MONTREAL, Canada —Lucian Bute’s supporters, 11,682 of them on this night, and perhaps even Lucian Bute himself, will try to tell you that Bute could have ended this one anytime he wanted, but that makes no sense at all. No fighter would willingly subject himself to nine rounds worth of lumps and bruises and punches, and of course, the longer a fight goes, the greater the danger that a game challenger like Jesse Brinkley might get lucky, or the possibility that the fight might turn on a stray elbow or some other roll of the fistic dice.

So no, Bute did not carry Brinkley for nine rounds for the dramatic effect produced by the left hand that left Brinkley for near dead at 2:48 of the round. But you do have to wonder why it took him so long to get interested.

Although the IBF had elevated him to a mandatory position, Jesse Brinkley is not the equal of Bute in any quantifiable aspect of the game save, perhaps, heart and determination, and that will only take you so far in a match like this.

Bute may have been surprised by the way the pesky former Contender mainstay took the fight to him in the early going, but for the most part he might as well have been stifling a yawn. Bute’s jab is among the best in the 168-pound division, but while Brinkley was rushing in to land his own jab, Bute allowed his right hand to sway before him like a sweeping pendulum. When he threw it at all he was either flicking it or waving at Brinkley. The bout was well into the fourth round before Bute so much as threw a jab as if he meant it.

Brinkley’s early display of bravado had done nothing to diminish the enthusiasm of the Quebecois crowd. From the champion’s regal entrance to the triumphant conclusion, they maintained a decibel level which suggested that they may have been barely paying attention to what was actually going on in the ring. Even Bute’s misses elicited squeals of delight. What the Bell Centre crowd lacks in sophistication it more than makes up for in enthusiasm.

It was the fifth round before Bute at last began to assert his dominance. He landed a couple of combinations that sent Brinkley into retreat and then lashed out with a hard left to the body, and Jesse went down so hard and so completely that it seemed doubtful that he’d make it back up. When he did, the tape on one of his gloves had fortuitously come loose. Sam Williams, the Michigan referee, called time, and Brinkley was able to compose himself while repairs were underway.

Although Brinkley fought back gamely, a war of attrition was taking its toll. Brinkley’s nose was bloodied. A trickle had begun to fall from a cut above his left eye in the eighth round even before Bute landed the short left that put him down again, bringing the blood in earnest. Williams summoned the ringside physician before letting the round finish.

Between rounds, Danny Milano worked feverishly on Brinkley, but it turned out it was the last chance Danny would get. Bute hurt Brinkley with a combination, and as the challenger’s weary hands fell away, Bute nailed him with a perfect left that landed right on the button. Williams was waving his arms before Brinkley even hit the canvas – and thoroughly spent, Brinkley stayed down for a good minute after the fight was over while bedlam reigned around him.

Bute remained undefeated at 27-0. Brinkley, who did what he could while he could, is now 35-6. Bute – or, some would say, the Bell Centre – had claimed another victim.

As we were on out way out that night we ran into a television producer of our acquaintance, who wondered “What’s he going to do when he has to fight outside this building?

The answer, of course, is: Why would he?

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Another Montreal-based Romanian, former WBC light-heavyweight champion Adrian Diaconu, fought for the first time since his back-to-back losses to successor Jean Pascal. Diaconu won a unanimous decision over perennial challenger Omar Sheika to run his record to 27-2. Sheika (30-10) was thoroughly outgunned, ate a steady diet of Diaconu jabs and right-hand leads throughout the bout, but he did have his moment.

That occurred in the second round, after Diaconu had landed a left hand significantly below the belt line. When referee Mike Griffin did not immediately acknowledge the transgression, Sheika gave Diaconu one of those pained looks as if to say “Come on. You know better than that.

At that point they tapped gloves and Griffin did speak to Diaconu, but when action resumed, you actually expected Sheika to retaliate – and so did Diaconu. But as it turned out, his rejoinder wasn’t payback in kind. Rather, he unleashed an overhand right that was about as close to a sucker punch as you’re ever apt to see in a boxing match, one that send Diaconu tumbling ass over teakettle and got the attention of the crowd, so say nothing of that of Diaconu.

It was, alas, the last real bullet Sheika had left in the gun, and while he fought gamely for eight more rounds, he never seriously threatened again, and by the time the curtain rang down the New Jersey fighter was swollen about both eyes and had the look of a thoroughly beaten fellow. John Woodburn scored it 98-92, Richard De Carufel 98-91, and Jean Gautheir 97-92. The Sweet Science card agreed with De Carufel’s.

