SUPER SIX WORLD BOXING CLASSIC
– The Super Middleweights –
NEW YORK CITY PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
What the executives, fighters and promoters had to say on Monday in New York City:
“Throughout my career, I have been involved with some of the most major and historic events in the sport, including the legendary Corrales vs. Castillo fight which in my opinion is the best fight in history, the Tyson/Holyfield ear biting incident, and the Tyson-Lewis fight. But never have I been more proud then I am of this tournament or prouder of the work we have done. Getting five promoters together is a herculean task in itself — plus six of the best fighters in the division. That is a staggering accomplishment.
“(IBF champion) Lucien Bute was not invited (to participate). He's a great champion but this tournament works. Not one promoter or fighter objected to the first-round draw. They all said ‘put me in front of anyone.’ Each promoter feels their guy is ready to take this tournament.’’
“I'm very happy to be in New York for the tournament. I want to win. I came here to participate and win. Each fighter, they are all exceptionally good, one better then the next. But I am here to win.’’
“Thank God and my Savior Jesus Christ. My heart is going 100 miles per hour. It is beating like hell. This is the biggest stage of my career. It is not because it is the hardest. I know I am in a blessed position and the position to be the best of all-time.
“I thank SHOWTIME, Al Haymon, the three Europeans and my grandfather. I am ecstatic. I have this tingling feeling. I had that feeling when I came through the curtains today. I had that same feeling at the Olympic Games each time I entered the ring. I know it is my time. It is my time to shine.
“I love being the underdog. I am going to be in the finals. Whoever is there, that is who it will be (on predicting who he will meet in finals). I guarantee you I'll be there. I have been hungry for a long time. I just want to get it on. I am the only one here not wearing a suit. I want to wear a suit.
(On Froch) “I begged for that fight. Froch is tailor-made for me. He hasn't showed me anything. I think this will be my easiest fight. If he can beat me, then he's a true champion. (But) I will be victorious.
“I’m focused on getting the WBC title. Then, I'll get the WBA and leave the tournament with both belts. Kessler stands out the most. He has only one defeat and has the most experience. My concern is not getting cut. I am naturally gifted and I will let the world know who I am. It’s a big plus that everyone knows they have three fights. I’m super hungry. All these are top guys and it’s going to take the best to beat the best. But I’m in a beautiful position. I’ve had only 18 fights. I’ll be unbearable. Everyone’s a world champ. It's a one-man game, every man for himself. I don't care about the USA vs. Europe. Ward has the most prestigious position having won the gold.’’
“Thanks to all the promoters, and especially Ken Hershman for having the vision to put this together. I will remain the WBC champion throughout this tournament. All the fighters deserve to be here. We mean business and we are taking this seriously.
“I'm going to be the last man standing. I'm a world champion and I've worked so hard to get here that I'm not giving my belt up for anyone.
“This is what boxing is supposed to be about with the best fighting the best. These are the kind of challenges I've always wanted and I'm really fired up for this tournament.
“It forces the best fighters in the division to all face each other and that's something that has been missing from boxing in recent years. You've got established champions like Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham, a former undisputed world champion like Jermain Taylor, who I already know all about, and then you have the two rising stars from the U.S., Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell.
“Right now Andre Dirrell is something of an unknown quantity for me because I haven't seen very much of him. He's coming into this tournament on the back of a lot of hype and he certainly talks a good fight. It's in the ring that it will count though, that's where he will have to back it up. But he's big at the weight, he's got that great amateur pedigree, he's unbeaten and he's some good scalps on his record.
“So he's definitely a dangerous opponent for my first fight.
“Ultimately I believe the series will come down to myself and Mikkel Kessler in the final. He's a reigning world champion just like me and I believe the experience of being world champ gives you that extra edge.
“He's an excellent fighter but I believe I'm the best of the bunch and it's just about going out now and proving that.’’
“Thank you to all the promoters and to SHOWTIME. This is a big opportunity for me to test myself. I never thought this would happen but when I got the call I said, ‘of course, I want to be a part of it.’ This is a big opportunity for me and all the fighters. A big thank you to all, and may the best fighter win.’’
“I don't really care who I fight, with me there’s always plenty of action in the ring.
“Arthur Abraham is a brawler. I'm going to box him. That’s the key to winning the fight and beating a brawler. Who wants it more……..we will find out soon.”
“A fighter’s power will be key in this tournament; everyone has power. There will be KOs in most of the matches, but I will outbox Abraham.
“I'm glad to be a participant in this tournament SHOWTIME has put together. It’s good for boxing and the fans.”
““DiBella Entertainment and Jermain are thrilled to be a part of this historic and creative tournament. It’s a clean slate for Jermain and every one of these great athletes begins this tournament 0-0.
