Fight Camp 360° is a Knockout!
Story by David Finger
Photo art by Howard Schatz for Showtime
With the “Super Six World Boxing Classic” set to debut this Saturday on Showtime, boxing fans certainly have a good reason to tune into Showtime’s reality series “Fight Camp 360°: Inside The Super Six World Boxing Classic.” But for those fans who expect a staged documentary in the mold of HBO’s 24/7, you will undoubtedly be pleasantly surprised at the reality of the “Fight Camp 360°” series.
Lacking the disingenuously scripted feel of 24/7, “Fight Camp 360°” already looks to be the best documentary show on boxing in the last decade.
Pulling no punches, the series goes into the background of how the event came to be and the fighters who will be taking part of the biggest boxing tournament since the Heavyweight unification tournament of the 1980s. It highlights not only the fighters, but also the promoters and fans that helped make this tournament a reality.
The series focuses on the upcoming super middleweight tournament featuring Andre Dirrell, Andre Ward, Jermain Taylor, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, and Arthur Abraham. Not only are all six super stars in their own right, but they are also handled by five distinct (and at times competitive) promoters who must carefully juggle the interest of their fighters with a tournament in which no fighter can be seen as the favorite or even the headliner.
Seldom do boxing fans like to hear about the back room politics that go on in this sport, but even those fans had to be entertained and fascinated with the discussion featured in Fight Camp 360° between Lou Dibella, Gary Shaw, Mick Hennessy, Kalle Sauerland, and Dan Goossen. Fight Camp 360° not only showed the negotiations as they occurred, but also the fragile state the fight card was in, often hinging on minor things like post fight interviews and leaks from unknown sources. In fact, what makes Fight Camp 360° so entertaining are to see these legendary promoters interact with each other when none of them has the upper hand.
At one point during the show, when Dan Goossen (whose fighter Andre Ward already caused a stir with some of his statements on Showtime after a fight) started to waver on his fighters position in the tournament promoter Lou Dibella was quick to jump in to try and push one of his own fighters.
“I don’t want to be an ass---e, but Allen Green is available,” Dibella quickly added, seeing the opportunity to push one of his fighters. The statement might have come off as a jab against Goossen, but it was also a stark reminder to everyone in the room that while it will be a tough road to the top for whoever wins, there is no shortage of great fighters who would love the opportunity to be in the tournament if they are apprehensive about it.
But besides focusing on the promoters, Fight Camp 360° is ultimately about the fighters.
Starting off with a short biography on Flint, Michigan native Andre Dirrell, boxing fans could see not only the contrasting styles and background of each fighter, but also the contrasting personalities.
Dirrell, a family man whose youth and enthusiasm seemed a sharp contrast to the gritty veteran in Carl Froch, talked about his upbringing and training, plus he demonstrated his youthful exuberance for the opportunity when he said: “I am going to have some fun when we get in that ring.”
From there the focus went on to Carl Froch, who already was entering this tournament looking like a man with a chip on his shoulder. For much of his career he was an underdog, as when he brought his WBC super middleweight championship to the United States to fight Jermain Taylor he not only was an underdog but a man fighting in hostile territory. He suffered an early knockdown, but not only got up from the knockdown but revealed a side of him that Dirrell and boxing fans are sure to see on October 17th. He didn’t want to just get up from his first knockdown to defeat Taylor; he wanted to shut the crowd up. That was the kind of fighter Carl Froch is, not afraid of taking on the entire world if they want to stand against him.
It was hard not to be excited about this Saturday’s showdown between Dirrell and Froch after watching the fighters profiled.
How will Froch handle fighting in his hometown? How will Dirrell handle fighting in hostile territory? Is Dirrell ready for the tenacity of Froch? Can Froch handle the youth and speed of Dirrell?
From there the focus went on to the other two fighters who will be fighting on October 17th on Showtime.
Arthur Abraham will be bringing his 30-0 record up from the middleweight division to fight the one time golden boy of boxing in Jermain Taylor.
Taylor’s last fight was his heartbreaking loss to Froch, in which he was stopped with seconds left on the clock in the final round of a close fight that many thought he was winning comfortably. Many wondered if the likeable Taylor could recover from such a devastating loss. But promising a change in diet and a change in his training would make all the difference in the world, Taylor looked like a man on a mission. He is after all a fighter with more to gain from this tournament than most: A former superstar now accepting his role as an underdog against a fighter who is widely seen as the most dangerous fighter that nobody (in America at least) has ever heard of.
If Taylor recognizes what this fight means for his career, there is little question Abraham does as well. After all he’s been waiting for this moment for years. He’s beaten a lot of the best fighters in the world at the wrong time (and sadly for his stature in the United States, on the wrong continent) but he knows that a win over Taylor could put to an end his lack of name recognition in the West.
“The name is more important that anything else,” Abraham reflected on Fight Camp 360, “I want to be big in America.”
Fight Camp 360 °debuted Saturday but will be rebroadcast on the following dates and times (EST):
Monday, Oct. 12 - 11:30 p.m. Showtime 2
Tuesday, Oct. 13 – 10 p.m. Showtime 2
Wednesday, Oct. 14 – 11 p.m. Showtime 2
Thursday, Oct. 15 – 10 p.m. Showtime 2
Thursday, Oct. 15 – 10:40 p.m. Showtime
Friday, Oct. 16 – Midnight Showtime
Saturday, Oct. 17 – 6:40 p.m. Showtime
The Super Six World Boxing Classic will premiere on Saturday October 17th at 8PM EST.