blog wise, both prior to and post fight night. For the Judah fight, there was much more exposure from you Ben, I'm sure of it.
    Nice one

  • Comment number 31.


    you not think it somewhat of a co-incidence that as soon as Khan goes back to Sky that the BBC coverage of him drops.....?

  • Comment number 32.

    yorkshire_blogster - Not sure what you're driving at when you say the coverage of Khan has dropped. He's been all over the site since the fight - features from Mike Costello, news stories, audio, video, not sure what more you want to be honest. Mike also wrote a preview, instead of me, because he was there. So our coverage didn't drop off at all, it was exactly as it has always been.

    Ian Millward - I don't think it's downbeat at all, it's just realistic. Is Froch a household name because of the Super Six? No, he isn't. Did the Super Six achieve it's aims? Again, no. I could say the whole thing has been an uproarious success, but that wouldn't be very balanced of me.

  • Comment number 33.

    I expect a full writted apology from you Ben, when Froch bangs this guy out 10th round KO. I know its a cliche but i have watched Froch from the beginning and he is a class act both in and out of the ring its a true shame that the UK dont take this guy in and give him some credit. True champion Froch!! Dont do it for nobody else but your self mate! Respect lad!!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Froch is not a household name, but very few boxers are at the moment. Mayweather and Pacquiao, possibly, but no-one else. That's just a reflection of the sport's place in the global scheme of things, regrettably.

    I understood that one of the Super Six's principal aims was to remove arguably the greatest bugbear for most would-be fans of the sport, which is to say the reluctance of top fighters to square off against each other. In that regard, it has succeeded handsomely, injuries or not. If all other divisions were to behave likewise, and we ended with a situation where there were 17 universally recognised champions, don't you imagine that the sport's popularity and standing would be enhanced as a result?

    Uproarious success? Perhaps not, but definitely deserving of better than the resounding two cheers that you have seen fit to award it.

  • Comment number 35.

    Gotta say Ben I have not noticed and I am on BBC Sport every single day - he may have been in the boxing bit but not in the headlines like he normally he is! Also how come you can afford such a luxurious list of coverage to Khan but not Froch? One blog from the sports editor about the "concept" of super-six and another to follow about the fight - is that enought for a current world champion who could be about to be crowned the king of his division?????

    Froch is a household name in the boxing fraternity Ben - Number 12 pound-for-pound I think in the world - when Khan and Haye are not even in the top 25....?

    What people are saying is that boxers such as Froch and Burns who have had outstanding performances (albeit Froch has another tonight) do not get their fair share of coverage from the BBC or other sports websites other than boxing ones.

  • Comment number 36.

    and regarding the blog about the super six of course it was downbeat - the tagline for the blog is "not quite super six" - a negative tone before we even get to read the blog!

    They tried and in my eyes they have succeeded in getting the two best fighters in the division to square off - yes there were pull outs on the way but this is a bit of drama -not many watch the 1st three rounds of the FA cup but millions watch the final Ben! And here we have a final with the best 2 boxers in the division - so im not sure what you are driving at or what more you are expecting to be honest!!

  • Comment number 37.

    yorkshire_blogster - Khan was top of the site on Sunday morning and all over the headlines on 5 live, so that's not accurate. Also, you're wrong about our coverage of Froch - I've done a blog, BBC Nottingham's Robin Chipperfield has done a feature from Atlantic City and we're expecting a more fight-focused feature from Mike Costello. So that's three features, more coverage than Khan got. I don't mind criticism of our coverage, but it doesn't hold much water when you don't get your facts right.

  • Comment number 38.


    Carl No. 14 lb for lb

    Khan No. 18


  • Comment number 39.

    yorkshire_blogster - My point was that while everyone should be applauded for trying to make it work, with a few tweaks it could have worked much better. As for your statement that we ended up with the two best fighters in the division in the final, I'm pretty sure Mikkel Kessler might have something to say about that.

  • Comment number 40.

