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The Shadow of Joe Calzaghe: Who will Rule the Super Middleweight Division?

By Donald Stewart

Joe Calzaghe, 46-0, 32 KO’s.

Now there’s a name with which we can conjure. To a man in the UK we can grasp the Welsh Dragon and claim him to be the best – by some distance – in the 168 pound division. Eight years as a world champion, 18 defenses of his title and an unbeaten record to boot.

Retired now for just over two years he can still be compared against some still active because he beat Mikkel Kessler, Roy Jones, JR., and Bernard Hopkins – all in his last three fights!

Currently, the Super Six Series will sort out the WBA/WBC titles but who shall walk away from the series to gain a legacy that makes it worthy of a Champions’ title and the shock and awe of the fans?

There are four left standing and more standing who weren’t left in the competition! There are even some who never entered but who could lay claim to the unified prize if the winner needs more belts for that fat legacy!

Who are the contenders?

Currently number one in the world, Romanian Lucian Bute, 27-0, 22 KO’s, is due to fight for the IBF version of the title on the March 19th against unfancied Brian Magee 34-3-1, 27 KO’s.

It is almost a foregone conclusion that Irishman Magee, even though he is the European Champion will not prove too much of a stumbling block to Bute. Should Bute win, as the number one in the world who shall he be likely to face? Thing is that Bute is hardly a household name – at least not outside his mother’s house so there needs to be a big pay day after the best of the rest settle the Super Six!

Next comes Andre Dirrell who has only one loss – to Carl Froch – and this is a man never far away from controversy. And without controversy what would we talk about?

In the fight against Froch, it as awarded to him in Froch’s home town in England and many thought Dirrell was robbed. His next fight against Arthur Abraham was mired in even more controversy. Dirrell had Abraham down for the first time in his career, was well ahead on points and then, when Dirrell was down on one knee, he got hit by Abraham.

Taking more time than an Obama Health Bill passing the Senate, Dirrell eventually hit the deck unconscious. Abraham was disqualified and Dirrell awarded the bout. It was a low blow for many. Dirrell himself withdrew from the super six citing neurological issues.

Next up we have the UK’s Carl Froch, 27-1 20 KO’s. Having beaten Dirrell, albeit controversially, he went in against Mikkel Kessler and lost. The nature of the loss was hard on Froch and he needed redemption.

He got Abraham in Finland.

What followed was one of the most comprehensive victories for boxing ever seen. Froch was simply a master of the ring. If he is after the Calzaghe crown … he needs to win the super six at least. Next up for Froch is the semi final on 21st May against Glen Johnson and the current WBC Super Middleweight Champion is tipped to get through that. It would set up a unification bout after Andre Ward has defended his WBA crown against Arthur Abraham.

If it is believed that Carl Froch has an easier passage to the final of the super six, either Andre Ward or Arthur Abraham will have made it the hard way. For Abraham, Super Six has not been the huge success he may have hoped, however, as is the nature of these types of events there is a possibility that the outside, the guy who we all root for – the outsider – may just have his day in the final!

Abraham has a warm up against Stjepan Bozic in February followed by the WBA Super Middleweight fight against Ward. Abraham had an unbeaten record until that defeat to Dirrell. Andre Ward 23-0 13 KO’s, on the other hand remains unbeaten and of the two semi finals this is by far the hardest to call.

Abraham may have suffered two losses in his last two fights but underestimate him at your peril. The defeat against Dirrell was dubious – the defeat to Froch less so. Having a warm up bout may be very wise or fairly foolish! Time will tell.

Right now the Super Six has certainly captured something – it may be people’s imagination. Once it has been dispensed with we will have one WBA/WBC Champion and the winner of the IBF title fight can hopefully be persuaded to make the Super Middleweight alphabet more meaningful. What it has done is to reinvigorate the division and will leave some clarity behind.

The future has still got Mikkel Kessler, Kelly Pavlik, Dimitri Sartison and the up and coming James De Gale to throw into various rings. De Gale is a special fighter and many are tipping him to make it to the top and have a world title fight this year.

You know what you have to do… watch this space and find out!

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