Over the next two years, six top fighters will engage in a series of preliminary bouts, with a point system determining four semifinalists.
According to reports, fighters will get three points for a knockout victory and two for a decision.
No tune-ups. No gimmes. Six guys with a combined record of 161-4-1 with 117 knockouts. Four undefeated fighters.
The contestants are:
Taylor accounts for three of the four losses, with Kessler's only defeat to the superlative Joe Calzaghe.
It's easy to be skeptical of the tournament, planned for October through to mid-2011. What if a fighter gets badly cut or injured in a victory? How will the ambitious timetable be able to be fulfilled then?
Can all fighters be kept happy with their compensation? Where will the bouts be held to maximize attendance and publicity?
Plus, the very thing that makes the tournament's existence a marvel is what could undo the tournament – there are four or five promoters involved here.
The disappointing part from a Canadian perspective is that International Boxing Federation champ Lucian Bute of Montreal is not part of the picture.
It is unclear whether his camp opted out or weren't vigorously courted. While Bute's style isn't the most thrilling, it's probably not coincidental that half of the fighters in the tourney created by a U.S. network are American.
It's hard to argue that Taylor, a loser of three of his last four (albeit against top-notch competition) is more a deserving participant than Bute.
But if we waited for perfect circumstances in the boxing world, nothing would get done.
Boxing needs to experiment and try new and exciting ways to gain fans. To my mind, anything that brings the best against the best is something to root for.
Farewell to a warrior
I'd be remiss to not talk about Arturo Gatti, the Canadian-reared fighter who was found dead in Brazil under circumstances that point to a violent end.
From his come-from-behind, swollen-eye KO over Wilson Rodriguez in 1996 through to his epic trilogy with Micky Ward, Gatti engaged in about eight fights that are deemed classics by fight fans.
Ring Magazine called the Gabe Ruelas, first Ivan Robinson fight and two of the Ward bouts as the best of their particular year.
Gatti's second fight with Robinson was almost as exciting as the first, and his scraps with Calvin Grove and Oscar De La Hoya weren't too shabby either.
All boxing fans owe a great debt from Gatti for bringing thrills and attention to a sport that was no longer in the mainstream by the mid-90s.
Coming just over two years after the motorcycle death of Diego Corrales – Gatti's only competition as the most exciting fighter of the past decade – his death is a stinging blow.
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