    He's been all over the site since the fight - features from Mike Costello, news stories, audio, video: for Khan

    Friday before Froch fight the only thing on BBC sport main page is a story from Nigel Benn saying Froch is going to lose,

    you have to go to the Boxing page to get "Froch ready to mix it with Ward", an audi and a video - why can't Carl also be "top of the site" ??

    Im not complaining that Khan gets coverage its good because I am interested in all fights - but you cannot seriously put your hand on your heart and say Froch has received the same hype and coverage as Amir .....???

    Nothing on Ricky Burns expected homecoming with a world title

    nice to see there is a little something for Kell Brook

    still doesn't change the fact your original blog was downbeat either

  • Comment number 41.

    Mikel Kessler lost to Ward and won a contentious home victory over Froch

    Froch has fought most of his fights away from home especially the harder ones!

    He battered an unbeaten dirrel after beating an unbeaten Paschal! Look at the quality of his opponents in last 6 fights!!

    granted Kessler has only lost to calzaghe and ward (comprehensively) and Froch has said if he wins he wants to fight Kessler next to avenge the defeat - so Kessler might think he is up there and would love to see kessler v froch again which may happen even if carl loses

  • Comment number 42.

    After reading all of this, again I think writing off Carl is a mistake, what happened to Khan, everyone wrote off Peterson and he powered Khan into a brawl and beat him.

    Like Khan, Ward will not enjoy being thrown across the ropes, even if Carl misses everything in the first round.

    I personally think if you dont know who Froch is and you are someone who enjoys boxing you cant have watched much coverage, or maybe have been sheltered to just watching Haye and Khan... Ridiculous, as Froch has had some great fights and is a great role model for the sport.

    Honestly, I believe Froch will knock Ward out within 5 rounds. Mainly because Carl has a big right hand and is likely to push for a brawl from the off.

    Obviously I have a slight case of patriotism, but deep down I do hope you want Carl to win Ben.

  • Comment number 43.

    "with a few tweaks it could have worked much better"

    you mooted that a knockout tournament would have been better - but as we have seen in all knockout tournaments upsets can happen thus meaning the best team does not always get through - whereas this gave the fighters a chance to prove over a number of fights and through the manner of victories that they deserved to be in the final - and we have a final with the 2 best fighters - Kessler beat Froch but by a contentious decision and then got totally outboxed by Ward - so it will be v interesting to see how Froch does against Ward - but there is probably a good case for Kessler being a close contender with Froch for the final berth against Ward.

    They will have probably tried to get Bute but hes at him hiding underneath a blanket

  • Comment number 44.

    yorkshire_blogster - Amir Khan was never top of the site before he fought. Boxing hardly ever is before a fight, because football usually is! That's not our fault, that's just the way it is - the public dig football, cricket, rugby union, F1 before they dig boxing. Unless you're seriously telling me more people are interested in Froch than the Champions League draw? Also, and I repeat - we had one feature on Khan before he fought, we'll have three on Froch. So, frankly, you're incorrect. As for Burns, first he's not a world champion - he holds the WBO interim belt - second, we'll probably do a story when we know who he's fighting in March. As for my blog being downbeat, that's how I feel about it, that he didn't quite work!

  • Comment number 45.

    # Bennyboi - very well summed up - Froch is very well known just not in the headlines.

    Also to add I hope I was not intimating I thought Ben wanted Ward to win - I do not think that. Just a little more healine coverage for the less brash and arrogant fighters is all im asking

  • Comment number 46.

    You raise some interesting points Ben. I do agree that the nature of the tournament was flawed from the outset and that ShowTime were not aided by withdrawals from fighters. However, in my opinion the reason why Froch hasn't really received the recognition he deserves and not a household name is partly due to the television coverage he has or hasn't received.

    David Haye has fought on terrestrial TV and Amir Khan did fight for a time on Sky Sports and has since returned to them. As far as I'm aware, Froch didn't get to exposure with Sky because the tournament was originally being broadcast on ESPN. I can't help but think if he had stuck to 'mainstream' sports channels then he may be a more well known sports person.

