The ending was controversial to say the least.
The first fight between Lucien Bute and Librado Andrade on October 24, 2008 literally came down to the final seconds as referee Marlon Wright made a strange and convoluted “long count”. Bute, the hometown hero, sat on the canvas tired and dazed from a brutal last minute onslaught.
After eleven and a half rounds of Andrade unsuccessfully pursuing the slick Canadian boxer, several left hands punctuated by a right, dropped the exhausted super middleweight champion with only seconds to go before the final bell.
It was during the aforementioned “long count” that Bute eventually got up and stumbled onto the ropes. It was body language that would usually be enough cause for most referees to stop a fight. Unfortunately for Andrade, referee Wright was instead focusing on him and not his wounded opponent. “Get back to your corner!” Wright turned and yelled in Andrade’s direction several times though he'd barely moved from the neutral corner. This gave Bute extra time to recover and took the focus off him as he wobbled around. The final bell clanged. The hometown hero and his championship reign, was essentially saved by the referee’s actions that night.
Andrade’s trainer Howard Grant jumped into the ring and lunged at Wright in furor to no avail. Bute was awarded the decision and kept his title belt.
“I think I finally broke him down. They can say anything they want and make excuses. He prepared well and he fought well. At the end he just couldn’t keep up. Unfortunately I ran out of time. But I’m not bitter. I’m happy I get another opportunity,” Andrade (28-2, 21 KO’s) commented of their last encounter. “I know him a lot better now. I spent a lot of time in the ring with him and the result will be different.”
To those that watched it, it was obvious that the actions of the third man in the ring were inappropriate. The questionable refereeing was heavily criticized. It left some questions that needed to be answered.
On this Saturday, Bute (24-0, 19 KO’s) and Andrade plan to put those questions to rest.
“This rematch means so much to me for so many reasons, it also means a lot for my trainer who’s been working with me so hard,” Andrade said during a pre fight tele-conference to hype the rematch which will take place on November 28th’s edition of HBO’s Boxing After Dark. “I’m fighting for my dream. This would make me the first super middleweight champion of Mexican descent.”
Due to his previous experience, the La Habra resident by way of Guanajuato, Mexico isn’t keen on leaving the result to the judges or the referee. “I’m going to have do my best to knock him out. That’s probably the only way to make sure I win in his hometown,” the 31 year old said.
Although known as a pressure fighter, Andrade believes that he was too patient with Bute. “By the time I got into rhythm he was already leading on the cards. This time I plan to start faster,” he said. “I know he’s a very slick fighter and a great fighter so I have to come up with a special plan for him. What I do know is that I’m going to make him work harder than last time.”
The 12th round of their first fight is forever ingrained into Andrade’s mind. He doesn’t want it to happen again. “I really thought they were going to stop the fight in that last round. The whole time I was thinking, any second now, any second,” he remembered. “It made me hesitant and that was a big mistake I made. I was thinking what do they want me to do? Nail him into the ground? Marlon (the referee) was so close to us and I knew he saw what was happening and he didn’t stop it. So I clearly need to be a little colder next time.”
Andrade’s dangerous, never quit style has made him popular even in Bute’s hometown of Montreal where fans have received him well.
“They’ve been great to me since the last time I was out here. Anywhere I go I want to put up a good fight and the fans know that and that’s all they want to see,” Andrade said. “They know I’m coming here with respect for them and to give them a real battle.”
Bute is a top rated boxer. One who can stick and move with the best. Andrade will most likely be the aggressor again. Coming forward, seeking his target in order to break him down with brute force. Bute, on the other hand, says there’s no way Andrade will touch him. “Andrade will box with my shadow that night,” Bute, of Romanian/Canadian descent said through his French speaking interpreter.
For Andrade, the first round of this rematch is round thirteen. “This will be the most time I’ve ever spent in the ring with anyone as a professional,” he said. “I’ve got him figured out. This time I’m aware of his abilities. There will be no surprises. This time I’m going home with the world title.”
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?