Carl Froch is looking for a new opponent now that Andre Ward has backed out. (Tom Mihalek/AP)
So, now what?
That’s the question super middleweight titlist Carl Froch and Showtime executive Ken Hershman are asking themselves after Andre Ward announced Friday that he has to postpone his Oct. 29 Super Six fight due to a cut over his right eye, the latest hiccup in the network’s 168-pound tournament.
While Froch is obviously frustrated, he has to move on. It’s uncertain the fight with Ward will be rescheduled before the end of the year -- the combination of the cut, which required seven stitches to close, and the slim number of available dates make it questionable -- and Froch’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, wants to keep his 34-year old fighter busy.
The options, however, are limited. Froch is not going to seek out a top opponent, as a loss would claim his alphabet title along with much of the buzz of the tournament final. Besides, most of the name opponents in the division (Lucian Bute, Mikkel Kessler and Robert Stieglitz) are locked into fights anyway.
More likely, Froch will look for a manageable opponent to bring to the U.K., where he has not fought since outpointing Andre Dirrell in 2009. Sakio Bika, Librado Andrade or Noe Gonzalez come to mind. Rising middleweight prospect George Groves -- who has a December date with Paul Smith -- would do big business in England, though it's unlikely Groves's promoter would put Groves, 23, in with Froch this early in his career.
There is someone else out there, though it’s probably a pipe dream: Kelly Pavlik. Pavlik, of course, has been a magnet for controversy since he withdrew from a fight with Darryl Cunningham last month. That decision cost Pavlik a lucrative shot at Buteand put his future in doubt. Pavlik has been laying low of late and his stock with the major networks is at an all-time low. But if he were in a position to work himself into shape for a late November, early December fight, it could be a heck of a matchup, one with benefits for both fighters.
-- Chris Mannix