  • Comment number 47.

    it was a nice idea to revive the interest in the division which had some great fighters

    Benn, Eubank, Collins, Calzaghe, Jones, Hopkins etc but because of the politics people like JOnes kept ducking the real opponents until he fell from grace getting knocked by Tarver for taking the easy route

    Calzaghe was the main man before he moved up so it left a void and Froch was always in his shadow somewhat.

    As Ben said a Final 4 would have been better with each one of them fighting against each other and the best two then meet another day
    Super Six probably dragged on a bit

  • Comment number 48.

    Super Six is awesome.
    Bute is overrated right now.
    Froch will give a good account of himself on Saturday.
    I won money on Peterson.

  • Comment number 49.

    Good blog Ben, but in this day and age I guess you can't expect fighters to fight too often when 2 or 3 per year has become the norm.

    Overall, a very good concept and it has thrown up some entertaining fights that we maybe wouldn't have otherwise seen.

    For anyone wishing to discuss all things boxing, there is a cracking boxing forum I use since the closure of BBC606 here

  • Comment number 50.

    # 44 - we will agree to disagree - didn't say you were ultimately to blame for the lack of boxing coverage

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion Ben - even if you don't seem to want to let me have mine without putting a huge wall of defences up, but never mind

    There is nothing wrong with thinking the supersix didn't work as you were not on your own - my gripe was that using Bute's absence as one reason is pish because he has fought nobody's in his home patch and dodged the tournament - compared to Froch who came in as a domestic someone but world nobody and has proved himself - more often than not away from home - and I thought that the tone in your blog was diminshing Carl's efforts

  • Comment number 51.

    secondly the format of the tournament - we have seen prizefighter and the best fighter on the night doesn't always win because it is a KO event - I think you were alluding to the fact that a KO style tournament would have made it more exciting - I would agree with you there - but I don't think it would get the best 2 fighters in the final which I think this tournament has

    *puts hard hat on and goes for to Bute

  • Comment number 52.

    Yorkshire blogster, the reason there is less coverage is cause he is not as popular as Khan or Haye who have managed to capture the headlines with their charisma and flair.

    I dont see the need for loads of articles about Froch either, there are enough on the BBC website, and I'm sure there will be enough if Carl beats Ward

  • Comment number 53.

    also finally ben:

    current boxig home page:

    3 pieces on Khan even still a week later - if you match that or beat it with coverage of Froch ill get you a selection box as an apology ; )

  • Comment number 54.

    I don't think it will be easy for Ward but he will probably win as the fight is being staged in the US. The US referees seem oblivious to Ward's flagrant butting, wrestling and grappling style. The very same referees who wouldn't let Hatton anywhere near the danger zone in his fight with Floyd (not that it would have mattered of course).

    I can't see a fighter who bends the rules as often as Ward does becoming an household name - like Hopkins before the Trinidad fight. Unlike Hopkins however I don't think Ward will come through his true litmus test against Bute. Certainly not if the fight is in Canada and the ref does his job.

    The problem with the Super 6 is simply that all of the fights should have occurred on the same card in the same location. This would have meant some amazing cards and a shorter tournament. Also, Taylor should not have been entered - it was a sad moment seeing him punished again. I'm glad he walked away with his health intact though.

  • Comment number 55.

    # LClaret

    a big worry of mine also - simply hoping that after the worldwide furore of the referee's performance in Khan's fight that the ref behaves himself and lets the two lads get on with it.

    All the fights on the same card on the same night is a great idea - but Ward & Kessler would have argued over where to have it. If Froch loses id love to see Froch v Kessler and Ward v Bute on the same card - now that I would pay $$$ for!

  • Comment number 56.

    Ward will want to put on a good show and market himself as the best and classiest in this division. Froch however will tear into him from the off and won't care if he looks like a brawler.
    Froch needs to end this within 5 or Wards footwork will get the better of Froch. I'm going for a Froch win (stoppage) in 4.

