On November 28 in Quebec, IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute will take on Librado Andrade in a rematch from their controversial bout over a year ago. While these fighters are not in the Super Six tournament, that doesn’t mean they aren’t among the best at 168, or that they’re not capable of putting on thrilling fights.
Bute vs. Andrade Preview – A Look Back at the First Fight
Their first fight created a lot of debate with varying opinions on what happened in that last round. For ten rounds, Bute boxed beautifully, using his speed and movement to build up a huge lead on the cards. In the 11th, however, there was a palpable decline in Bute’s condition. His legs were starting to go, and Andrade was reaching him with more regularity. Then came the 12th round and all hell broke loose.
Bute came unhinged. Andrade pounded him all over the ring, with Bute swooning but still upright. With 30-40 seconds left in the fight, there was high drama, as Bute was utterly spent and Andrade was in hot pursuit. With ten seconds left, Andrade knocked Bute down, with Lucian in a semi-conscious heap on the canvas. Referee Marlon Wright began the count, only to reprimand Andrade for leaving the neutral corner, giving the hometown fighter precious extra seconds to right himself.
Bute did manage to stand up, though it was clear by any reasonable measure that he could not be permitted to continue. It took everything he had to get up, and even then, he needed to lean on the ropes to stand. Unfortunately for Andrade, time had expired, and the fight went to the scorecards.
Those who feel Andrade was robbed point to Bute’s condition in the final moments of the fight. Even before the knockdown, Bute had that faraway look that suggests an alternate reality. He was buckling and careening all over the ring. Would most referees have stopped the fight? Probably so. They also point to referee Wright’s actions during the knockdown, where one had the sense that he was trying to kill the clock, by lollygagging and reprimanding Andrade over a marginal neutral corner infraction.
Others, however, maintain that even if the referee was charitable to Bute, it didn’t effectively change the result of the fight. Bute rose before the count of ten, at which point the final bell sounded. Wright knew the fight was over, so if Bute was merely able to stand, then that should be sufficient. There was no danger of him being hit again.
We know the truth in boxing is usually somewhere in the middle, and that seems to be the case with this controversy.
Bute vs. Andrade Preview – The Rematch
There are no secrets about these two. We know what they bring to the table. Bute is an undefeated, well-schooled, fast southpaw with an extensive amateur pedigree. With 19 KO’s in 24 wins, he can also crack a bit, though he never seemed to hurt Andrade. Any questions that he was adversely affected by the first Andrade fight seemed to be answered in his last bout in March, when he stopped the capable Fulgencio Zuniga in 4 rounds.
Andrade is a special case. An amateur with a 3-10 record, he turned pro with no backing. After a decade in the pro ranks, he has developed a reputation as an ultra-durable gamer, a tough out for anyone. Since being shut out by Mikkel Kessler in 2007, he has added a few wrinkles to his game, a punishing jab, and a newfound ability to cut off the ring. He has scored a few decent wins, with KO’s over current light-heavyweight contender Yusaf Mack, and Super Middleweight titlist Robert Stieglitz, showing there’s a little more to him than his George Chuvalo-like durability.
What Showtime viewers can expect to see on November 28 is a high-energy bout between two fighters in their primes fighting for their futures. The division is rich with talent, and a win here is a must to stay in the thick of things. With everyone’s eyes on the endless Super Six tournament, the loser of this fight will go so far to the back of the pack, that there might be no coming back.
Bute vs. Andrade Prediction
The 12th round of the last fight might have made us forget the first ten rounds, where Bute was pretty much having his way. Sure, he was expending a lot of energy against the dogged Andrade, but he was clearly winning the day with his boxing skill, particularly a punishing jab that smacked into Andrade’s face with regularity.
I expect a more measured performance from Bute in this fight, for him to expend less nervous energy. He knows all too well he can’t stop Andrade, and will not leave himself in such a drained state for the championship rounds. He will just be content to pile up points against his slower, more stationary opponent in a more settled approach than last time.
This will not be easy for Bute, and you can’t rule out a guy who was able to put him in such a state before. But who is more likely to make adjustments for this fight? Sure, Andrade is capable of switching things up a bit, but Bute is the more talented guy, with more options at his disposal.
I see Bute being able to do for 12 rounds what he was only able to do for 10 last time, albeit on a slightly reduced level in an effort to not burn out late. Andrade will have his moments and will be hard to dissuade as always, but it won’t be enough. While it’s always possible that I’m not reading enough into Bute’s collapse last time, I see him winning a clear unanimous decision.