When SHOWTIME first announced its intention to put on the Super Six World Boxing Classic many boxing writers and observers applauded the move.
A tournament featuring six of the worlds top 168-pound fighters was an intriguing idea. The only hiccup would be the injury bug. The injury bug has entrenched itself as Mikkel Kessler and Andre Dirrell both pulled out because of injuries. Jermain Taylor was the first to drop out.
But the Super Six, undaunted, continued. And the semifinal should be an interesting watch. Arthur Abraham will square off against Andre Ward, while Carl Froch will battle Glen Johnson. It's not exactly the matchups people hoped for, but you can't be too dissatisfied.
Fast forward to 2010 and SHOWTIME's Bantamweight Tournament. Is it too bold a move for SHOWTIME? Of course not. Anytime you get four of the top fighters in any division together, it can't be a bad thing.
IBF Bantamweight champion Yonnhy Perez (20-0-1, 14 KOs) will take on former IBF champ Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko (27-2, 22 KOs) and Vic Darchinyan (35-2-1, 27 KOs) will face Abner Mares (20-0-1, 13 KOs) in the other semifinal from Tacoma, Washington this Saturday.
The mix of youth and experience is what makes this tournament so enticing.
Naturally each fighter was brewing with confidence during a recent conference call. Agbeko, who lost his title to Perez, is especially eager to get in the ring.
“I am in a competition with myself, I was the champion and I lost it to Yonnhy Perez and I have really been working hard for this fight," Agbeko said. It is the fight of my life, the fight of my career. I have to win this fight to become a champion again."
Perez is expecting nothing but the best from Agbeko.
“I know this is going to be a great war just like the first one was. I know how good of a fighter Agbeko is, I saw and felt him in the ring," Perez countered. "I know he is prepared technically and he will try to take the belt, but I have prepared myself to keep the belt - no one will take it away from me."
Reducing the tourney number from six fighters to four certainly shows that SHOWTIME understands how the injury bug can pop at any time. Losing half the field to injury or retirement nearly ruined the Super Six. Fortunately, Ward, Froch and Abraham endured. Finding Allan Green and Glen Johnson helped keep things afloat. Green and Johnson don't have the star power Kessler or Taylor had, but both fighters have enough of a name to keep viewers interested.
Kudos to SHOWTIME.