Lucian Bute: Super at 168 Without the Super Six
The Romanian-born Montreal resident is the IBF Super Middleweight Champion and sits near the top of a robust division. While not in the Super Six tournament, the 6’2” southpaw is clearly one of the top 3-4 fighters in the division and some say the best. Not being in the tournament may hurt his immediate standing, yet at the same time spare him endless ring wear. Nevertheless, Bute is a top draw in Montreal and looks to bigger things ahead. He employs a slick-boxing, moving style yet he is not a runner. He often fights in the middle of the ring and works the body well. With 20 KO’s in a perfect 25-0 record, he can also crack a bit.
In Romania, Bute was a well-regarded amateur who represented his country in many prestigious tournaments. He won a bronze medal in the 1999 World Champions and impressed many by winning the gold medal at the Francophone Games in Canada. Interbox subsequently signed him to a contract.
Early Pro Career
Bute became a Montreal resident and began his pro career. It didn’t take long for him to be touted as a blue-chip prospect. After 8 bouts, he stopped aging former champion Dingaan Thobela in four rounds. Bute continued climbing up the ranks beating, among others, Kabary Salem, Donnell Wiggins, and Lolenga Mock. In a little over three years, he zoomed to the top of the ratings in compiling a 19-0 record.
Run To The Title
Before challenging for the IBF title, Bute was forced to fight an eliminator against ultra-tough Sakio Bika. Lucian used his boxing skills to win a wide unanimous decision. Next up was IBF champion Alejandro Berrio. Bute was outboxing the tough Colombian when in round 11, he pinned Berrio in the corner and nearly ripped his head off with a succession of right hand bombs. The referee jumped in with Berrio unconscious and trapped against the turnbuckle. Lucian Bute was the new IBF Super Middleweight Champion!
Title Reign: Bute-Andrade I and II
Bute made his first defense with a 10th round TKO against faded former middleweight titlist William Joppy. His next bout would not be so easy as he faced dogged top contender Librado Andrade. For ten rounds, Bute was more or less having his way, but the resilient Andrade began to connect against a clearly beleaguered Bute. The 11th was all Andrade, connecting as Bute’s legs began to betray him.
In the final round, Andrade was in hot pursuit with Bute reeling. With time running out, Bute went down in a heap from an Andrade onslaught. He got up in time and won the decision, but appeared to get a little help from the referee, who by stalling managed to eat up the clock and robbed Andrade of an opportunity to follow up. Bute seemed fortunate at the very least. Many referees would have stopped the bout in the final minute when Bute was in such a sorry state.
Bute got back on the horse with a 4th round KO over dangerous contender Fulgencio Zuniga. Next up was a rematch with Andrade. Bute had a lot to prove, facing the man who many felt had knocked him out in their previous bout. Bute began the bout cautiously, but soon got untracked, raking Andrade with jabs and straight left hands.
In the 4th round of a reasonably competitive fight, Andrade charged Bute who caught him coming in with a left. Andrade didn’t seem to see the punch coming, and crumpled to the canvas. He seemed to be shaken, but got up and seemed in reasonably decent condition. Moments later, Andrade fired a sloppy right hand and Bute moved to his left and fired a merciless left uppercut into Andrade’s body. Andrade went down and out.
It was a shocking performance. Many had predicted Bute would better his performance from the first fight, but none had suspected he would score a fast and emphatic KO over a guy who had shown nothing but diamond-like durability during his career. With this unpleasant chapter of his life story now closed, Bute could move ahead toward bigger things.
Finding meaningful bouts at 168 is obviously more problematic with the best fighters committed to the Super Six tournament. Still, a rematch with Bika or a bout with Allan Green would generate some interest. There has been talk of a bout with light heavyweight titlist and fellow-Quebec resident Jean Pascal, which would be huge in Canada.