Lucian Bute vs. Carl Froch preview & prediction

Credit: Interbox

The super middleweight division continues to deliver the best quality fights in boxing on May 26 when undefeated IBF champion Lucian Bute takes on two-time champion and veteran warrior Carl Froch in the Briton’s backyard of Nottingham. These two fighters are ranked by Proboxing-fans.com at #2 and #4 respectively, and if Bute wins he can expect to become the logical challenger to top dog Andre Ward. A win by Froch not only puts the IBF belt around his waist, but sets the stage for lucrative rematches with either Mikkel Kessler or Andre Dirrell.

Carl Froch (28-2, 20 KOs)
6’1″ tall, 75″ reach, 34 years old
Briton
Former Two-Time Super Middleweight Champion

Credit: Interbox

The Cobra is the division’s ironman, the guy who has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is willing to fight anyone who will get in the ring with him. The man’s last seven fights read like a Who’s Who of the 168-pound and 175-pound weight classes, and in six of those fights Froch either prevailed or was very, very competitive. Only Andre Ward has been able to score a decisive victory over him.

Froch is a boxer-puncher, but unlike most of the fighters described by that term, his emphasis is on the puncher part. Froch has good boxing skills and a very good jab, but he is first and foremost a banger, and his defense is rooted in a cast iron chin and in getting his offense going.

Lucian Bute (30-0, 24 KOs)
6′ 1/2″, 72″ reach, southpaw, 32 years old
Romanian-Canadian
Current IBF Super Middleweight Champion

Le Tombeur remains the great unknown of the super middleweight division. This is not to say Bute isn’t a serious contender and solid beltholder, but instead it points directly to the simple fact that Bute chose to sit out the Super Six tournament, and therefore his resume as a 168-pound isn’t quite up to snuff. In any other division, Bute’s long list of wins over fringe contenders and bottom-of-the-top-ten types would be reasonably impressive, but not at super middleweight. His most formidable opponent to date has been Glen Johnson, a guy who has lost every big fight he has been in for the last four years. Bute’s status as a top guy in his weight class is based squarely on his undefeated status, proof that not losing in middling fights often profits a man more than having a mixed record in big fights.

Even so, Bute was Super Six material and is certainly a top-of-the-top-ten class fighter. He is a quick, powerful boxer puncher. His style is usually quite aggressive, using quickness and fluidity to skillfully apply hurt to his opponents, but he has proven capable of switching gears into matador-mode, using mobility and the southpaw stance to stymie the opposition.

Bute vs. Froch Preview & Analysis

Conventional wisdom suggests that Bute will defeat Froch, because Froch has never done very well with boxing stylists. Jermain Taylor was on his way to a clean decision win when Froch pulled out a come-from-behind knockout in the last round; Andre Dirrell dropped a controversial points loss to Froch, despite fighting in a hesitant, insecure fashion all night; Andre Ward dominated him; and even Mikkel Kessler was able to use his rigid, Continental boxing skills to rack up the points. The Cobra has always been there to be hit for a guy quick enough or defensively skilled enough to survive doing it, and Bute is undoubtedly faster than Froch.

This match-up isn’t quite as simple as that, however. First, experience counts for something here. Froch is the best fighter Lucian Bute has ever fought, but Bute is pretty run of the mill by Froch’s recent standards. Simply put, Froch could choose to out-slug or out-box any one of Bute’s best opponents and expect to win.

Bute doesn’t have the power to dent Froch’s chin, both men are roughly the same age, and Froch is still looking very fit despite taking some tough punishment over the last few years. Froch is also the stronger and rougher man, so Bute would be unwise to use clinching or infighting as a tactic in this fight. Ward is a sneaky thug on the inside, and Kessler remains the physically strongest man in the division, so neither of them had that worry. This puts Bute into Dirrell and Taylor territory, where Froch had a very hard time while ultimately winning.

One more thing to think about is that Froch has the tools to nullify Bute’s southpaw advantages. The men are about the same height, but Froch has longer arms, and that translates into Froch being able to sling his straight right at about the same range that Bute uses to stick his right jab. The fulcrum for any contest between southpaw and orthodox fighters is lead foot placement. If Froch can consistently keep his lead foot on the outside of Bute’s, it puts him in position to throw his most powerful punch almost as handily as if it were his jab. This is another reason why Bute must stay mobile and cannot afford to mix it up with Froch, because Froch is a good enough boxer to be competitive in a footwork contest if he doesn’t have to follow Bute around at the same time.

Bute vs. Froch Prediction

Bute is in the biggest fight of his career and against his most formidable opponent, so I expect him to start semi-cautiously, force Froch to follow him, and try to establish the jab and rip off short, fluid combos while staying on the move. Froch’s main hope is that Bute finds him so easy to sting that he stops and tries to land more leather, which is when Froch can either come on and roughhouse or place his feet and unload his power.

If nothing else, however, Bute learns from his mistakes, and I doubt he will ever repeat the hell for leather assault that almost got him knocked out in the 12th Round against Librado Andrade. Against Froch and with so much on the line, Bute will do everything in his power to avoid heated exchanges, let alone getting drawn into a war. That is not to say that this fight won’t have its moments, but I have a hard time seeing Froch gaining any traction against Bute without either Bute getting tired in the late rounds or making a major mistake. Bute has never shown a lack of late fight stamina, and he is no dummy; therefore I don’t see this fight as being close or muddy enough for the hometown advantage giving it to Froch.

Prediction: Lucian Bute UD12 Carl Froch

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16 comments

  1. Again that lie about Bute saying no to the super 6.
    He was never invited in the 1st place, they did inquire of his availability after injuries to the participants but Bute was already signed up for Andrade #2.

