On April 30th, Showtime boxing will host a pair of Super Middleweight title bouts that are perhaps a prelude to a showdown between the two winners. The site for the event looks like it will be the DC Armory in Washington, though that is yet to be confirmed.
WBC World Champion Badou Jack (20-1-1) is set to make the second defense of his title as he takes on Canada’s rugged Lucien Bute (32-3) and IBF titleholder James DeGale (22-1) puts his belt on the line against Rogelio Medina (36-6).
With Andre Ward moving up to 175 lbs, the situation is that all the so called “major” belts are all over the place. The fact that Gennady Golovkin stayed at 160 lbs means there is room for one of the current champions to step up and dominate the division.
Badou Jack deserves credit. There was talk about him being matched up with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr for his next outing in what would have been a big money fight, but instead he gets Bute, the rugged Canadian who is coming off a strong performance against James DeGale in his last outing. Bute was the IBF’s World Titleholder from October of 2007 until May of 2012, and he has 25 KO wins in his 32-3 overall record, so he is arguably a much tougher fight for Jack than the mercurial Chavez.
Jack won his belt last April with a majority decision win over Anthony Dirrell, and he successfully defended the title against England’s George Groves is September.
The second bout can be labelled “Chunky vs Porky” as the two men share similar nicknames. DeGale, known as “Chunky” deserves credit for fighting on the road and not staying strictly in the United Kingdom. DeGale is 22-1 and he owns an Olympic Gold Medal as a Middleweight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so it is hard to understand why he doesn’t get the recognition of Amir Khan, Anthony Joshua or even Billy Joe Saunders. He fought Dirrell in Massachusetts and the Bute defense was in Canada, so DeGale is starting to assume a “road warrior” persona.
“Porky” Medina is out of Mexico, and one of his losses came at the hands of Badou Jack in December of 2013. He has won five out of six fights since then with all of the wins coming via KO and he owns 30 stoppages in his career.
The WBA belt is in the hands of Germany’s Felix Sturm (40-5-3) after he took it off of Fedor Chudinov (14-1) this past February. The WBA’s “Super World” titleholder is Giovanni De Carolis of Italy, as he defeated Vincent Feigenbutz for the belt earlier this year. Those two are likely to meet for a third time, keeping away from truly international competition.
The WBO Titleholder Arthur Abraham (44-4) is the champion with the most pedigree of the group, and he is defending his title as an underdog against 33-0 Gilberto Martinez on the undercard of Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao this coming April 9th.
The Super Middleweight division saw Showtime host a tournament they called the “Super 6” a few years back that was won by Andre Ward. Combining the tournament format with Showtime’s schedule proved to be clumsy and the tournament extended itself needlessly, but Ward emerged as the kingpin in the weight class. With Ward gone from the weight class, that crown lays wide open.