If this were another time, and another place, a solid contingent from TSS U would be calling for Lucian Bute to get it on with Andre Ward, so we could determine who the best super middleweight in the world is. But fight fans know thats not going to go down, not in the next couple years, anyway, because Bute wasnt invited into the Showtime 168 pound tournament. Thats Ok, well be patient, and let that matchup simmer a spell…In the meantime, we can debate in the forum just how good Bute, the Calzaghian Romanian-Canadian, really is. Judging from his takedown on Edison Miranda at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on Saturday night scrap televised by HBO, well go with quite impressive. A left uppercut exploded on Mirandas chin in the third, rendering him wobbly and unfit to continue. Miranda is these days a steppingstone vet, someone to add to your resume, so lets not toss Bute a key to Canastota.
But the stoppage win will put Bute into pound for pound top 20 talk, and it has to be frustrating for Showtime, as it is definitely possible that the best at 168 isnt included in their round robin.

The IBF 168 pound champion Bute (born in Romania, came to Canada seven years ago; entering 25-0; age 30) weighed 167.2 pounds, while Miranda (from Colombia, living in California; age 29 ; 33-4 entering) was 167 pounds on Friday.

In the first, we checked to see if a mellower, more mature, more well rounded Miranda was truly reborn under new trainer Joe Goosen. The lefty Bute, who reminds me of Joe Calzaghe, was wary of Mirandas right. He banged the out of towner with body shots, crisp, clean shots. In the second, Bute was still in assessment mode. Miranda wasnt the wildman weve seen before; he was more composed, more thoughtful. Bute got tagged with a right in the third, and Miranda was back to his old ways, dropping his hands, and posing to the crowd and Bute, daring the favorite to give him his best shot. Bute did so; he answered with a left uppercut that dropped Miranda at 1:51. The Colombian stood up, but was wobbly, and the ref played it safe, calling for a halt.
After, Bute was asked if he wanted a shot at Bernard Hopkins. He told Max Kellerman that he respects Hopkins, but will sit down with his people to plot the course. But he is, he said, the best in the world at 168. Ward fans will not agree.

Check back for George Kimballs ringside report.

SPEEDBAG For the last time, in Bute-Andrade I, Bute was dropped with one second left in the bout, the round ended while he was on his ass, he got up by the count of eight and a half…there was no coddling by the ref. He got up, then referee Marlon Wright barked at Andrade to back off. As soon as Bute got up, the bell to end the round should have rang. Can we all comprehend this, people!!!!??? That was a strange, but not overly controversial ending. Wright didnt give Bute any extra time. OK…you could argue he was groggy, that maybe part of his body was pressed against the ringpost. Didnt look to me like the the ropes or ringpost were holding him up, looked like he could stay erect on his own. So…. maybe this issue wont ever die! LOL