“The round robin nature makes this an unprecedented contest. We look forward to competing with the best in the world.”
“I apologize for Andre Ward not being here, but he is in Mexico and he has a case of the flu and is on antibiotics.
“I think this tournament will deliver great ratings and media support, but it will really be great for the boxing fans.
“When this concept was brought to our attention, I saw the greatness in it for the fighters. I believe the fans have always insisted on something like this. No gimmicks. No give and take on the weight. Everything is there before you. The best are fighting the best. Real champions. Real Olympians.
“I believe the winners will become stars. Not one star, but I think this tournament will create two or three stars. I think it will take these fighters to a whole different level.
“When Ken Hershman met with me — instead of Ken giving me the contract, I gave Ken the contract to get this started. There are great champions among the Europeans. Ward is the last gold medalist. You are going to see his great talent as he challenges these fighters.
“I think he will be achieving his greatness in the tournament and he will be the winner of this tournament.
“This brings boxing to the levels of the other major sports. With the tournament format the fighters now have the chance to not only win the division championship and their conference championship but to take it to the Super Bowl. That I believe is what has driven these fighters to put it all on the line for supremacy.
“Andre has been on the biggest world stage as any of these athletes. It doesn't get any bigger than the Olympics and he overcame all of the odds on becoming the only Gold medalist for the U.S.
“And we believe that he is ready to go front and center on the professional world stage and be able to do what Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya did after winning gold.”
“I'd really like to thank Ken Hershman and everyone with SHOWTIME. Sometimes it’s hard to get excited when you are promoting event after event, but I am excited for what’s coming up.
“This has got me very excited. Six incredible athletes, six warriors, will put everything on the line and agree to fight each other. This is something to congratulate them all for.
“I believe Carl Froch is the best pound-for-pound fighter coming out of the UK and by entering this tournament he'll be able to prove that.
“I'm very proud of him, he's up against the best of the best, but I believe he'll come out on top.’’
“This is a great turning point for the sport, especially in Europe. There are many questions right now in boxing, where the sport is going, who are the champions and others.
“But this tournament aims to clear it up.’’
“When we first thought about this, we weren’t sure it would happen, but they worked very hard and we owe it to all the other boxers and promoters and Ken Hershman.
“From what I've seen here and what I've heard from Europe, this will be great.’’
“I just received some ground breaking news. (Shaw reads a telegram from WBC President Jose Sulaiman). Sulaiman offered his deepest congratulations to the six great fighters and SHOWTIME while giving them the WBC official authorization and support of this great tournament. There will be no mandatories. The WBC will give its full support. This is most important to this tournament.
“Dirrell is one of the youngest in the tournament. He isn't a world champion, but he will be. I think he is the most athletic in this tournament. He can fight southpaw or orthodox. He's always switching during a fight.
“Andre has fought the toughest fighters in Anthony Hanshaw and Victor Oganov, who was 26-1 with 25 KOs. Oganov can really punch. I believe Andre is going to win the tournament with his lighting speed. That will take him a long way in the tournament. I think the experience that Andre, Jermain Taylor and Ward had in the Olympics will certainly help them in this format.
“It's America vs. Europe.’’
The tournament begins in October 2009 and runs through spring 2011.
The six fighters have signed on to fight any, and potentially all, of the five other contestants in the tournament. All bouts will be scheduled for 12 rounds. Froch’s WBC title and Kessler’s WBA championship will be on the line at the start of tournament competition.
In the first three Group Stages of the tournament, each fighter faces three different opponents over the next 12 months in a points-based competition.
Scoring will be as follows:
Win – 2 points (with a 1-point KO/TKO bonus)
Draw – 1 point
Loss – 0 points
Based on the point standings after the third Group Stage, the top four point scorers will advance to the Semi-Finals with the lowest two being eliminated. (In the event of a tie on points, a tie-break mechanism is in place)
The Semi-Finals will match the point leader against the fourth place fighter and the second versus the third. (In the event of a draw in the Semi-Final bouts, a tie-break mechanism is in place).
The winners of the respective Semi-Final bouts will advance to the Final, which will be contested in early 2011 for the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic trophy.
Fights will be contested on both American and European continents. Dates and venues will be announced in the coming weeks. Group Stage 1 matchups are as follows:
GROUP STAGE 1
CARL FROCH vs. ANDRE DIRRELL (for WBC World Championship)
JERMAIN TAYLOR vs. ARTHUR ABRAHAM
MIKKEL KESSLER vs. ANDRE WARD (for WBA World Championship)
Group Stage 2 and 3 matchups will be announced shortly.