Showtime's six-man super middleweight tournament kicks off with two fights -- Arthur Abraham-Jermain Taylor from Berlin and Carl Froch-Andre Dirrell from Nottingham, England -- on Saturday (Showtime, 8 p.m. ET/PT; Abraham-Taylor on same-day tape, Froch-Dirrell live). The tournament continues with the third Group Stage 1 match on Nov. 21 when Mikkel Kessler faces Andre Ward in Oakland, Calif.
Here are the rest of the predetermined matchups in the modified round-robin, with an approximate time frame. All bouts will be contested under the international unified rules of boxing:
Group Stage 2
• January in the U.S.: Abraham-Dirrell.
• March in Europe: Froch-Kessler.
• Spring 2010 in the U.S.: Ward-Taylor.
Group Stage 3
• Summer 2010 in the U.S.: Ward-Dirrell.
• Summer 2010 in Europe: Froch-Abraham.
• Fall 2010 in the U.S.: Kessler-Taylor.
The top four fighters will advance to the single-elimination semifinals on the merits of a points system. Two points are awarded for a victory, with a one-point bonus for a knockout victory. One point is awarded for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. The semifinals are tentatively scheduled for January 2011 in the U.S., with the final to be held in May or June 2011 in the U.S.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.