  • Comment number 57.

    If Showtime had simply decided that all of the cards took place in Vegas (which has an air of neutrality due to the fact that it is the spiritual home of boxing) and if you don't like that don't sign up then no arguments...

    Before the tournment all of the fighters needed Showtime more than Showtime needed them. None of them we're worldwide draws (Taylor being on the slide).

  • Comment number 58.

    It’s hard to compare Khan & Hayes profile and resultant coverage to Froch’s.

    Khan has been in the spotlight ever since the Olympics, so every fight of his has been televised and hyped, so it stands to reason why now he is are highest profile active boxer. (assuming Hayes retired)

    Haye is a heavyweight, brash talker and self-publicised and was involved in the biggest fight this year. Also both hold their own on TV and Radio appearances as well as have been involved in tabloid story’s. (cant underestimate what that does for profile)

    Froch is certainly a great boxer, but hasn’t had any fights that transcend the sport, also comes across as a very nice guy but that doesn’t help gain him exposure or coverage, basically the camera doesn’t love him. Unlike his girlfriend who bizarrely seems to get more air time then any boxing WAG and sometimes more than Froch himself. (fight camp 360 is basically just footage of her Virgil Hunter)

  • Comment number 59.

    *her & Virgil Hunter

  • Comment number 60.


    I was thinking Vegas would have been a good shout - and you are right none of them huge household names other than maybe Kessler who had already fought King Joe!

    I still think it would have needed to be a tournament rather than a pure KO thing though. The points system was a good idea to then get a semi final and a final - but there was no control over people pulling out.

    Kessler and Bute will be waiting for the winner and I think Kessler has a better shout. Froch would want to avenge a loss and Ward beat Kessler after Mikel had 10 months off and had been cut by the aforementioned dodgy head bashing of Ward!

    I hope Bute's next fight is against Audley Harrison at a catchweight.....

  • Comment number 61.

    # 58 Dunc

    you think Haye will get a shot at Vitali after he has despatched Chisora ?

  • Comment number 62.

    Relax guys. Opinions are opinions. Let's leave it there.

    Two points really. Firstly, it seems to me it is now more likely you will become a household name as a result of Olympic success then becoming a World Champ professionally. Think Burns is more of case in point for this point than Froch although he is very unfortunate also. Khan and Harrison are probably as well known in the general public as anybody else, altho Khan somewhat justifiably.

    Second point about the tournament and fight. Tournament has been flawed, think most would accept that. However they should be applauded for the efforts made. Damn sight better than some of the media boxing done elsewhere. I think the fight will b v close. I agree with a previous poster that Froch is unlikely to outpoint ward, he needs to drag him into a bit of a war and hopefully KO Ward. Winner would have Bute on toast. Winner should fight Kessler again. Only other top quality operator in division IMO. If Froch loses, wouldn't mind seeing him move up and fight Hopkins or taking the muted Cleverly fight. All in all a cracking fight we should all just look forward to.

  • Comment number 63.

    Good Blog Ben - keep up the good work.

    I agree entirely with your sentiments. I applaud them for trying but, for various reasons, it didn't quite work as a sporting tournament. Having said that, it has given us some really good fights that we may not have got otherwise. I hope they don't give up in the idea - with a little bit of tinkering it could still be great for boxing.

    I'm also with you on your prediction for Saturday - I'm expecting Ward to win on points by 3-4 rounds. Expecially seen as its in the States. Hopefully Froch will prove me wrong - Good luck Carl.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think the problems with boxing can be summed up by the super 6 short films before fights where the promoters meet each other. So much bickering and arguing and one-upmanship.

    Showtime tried to take promoters to the sidelines. They almost succeeded...

  • Comment number 65.

    Froch by KO or Ward on points seems to be the concensus - although I think Froch will KO him later on - he will wear Ward down with his persistence and heavy punching - going to the body early would be a good move and if Ward wants to dance and dodge away from Froch even better cos the US judges dont like that in a fighter - so Froch moving forward may get him some points!

