- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former super middleweight titlist Carl Froch insisted on fighting in his hometown of Nottingham, England. Arthur Abraham wanted the fight at home in Germany.
For months, Froch promoter Mick Hennessy and Abraham promoter Sauerland Event went back and forth trying to settle the issue of where to hold the Oct. 2 Super Six World Boxing Classic bout.
They reached an agreement Thursday for the Group Stage 3 fight of the Showtime super middleweight tournament to take place on neutral territory at Chapiteau de l'Espace Fontvieille in Monaco, which is a similar distance from each man's home.
"The intensity of the selection process for this venue speaks to the enormity of the moment created by the Super Six World Boxing Classic," Showtime's Ken Hershman said. "All the fighters in the tournament have set out to prove that they are the world's best at 168 pounds by fighting their peers -- the most dangerous men in the division -- fight after fight. Any perceived advantage or disadvantage has been calculated.
"To the credit of all involved, each hurdle has been cleared and the Super Six World Boxing Classic now marches on toward a thrilling conclusion."
Froch-Abraham is the final bout of the round-robin portion of the tournament. After the fight, two of the six men in the field, which also includes Andre Ward, Mikkel Kessler, Andre Dirrell and Allan Green, will be eliminated and the four fighters with the highest point totals will advance to the semifinals, which are expected to take place in early 2011.
The other two bouts in Group Stage 3 take place on Sept. 25 when Ward will defend his title against 2004 U.S. Olympic teammate Dirrell at an American location to be determined and Kessler will defend his belt at home in Denmark against Green.
Froch (26-1, 20 KOs) lost his Group Stage 2 bout and his belt to Kessler in Denmark on a close decision after a brutal fight April 24. Sauerland Event also promotes Kessler and immediately after the fight, Hennessy and Wilfried Sauerland and his son, Kalle Sauerland, began to dispute the location of Froch-Abraham. Froch refused to fight in Germany and, at one point, threatened to quit the tournament if he couldn't fight at home.
Abraham (31-1, 25 KOs) also lost his Group Stage 2 bout to Dirrell on March 27 in Detroit. Abraham had been knocked down for the first time in his career and was losing badly when he delivered a vicious blow to Dirrell after he had slipped to the canvas in the 11th round and was disqualified.
"I cannot wait to get back in the ring," Abraham said. "I am thrilled that the date and the venue have been set. I must admit that the disqualification against Dirrell still haunts me. Only a victory over Froch can put my mind at rest. I was ringside when he fought against Kessler and I must say I was impressed with both men. They really fought their hearts out. Froch is a hell of a fighter, but so am I. This will be the biggest, the most important fight of my career, and I will put on a special performance to please the boxing fans in Monaco, France, Germany, England, America and all over the world."
Froch, who outpointed Dirrell in his opening-round bout, is also looking forward to rebounding from a loss.
"I'm training hard already for 'King' Arthur," Froch said. "I respect what the man brings to the table, but I'm going out there to knock Abraham's crown right into Kalle's lap. Make no mistake about it, I fully appreciate the threat that Abraham presents to me in this fight. Whenever two warriors go into battle there will be bloodshed. But there will be only one victor in Monaco and that will be 'The Cobra.'"
Ward, who leads the field with four points, is the only fighter already to have locked up a place in the semifinals. Fighters in the tournament are awarded three points for a knockout win, two points for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a loss.
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