A third Romanian boxer on the card, welterweight Ionut Dan Ion, had also been fighting out of Canada, and done very well until this past June, when in what appears to have been a matchmaking miscalculation he went off to Turkey, where he dropped a split decision to Selcuk Ayan for his first career loss. Dan Ion, who fights under the name “Jo-Jo Dan, was able to right the ship somewhat last night in his bout against Andres Villafane, one of a quartet of Argentinian opponents InterBox presumably acquired in a package deal to serve up to the locals.

Whether this Patagonian Gang of Four came up the St. Lawrence on a livestock container ship remains unlearned, but with one exception they all departed the Bell Centre pretty much the same way, which is to say, feet-first.

Like Dan Ion a southpaw, Villafane stayed erect for three rounds before obligingly going down from a body shot in the fourth round – and staying there. The offending punch did not appear particularly lethal, in that Dan Ion was lunging when he threw it and Villafane backing away when he caught it. Referee Marlon Brando Wright counted him out at 1:35 of the round. Dan Ion is 27-1 after the knockout win; Villafane is 15-6-3.

Drummondville (Que.) lightweight Benoit Gaudet improved to 23-2 with a sixth-round kayo of Ceferino Labanda (19-3), another of the hapless Argies. Gaudet decked Labanda with a short right early in the round and then put him away for good with a huge right a minute later. Referee Jean-Gui Brosseau counted Labanda out at 2:53 of the round, but he probably could have counted to a hundred. Labana, who unsuccessfully challenged Steve Molitor for the IBF 122-pound title in Ontario three years ago, is 19-0 in Argentina. He has now fought outside his homeland three times, and been knocked out on all three occasions.

Their Argentine countryman Julio Roque Ler fared slightly better, lasting the distance in a losing cause to Canadian bantamweight Sebastian Gathier (19-2). That Roque Ler (30-7) made it through eight rounds required no particular skill on his part, since Gathier seemed quite content to engage in what might as well have been eight rounds of sparring. (The decidedly un-belligerent contestants politely touched gloves before and after each round.) Judges Jean Gauthier (no relation – as least we think not) and Claude Paquette had it a shutout at 80-72. Pasquale Procopio somehow gave Roque Ler a round, returning a 79-73 card.

Charlesbourg junior welter Pier Olivier Cote ran his pro mark to 13-0 with a sixth-round TKO of Walter Gomiez, (23-19-1) who joined the Argentiniian exodus. Cote decked Gomez with a solid combination in the first round, and put him down again with a straight right earlier in the sixth. He then jumped on his opponent, landing two hard combinations that sent the visitor sliding down the ropes toward the floor, bringing the intervention of Brosseau at 1:56 of the round.

Quebec-based Congolese Francy N’tetu remained unbeaten at 5-0 with a majority decision over Martin Desjardins (7-17-4), but he had to survive a scare from the Montreal journeyman to earn his ‘W.’ Desjardins left N’tetu a big hole to climb out of when he decked him with a looping left just before the bell ended the first. Early in the fourth, N’tetu returned the favor, catching Desjardins with a right to the body. Desjardines tried to clinch, but slid to the floor, his arms still draped around N’tetu. It was enough to push him ahead on the scorecards of Gauthier and Procopio, who both scored it 38-36 (as did TSS), while Paquette ruled the right a draw at 37-all.

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BELL CENTRE

Montreal, Quebec

October 15, 2010

SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Lucian Bute, 167 ½, Galati, Romania KO’d Jesse Brinkley, 167 ½, Yerington, Nev. (9) (Retains IBF title)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS: Adrian Diaconu, 176, Ploiesti, Romania dec. Omar Sheika, 175, Paterson, N.J. (10)

Francy Ntetu 170 ½, Kinshasa, Congo dec, Marlin Desjardins, 171 ½, Montreal, Quebec (4)

WELTERWEIGHTS: Ionut Dan Ion 146 ¾, Girgiu, Romania KO’d Andres Pablo Villafane, 146 ½,, San Miguel, Argentina (4)

JUNIOR WELTERS: Pier Olivier Cote, 139 ¾, Charlesbourg, Quebec TKO’d Walter Sergio Gomez, 139, Cafayate, Argentina (6)

LIGHWEIGHTS: Benoit Gaudet, 131 ½, Drummondville, Quebec KO’s Ceferino Dario Labanda, 131 ¾,, Cordoba, Avgentina (6)

BANTAMWEIGHTS: Sebastian Gauthier,117 ½, Saint-Jerome, Quebec dec. Julio David Roque Ler, 117 ½, Cordoba, Argentina (8)