  • Comment number 66.

    Getting sick of the lucian bute hype , he had many options with the various drop outs of the original super 6 fighters but instead decided to fight a lot lower leval of competion in his backyard, for me whoever wins this fight is defo undisputed mw champ and its up to bute to prove hes better than either froch or ward not the other way round

    Admittedly with all the drop outs it has taken a bit out of the tournement as a whole but i think 95% of people believe the best 2fighters are contesting the final. Also i feel abit sorry for carl, the guy has without doubt the best resume in the last 3 years of any fighter on the planet yet still for some reason the british public havent really caught on to him, i mean if it was khan, hatton or haye who had faced the leval of opposition he has in his last 6/7 fights they would already be knighted!


  • Comment number 67.

    Can the BBC please employ a FULL TIME specialist boxing journalist to cover boxing? Someone who actually loves the sport and not someone who decides to do a blog with factual inaccuricies. I mean, how can anyone comment/write a blog about the Super Six thinking Froch v Taylor was part of that tournament.

  • Comment number 68.

    also regards to the main article ben, i dnt know how too much can be blamed on the super 6 concept, the idea was great but who could predict taylor getting pole-axed and retiring, kessler suffering injury etc i tell you something ben i would rather have a super 6 consisting of the best six fighters in a particular division because it throws up more great matchups and fights between terrific fighters than drab mandatory defences between a champ and his number 1 contender who in reality is probably ranked outside the 10ten in his division.

    Tell the truth would you not want to have seen someone like say calzhage in a similar style/tournement instead of fighting average mandatories once every 6/7months like bika,brewer,mcintyre etc

  • Comment number 69.

    @ 61 Yorkshire

    I don’t see why not, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chisora fight is called off again (albeit with a different brother) then Haye steps in to fight him in June / July.

    Haye is clearly missing it and as time goes on he will forget the pounding he got and think he can win, VK wants one big last payday / high profile fight and Haye is still the best option for that.

  • Comment number 70.

    I think they also missed a trick when they did have people pull out. Why at the semi final stage could they have not replaced Dirrell with Bute, instead of Johnson (never a big crowd puller). Or asked Abraham (who looked out of his depth and shot) to step aside for Hopkins. Kessler can't have been injured for that long and surely should have come back into the tournament. If the semi finals had been better then the final would now be much more high profile now. It's like the C-League, the group stages are always a little dull. Sorry Utd and City...

  • Comment number 71.

    Personally i think everyone is getting a little carried away with Ward, mostly because the tournament has been heavily weighted in his favour!

    Most of his fights have been in his hometown, the use of his head in the Kessler fight, the Dirrell fiasco..

    How come when Taylor pulls out he is replaced with Allan Green instead of Bute? How come when Dirrell pulls out Ward is awarded the points!!

    The tournament hasnt worked out as well as it could have but for its American organizers i think its gone pretty much how they have wanted. Ward has started to appear in p4p lists, hes a big favourite going into the final and you bet Showtime will push him heavily if he wins at the weekend.

    I dont think Ward has the heart to deal with what Froch brings to the ring but i will not be suprised when something controversial happens to give Ward an advantage

  • Comment number 72.

    # 69 Dunc

    Agree Haye is still at every fight - with Khan he was in the ring - he will miss the buzz and your point about the longer time goes by the more he will forget the WK fight is a very good one

    And I fancy Haye's tactics of mouthing off to get VK to come in scrapping will work because he is more of a fighter and a brawler than his brother - and he will then be prone to the big right hand DH can throw!

    Heavy Badger....LOL

    Agree Ward is over-rated and just because our bookies have him a 2/1 favourite means absolutely nothing. Some of us made a decent chunk of money backing Burns to beat katsidis on points against the odds!

    Close fights are hard to call but I think Froch at 34 has more to prove than Ward at 27 who can lose, go beat Bute and beat Kessler again and clean up the division once Froch has long gone to a fight with B-Hop and retirement with his lovely mrs!

