The anticipated super middleweight showdown between IBF titleholder Lucian Bute and former two-time WBC beltholder Carl Froch on May 26 in Froch’s native Nottingham, England, will air exclusively on EPIX in the U.S., the network and the fighters’ promoters announced on Tuesday.
The multiplatform premium entertainment service will also stream the fight live on EpixHD.com as part of a special free trial offer for boxing fans, and also present the closed-captioned simulcast of Bute-Froch on the jumbotron in Times Square in New York City between 44th and 45th streets.
“EPIX is very pleased with the fan reaction and audience growth of its series of exclusive live U.S. telecasts of world championship fights,” said EPIX executive producer of Sports, Travis Pomposello.
“The fireworks Bute vs. Froch will produce is the perfect follow up to our unprecedented heavyweight championship trilogy which featured Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin defending their world titles over three consecutive weeks.”
Bute, a Canada-based Romanian southpaw, will make the 10th defense of his crown from Capital FM Arena.
“I am very pleased that boxing fans in the United States won’t miss this war between Carl Froch and me. I want to thank the EPIX network for broadcasting this fight,” said Bute, who has long been feuding with Froch through the media.
“I am training very seriously to face Carl Froch and I look forward to defending my title for the 10th time. May 26th is going to be a great night of boxing.”
A few days prior to December’s unanimous decision loss to Andre Ward for the RING, WBA, WBC and Super Six super middleweight titles, Froch (28-2, 20 knockouts) took shots at Bute, whose exclusion from the Showtime’s Super Six he attributed to Bute’s never being good enough to be involved in the tournament in the first place.
Froch pointed to the fact that other than once in his native Romania, Bute (30-0, 24 KOs) has never made a title defense outside of his adopted homeland, Canada, as well as to his controversial win over Librado Andrade in October of 2008.
Although Bute won the rematch with Andrade by fourth-round knockout in November of 2009, he had benefitted from a long 10-count in their initial bout, allowing him to rise from a knockdown and avoid being counted out.
“I’m thrilled that EPIX has taken on my fight with Lucian. I have a lot of fans across the pond, and it is important that they get to see this fight live. It’s going to be a great atmosphere in my hometown on the night because it’s been so long since I’ve boxed there,” said Froch.
“And I think people will be impressed at the noise and passion my fans show when they turn out in force — along with the class inside the ring on the night, it’s going to be a must see event.”
Bute is coming off November’s unanimous decision victory over ex-beltholder Glen Johnson that ended a streak of six straight knockout wins for Bute.
“The enthusiasm and momentum building for this event is huge. We are very happy and proud that EPIX will present one of the best fights of 2012 in the world, live to boxing fans across United States,” said Jean Bedard, president of InterBox, which promotes Bute. “It was important for InterBox that Lucian get as much exposure throughout the world as possible.”
Froch won the WBC’s vacant belt by decisioning Jean Pascal in December of 2008, lost it the same way to Mikkel Kessler in April of 2010, and regained it by dominating ex-middleweight beltholder Arthur Abraham in November of the same year.
Froch will be fighting in Nottingham for the first time since October of 2009, when he split-decisioned Andre Dirrell.
“We’re delighted to be teaming up with EPIX on this fight,” said Eddie Hearn, group managing director of Matchroom Sport, Ltd, which handles Froch. “It’s a massive night in world championship boxing, and I am sure that EPIX will do a great job presenting what is arguably the fight of the year.”
Photo by Mike Greenhill/FightwireImages.com
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com