Lucian Bute, the 29 year old Montreal based Romanian defends his IBF super-middleweight crown at the Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City on Saturday night. The fight is a rematch of last years exciting and controversial bout with Mexican Librado Andrade.
In their first encounter Bute (24 – 0, 19 ko´s) dominated the early rounds and built up a huge lead on points.
By the later rounds, a tiring Bute was forced to box off the back foot as the limited but relentless Andrade came on strong. By the twelfth, Bute was a spent force, and survival was his only concern. But with thirty seconds left on the clock, Andrade caught Bute with a huge right, flattening him in a corner. Bute managed to get to his feet, but was defenseless.
Now here is where the controversy comes in. The referee stopped mid-count to turn to Andrade and remonstrate for him to return to his neutral corner. The referee repeated his demand three times. By the time the referee took up the count, the bell ended the contest. Andrade´s people, namely Golden Boy promotions and his trainer Howard Grant were vitriolic after the bout claiming their fighter had been robbed, and that he had in fact knocked out the champion.
There are two points here; Bute got to his feet immediately after being floored, so he wasn’t knocked out. The other point is the referred had no option but to demand Andrade go to a neutral corner. If the referee had allowed Andrade to launch his attack on Bute when he was already halfway across the ring, he would have been equally vilified by Bute´s camp, and the result could have been a tragedy. Granted, Bute was out on his feet and defenseless, and for sure another heavy blow would have felled him for the count, but that is not the referee’s concern. He was there to do a job, and on this occasion, referee Marlon Wright did his job perfectly.
Lucien Bute is the biggest star in boxing in Canada, and his fights are always a sellout. Such is his earning power in Quebeck, he chose to sit out Showtime TV´s Super Six Boxing Classic. He is getting big bucks for his rematch with Andrade and the bout is being shown on HBO in the States.
Andrade is an almost ´Rocky Balboa` like figure. He is an average boxer with limited punching power. But he is dogged and determined. He has a huge heart, and a concrete chin. His first crack at a world crown was in 2007 for Mikkel Kessler´s WBA super-middleweight crown. Kessler thrashed Andrade that night, winning EVERY ROUND on all three scorecards. But the Mexican went the distance against the big hitting Dane, and left the ring virtually unmarked. Far from being deflated after such a one sided defeat, Andrade followed up with the two best wins of his career, stopping Yusaf Mack (tko 7) and Robert Stieglitz (tko 8), results that established him as a top contender in the super-middle class. He is 31 years old, and his record is a very respectable 28 -2 (21 ko´s).
Andarde can only fight one way, and the outcome of the fight may depend on Bute´s mentality. It could be that Bute feels he has a point to prove and wants to put on a show for his fans in Montreal. That would be a mistake, as Andrade took Bute´s best shots in the first fight without flinching. If Bute turns the fight into a brawl, there will only be one winner. It is more likely that Bute will utilize his superior boxing skills to try and keep Andrade on the outside. Certainly the bookies think that Bute will have too much for Andrade, and the champion is a heavy favorite.
But I have a feeling that no matter what Bute does; sooner or later Andrade is going to get to him. He did it last time, and he will do it on Saturday, only earlier. And I think this time the referee will end the fight around the eleventh.
BIG FIGHT ODDS: BUTE 3/10, ANDRADE 12/5 bet365