  • Comment number 73.

    question for people on here, if froch beats ward and avenges his loss against kessler does he have a claim at being one of the best 3or4 fighters this country has ever produced?

  • Comment number 74.

    # united_kaz

    If he beats Ward and Kessler - and thats a big if - he will have proven he can beat the best in his weight at their supposed peak and has dodged nobody! I think he would need to beat a big name bum or two like Calzaghe did to get the US recognition as well - but to answer your question YES

    I would go as far as saying that he would be up alongside Lennox and perhaps even more so because Lennox fought an old and tiring Tyson who was bankrupt and who knows what would have happened against Klitchsko if it had not have been stopped!

  • Comment number 75.

    LOL at Boils No. 48 very amusing.

    If they did the Super Six again not much doubt they'd change a few things around in which case that line of thinking in the blog makes sense to me. So maybe it's more by luck than judgment it has thrown up the best final, which for my money is defo between the 2 best super-middles on the planet (Tomtom83 at no.14 you put that case very convincingly for a first dibs!).

    I haven't looked forward to a fight so much for ages, a shame it hasn't captured more of the public imagination, you can see it passing casual fans by a bit which is a great shame.

    Back to the Super Six I think it has delivered some excellent fights that would otherwise not have happened, so on that score it gets another thumbs up from me. Kessler v Froch was surreal with 12,000 Danes stamping their feet and going crazy for their man throughout what was a complete slugfest. Abraham v Froch was a privilege to witness a boxing masterclass at such close quarters, and if that version of Carl steps into the ring I reckon he will have enough to beat Ward.

    Last but not least, interesting side debate about boxing coverage by the Beeb. I have no issue with the radio and online coverage (excellent), but a major beef with BBC Tv. To the best of my records they have not shown any professional boxing (bar news clips) since November 2008 and Calzaghe v Jones Jr. Yes ok there is the issue of budgets and financially to compete against PPV for live fights can be difficult, but ....nothing? No fights on delay, not even highlights. What's all that about then?!

  • Comment number 76.

    Well #Timthejab if that is true then Mr Dirs does not really have a leg to stand on. I don't buy that the public don't want to see these fights you just have to look at the numbers!! I know the Froch fight and Khan fight are early hours so maybe less of an attraction but why they cannot promote more British and Commonwealth fights is beyond me. Kell Brook is probably an absolute unknown to casual fans - yet in 2/3 years time he is probably going to be the biggest british boxing star on the planet!

    Sky do not have PPV anymore so surely the competition is reduced from that aspect? People are going to pay £10/month for a boxing channel which is an absolute steal for the quality of fights which are going to be on it - but the BBC cant show any....?

  • Comment number 77.

    The fact that someone felt a need to create this tournament in the first place. indicates that boxing is in serious trouble.

  • Comment number 78.

    yorkshire_blogster - Yeh, but now you're changing the goalposts. Your first gripes weren't about TV coverage, you were claiming Khan got more coverage than Froch on the website, which I have proved to be incorrect. As for TV, of course I would like to see more on the BBC, but that's not my area! I am just a humble journalist (was it you who suggested I was the editor earlier on?! I wish...)

  • Comment number 79.

    @ 75 Timthejab

    With regard your last point about the BBC’s TV coverage, I don’t expect them to have big live fights (Audley put pay to that) & I appreciate it financially it doesn’t add up for the amount of people that are interested.

    Although I have been amazed at the amount of casual boxing fans who are now interested in Tyson Fury because of his couple of fights (I guess we can almost call them boxing on channel 5 recently) I think people are interest in boxing just not enough to look around / pay for it.

    But my point was before I rambled about Fury. I think it should be possible for the BBC to put on a Ringside type show, with some highlights comment and coverage of the amateur’s leading up to the Olympics. Once every 2 weeks or something like that.

  • Comment number 80.

    I don't see how you can make that argument #RubberNutz - it would depend how you define "serious trouble"...