    This could have been easily confirmed by Interbox or even ESPN…

    • Eric here is the liar. It is well known that Bute was invited during the early stages of putting the tournament together, and while he didn’t say NO, he did ask for so much money that he priced himself out.

      It’s an old boxing ploy – ask for so much money that you won’t get the fight, which is the same thing as saying NO.

      • Mihai D. Popescu

        I would not label someone as “liar” — but I would call him misinformed; which is your case, Union Jack… Sorry, lad, but back when, when the Super Six began, SHOwtime didn’t invite Bute in (ask SHO’s boss, who declared that publicly)… In addition, back in 2009, Bute was signed by HBO for the “Andrade II” fight… In case Lucian would have been invited in the “early stages” of the tournament, I suppose it had to be after Kessler was headbutted out of the sport by Ward, and eventually was ruined his career — because, as everybody knows, Kessler never recovered so far… Anyhow, as “untested” as he was, SHO signed Bute for a three fight deal (at $2million each). SHO clearly stated that they wanted Bute to fight the Super Six winner… So Ward was the winner and he preferred to take a long rest, thus dodging both SHO and Bute… What’s not true here? 🙂

      • That would be you Butoids. You harp on this one statement by a Showtime’s VP, and just happen to not mention multiple statements made by more than a few of the promoters involved in making the Super Six.

        Ward ducking Bute? Oh, you have scads of credibility there.

  2. Mihai D. Popescu

    The analysis is quite well documented… Good points about the foot work… I don’t agree with Froch’s ability in out-jabbing Bute or in nullifying Bute’s left — Carl can’t do this without nullifying his own right hand (by keeping the elbow down to the body)… I don’t see Bute running away, as he is a terrible counter puncher in mid-distance (even if he’s no good in clinches)… Carl will eventually loose temper and start brawling — that would be the point from where he’ll become an easy target for Bute… (You said nothing about Lucian’s ability to move fast and permanently change angles)…

    • While I appreciate the comment, Mihai, I wonder whose article you are commenting about. While I describe Froch as having a good jab, that was part of a general description of Froch as a boxer; nowhere do I indicate Froch needs to out-jab Bute. Nn orthodox vs. southpaw match-ups, the orthodox fighter needs a huge advantage in speed to use his left jab effectively. I also highlight Bute’s quickness and fluidity throughout. You are countering points I didn’t make or insisting on things I agree with you on.

      • Mihai D. Popescu

        Yes… I’ve probably mixed things up a little bit… I’ve seen other specialists saying that Froch needs to out-jab Bute in order to use his right hand power punches… On another hand, for some reasons, I don’t usually “expose” everything I might know about Bute’s style or strategies…

    • Hahahaha! LOSER! LOSER! LOSER!

  3. “Bute has never shown a lack of late fight stamina, and he is no dummy”

    I agree with the prediction, but I think the Andrade fight was clearly a late fight stamina issue. I have heard some say Bute was ill up to the fight, but to me it is a question mark.

    Bute is surely a talented guy, but his level of opposition up till now has been really appalling.

    • There is a plain difference between normal tiring and a boxer not being able to fight hard for 12 rounds. Was Bute tired? Well, yeah, but if he weren’t tired at the end of a fight like that, I’d be calling him a steam engine or somesuch thing. Was he exhausted, like he couldn’t go on? Nope. Exhausted fighters don’t come out in the 12th looking for a knockout, especially not when they are leading on the cards and have the fight in the bank.

  4. Mihai D. Popescu

    @Union Jack: You don’t have to be rude, because I don’t mind and you can’t touch me anyhow… You better check at boxinginsiderdotcom /columns/super-sick-of-andre-wards-excuses … And maybe, maybe you’ll understand something on this issue… The column is not written by a “butoid”… 🙂

    • Floydiots. Pactards. Tysoniestas. Now Butoids. Or maybe it should be “Butanes?” Either way, it’s like Man U fans blather on about how great Wayne Rooney is.

      • Mihai D. Popescu

        You’re definitely funny and smart… I’ll argue with you no more… I always enjoy witty commnents — but there are quite a few on this sport…

  5. Q for Rich Thomas: what do you mean bute cannot hard-punch Froch.. Did Bute show in the past that he is a light puncher? He cracked andrade’s chin in the second game didn’t he so what exactly do you mean by that? Are you 100% sure that bute cannot ko froch? Because if you are, I doubt that you understand his power…

  6. Bute is probabely one of the most powerfull punchers Froch met in his career. Because he is outboxing he seems like he is just punching light. But it is not like that. He is not Calzaghe. Probabely almost ast fast as Calzaghe but he has power behind. Especially his body shots. That’s where he hits the hardest. Never in my life saw someone so skilled with the body shots. Ussualy boxers use body shots to slow the opponents over the fight but his shots are damaging like the knees in K1. You have to defend that arrea or it will be an early finish.

  7. Good call on the body shots – Bute is a wicked body puncher. However, to really sling the right hook at Froch’s ribs, Bute will need to put his feet down. As I described, if Bute stops moving he gives Froch a chance to win the battle of foot placement. So, whenever Bute stops to fire a hard right hook downstairs, Froch might fire and land a straight right down the pike to either the head or body.

    I’m glad to see so many people excited bout this fight – it promises to be a real show.

    P.S.

    I don’t know where this claim that I labeled Bute a “feather fist” is coming from. To the contrary, I called Bute a “quick, powerful boxer-puncher.”

    Yet Froch is clearly the bigger banger of the two. If Bute has more recent knockouts, it’s because so much of his opposition has been second-rate, while Froch has been hanging with the best guys out there.

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