Showtime not interested in Froch-Bute fight; prefer Bute vs. Ward or Hopkins
By Scott Gilfoid: According to TVA Sports, Showtime has little interest in televising an April 14th fight between IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 KO’s) and former WBC super middleweight belt holder Carl Froch (28-2, 20 KO’s).
Showtime prefers to put on a fight between Bute and 47-year-old WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KO’s) and/or Bute vs. WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KO’s) instead.
Showtime is where a lot of the money is coming from for a Bute-Froch fight and if that cash isn’t there, it might not be feasible for the two fighters to go ahead with their planned two-fight deal, which has Froch fighting in Montreal, Canada in April and then depending on whether that fight is competitive or not, a rematch that would occur in August in Nottingham, England.
Ward has already said that he has no interested in fighting Bute next and wants to see the Canadian based fighter prove himself first by beating one or two ‘A’ level fighters before he’ll fight him. Ward has already mentioned Froch and Andre Dirrell as two fighters that Bute should face and beat before he’ll fight him.
However, in order to get the fight that they want to air for U.S audiences, may attempt to persuade Ward to fight Bute next anyway without him having to beat Froch and/or Dirrell first. Showtime could get what they want if they wave a significant amount of money under Ward’s nose to make it worthwhile for him to face the untested Bute.
As for Hopkins, he already wants the Bute fight next and will likely eagerly accept the fight if it’s offered to him.
The only problem that Hopkins has that could get in the way of the fight is that the World Boxing Council has ordered him to give Chad Dawson an immediate rematch. Hopkins could possibly get of that fight by going to the WBC to request a temporary bypass of that fight; or Hopkins could give Dawson some step aside money; or Hopkins could simply vacate his WBC title and fight without the belt. I doubt that Showtime would be pleased about that. They probably want Hopkins to have the WBC title in his possession because it gives the fight more credibility among the boxing public. Without a title, Hopkins could be seen as just another old guy who happened to get injured in his last fight against Dawson.
Why would boxing fans want to see Bute vs. Hopkins in the U.S? I think a certain percentage of fans like Hopkins a lot and want to see how he’ll do against Bute, who is considered by some to be the best fighter in the super middleweight division. However, I think a lot of fans also want to see Hopkins lose and they see Bute as the guy that can beat him.
Although there’s no official explanation as to why Showtime is cool on the Bute vs. Froch fight, but it might have a lot to do with how easily Froch was beaten in his last fight against Ward in December. Having Bute fight a guy that was so badly beaten like Froch is probably bad television in the United States. It might do well in Canada, Romania and the UK, but in the U.S, a Froch-Bute fight isn’t nearly as interesting as a Bute-Hopkins or Bute-Ward fight.