    - is boxing in britain still producing young up and coming potential world class boxers - yes

    - is boxing suffering from the global economic downturn meaning there is no money in the

    - is there a core of boxing fans who are hugely interested in all fights from the main event to the undercard...yes

    the only thing that is in serious trouble is the ability to see such a wide variety of boxing without forking out for SKY tv or other channels because our own national networks don't show enough

    the reason this series was put on is because there is a worrying trend in boxing that the sport cannot get the biggest names together - but as we have alluded to earlier the fighters in this tournament (barring Talyor and maybe kessler) were not big names before but are big-ish now!

  • Comment number 81.

    To #Yorkshire_blogster i'm 99% sure i've got my ducks in a line on that one, but if anyone on the forum has better information on that i'd be very interested to hear it.

    There has been some amateur boxing in between times (although not alot and most likely linked to fact Beeb will be showing boxing as part of their Olympics coverage next year) but it gets my goat when for example the Beeb lob out millions for F1, which to best of my knowledge is definitely not a more popular sport than boxing, and pro boxing gets completely ignored.

    Then you have, for example, the BBC tennis, snooker and golf coverage; once again there is an argument to say boxing is more popular than those.

    I could go on but I'm hitting the keys a bit hard.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 75 Yorkshire

    We all like Kell Brook, but he won’t be the biggest boxer on the planet.

  • Comment number 83.

    @ timthejab

    Sadly I don’t think F1, Golf, Tennis etc are less popular then boxing at the moment.

    Boxing fans tend to be very loyal and fairly fanatical but the above sports in different ways pull in casual fans more often and in better numbers. I’m not basing this on any hard evidence other than my observations.

    I think the fact top boxers only fight about twice a year don’t help, as well as the fact there is now free to air coverage unlike all of the other above sports.

  • Comment number 84.

    Hey Ben who's area is it then and can you let me have their contact details as on behalf of all frustrated TV licence paying boxing fans (especially those who don't have access to Sky/Box Nation/Primtime etc etc) I would very much like to pose the question directly!

  • Comment number 85.

    # 78

    Ben, it was not purely coverage but the type and amount - the BBC sport website has not covered the supersix tournament in detail at all in my humble opinion, and this grip was part of a wider one that the BBC is poor with its coverage of boxing.

    I tried to compare the latest 2 fights between khan and peterson and you have rightly proven that they have had similar coverage and I humbly concede that particular point, but in the past and in general khan has had huge coverage whereas a lot of casual observers know little about Froch because your coverage in general, and I include the website in this - is very pooralso I think it has been proven by the majority of posts on here Ben that a lot of people thought the super six was a success, even though there could have been some improvements, and that the 2 best fighters are in the final...!

    ***passes the humble concession stick to Ben.....

  • Comment number 86.


    Biggest BRITISH boxer on the planet

    with khan over the hill, froch in glorious retirement....not saying its a little exciteable but you not think its at all possible?

    I was not talking lb for lb king!

  • Comment number 87.

    Don't know why but can see Froch pulling something off here.

    The bookies aren't best barometer. Admittedly not often wrong but was seeing odds of 1/8 for a Khan win last weekend.

  • Comment number 88.

    # Dunc you can be forgiven for thinking F1, Golf, Tennis are more popular on the basis that, relatively, the BBC shoves those 3 sports down our throats. As it does with snooker. But my hunch is the stats would not back it up.

    And when I saw the BBC shamelessly using Audley, after Joe, to promote their flagship entertainment programme #SCD (talk about having it both ways) it made me go a little bit madder : }

    Anyhow back to the Super Six, I don't think that in itself shows the sport of boxing is in decline. It's called innovation. In the same way cricket and 20/20 was.

  • Comment number 89.

    if you scroll up and read #heavy badger's post you will see why Froch has an extremely good chance of winning tonight

    The only doubt factor is the fact that its in america.

    Froch may need to KO Ward to get the win.

  • Comment number 90.

    # yorkshire

  • Comment number 91.

