Andre Ward-Andre Dirrell Super Six fight is canceled
The scheduled Nov. 27 Super Six super-middleweight tournament fight between Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell has been called off, with Dirrell backing out because of neurological concerns.
"He's visited a neurologist who's advised him not to train or fight," Dirrell's promoter Gary Shaw said.
Shaw could not clarify whether the trauma was sustained when Dirrell was knocked out while down in his disqualification victory over Arthur Abraham earlier this year, or if an injury was sustained in training.
Showtime's Ken Hershman said Thursday that he could announce a replacement foe for Ward by Friday, but was still "making internal calculations" whether to include that new fighter as a Super Six entrant eligible for next year's semifinals.
Three of the original Super Six entrants, Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler and Jermain Taylor, have now backed out of the tournament before it reached the semifinal round.
"I'm obviously disappointed with the developments," Hershman said. "I still believe in the concept of the Super Six. It's obviously been challenging getting through this number of fights. But we'll still get to the semifinals with three of the original [fighters]."
In addition to Ward, current and former world champions Carl Froch and Abraham remain. They'll also fight Nov. 27 in Finland.
Dirrell's camp notified Hershman of the injury within the last 48 hours, he said. Ward's and Dirrell's promoters had failed to agree upon a site for the bout, and negotiations had been turbulent. Hershman's disappointed tone raised questions about the legitimacy of Dirrell's injury, and even Shaw said earlier Thursday that he did not know the nature of the injury, other than to note "he's being tested by a specialist."
"I'm very disappointed for Andre," Shaw said. "He had a heck of a shot at winning the tournament. It's a big loss financially."
The Nov. 27 bout would have matched the unbeaten and Super Six points leader Ward, of Oakland, against Detroit's Dirrell in the third and final stage of qualifying for the tournament's semifinals. Shaw said Ward-Dirrell was to be fought in either Oregon or Michigan's Silverdome.
Ward's replacement fight is likely to take place at his hometown Oracle Arena, Hershman said.
Former U.S. gold medalist Ward has defeated Kessler (who dropped out with an eye injury) and Allan Green thus far in the competition. Dirrell was defeated by Froch, but won by disqualification against Abraham.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Andre Ward. Credit: Paul Sakuma/Associated Press.