    # yorkshire If he keeps winning seems highly likely he will be Britain’s best boxer. I agree.

    Sorry, ignore above, its xmas party in 1 hour I give up!

  • Comment number 92.


    Your right about the bookies, especially when it comes to Froch. Back when he fought Abraham, most of them had Arthur as favourite!

  • Comment number 93.

    # Timthejab I think as result of the BBC’s coverage those sports are more popular, I have no doubt if the BBC was showing fights like Goves v DeGale & Khan v Peterson etc. Then boxing would pick up so many casual fans and easily surpass F1, Golf etc in terms of TV audiences.

  • Comment number 94.

    So, lets be hypothetical here

    2012 - one fight card - which 3 fights would you want to see on the same night..?

    cleverley v froch - Starter

    Pacman v Floyd - Main Course

    Heavyweight Prizefighter to include: Chisora, Helenius, Povetkin, Fury, Price, Haye, WK, VK, - dessert

  • Comment number 95.

    "Yep, Kessler thinks Froch will win, but far more people think he will lose."

    Yes, well far more people havent actually been in the ring with Froch, and I'm inclined to listen to a man who has.

    Nobody has talked about Ward as being anything special in the last couple of years. Got a few mentions here and there, but the hype he's getting at the moment is well over the top. Froch will make mincemeat of him.

  • Comment number 96.


    Froch has a great chance.

    Ward is a good fighter but has yet to show he is as good as everybody seems to be pointing out.

    He has a gold medal but Audley has shown how little that means.
    He was dropped and holding on against Darnell Boone.

    The Kessler fight is his best win but that was stopped because of cuts caused by the use of his head and Kessler had been out for nearly a year. And his refusal to fight away from home?

    It also looks like Carl seems to be getting to him a little in the build up.

  • Comment number 97.

    yorkshire_blogster - Haha. Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not about to get humble on this. Type in 'Froch super six' into out search engine and pages and pages of stories will come up. That doesn't include the seven or eight blogs I've written on Froch (which don't show up on our search). If this still isn't enough for you, what you've got to remember is we're not a specialist boxing site - any fanatical follower of just about any sport will no doubt claim we don't cover their sport extensively enough. It's just a numbers game, we have to decide what we do and don't cover with the resources we have at our disposal, which aren't as huge as you seem to imagine they are. When it's a big fight, we'll cover it as best we can. Next year we'll crank up our coverage of amateur boxing in the lead-up to the Olympics, and we try to do reports on every British, European and Commonwealth title fight involving a Brit, as well as the really big world fights. But we have to draw a line, just as we have to draw a line nuder our coverage of all sports. For example, we wouldn't normally be doing day by day reports of golf's Thailand Open, we're only doing so because Lee Westwood has gone berserk, scoring-wise.

  • Comment number 98.

    Well Ben it seems you are happy enough with the coverage you give Froch so I will withdraw the stick to offer to a more conciliatory person. Im not mad Ben, just disappointed. Though I appreciate your replies and I will give you the credit baton for that.

  • Comment number 99.

    #Dunc you still here i thought you had a party to go to?! In true Brian Clough style it seems we had a long debate about it and come to the conclusion i was right in the first place :-]

    Getting seriously up for this fight now. Can't wait for the nasal tones of Jimmy Lennon Jr "Fight fans heeere we go with the main event of the eveeening...."

    Agree with Heavy_Badger that Froch seems to be winding up Ward which may or may not effect him come fight time, but in any event have been impressed by the sheer purpose and calm of The Cobra in the build up. He looks like a man with a plan who is convinced he is going to win.

    I've put money on Froch to win on points but now wishing i'd stuck it on a stoppage.

    Scores on the doors:
    To win, Ward currently best price 4/11, Froch 11/4.
    Froch to win by KO or TKO = 8/1.
    Courtesy of Oddschecker.

  • Comment number 100.

    well out of 75 results some of them are not even about Carl Froch!!!!

    and most were on the boxing page not the healines.

    tut tut Ben


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