For every case of boxing getting it wrong (and there are far too many of these cases), there are cases of boxing getting it right, too. So while fight fans won’t be treated to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, or even Marquez vs. Morales, any time soon, the upcoming battle between Lucian Bute and Carl Froch will be a good scrap between two of the super middleweight division’s elite.
Sure, neither fighter possesses the star power of any of the aforementioned, but in the end that may actually be a good thing.Whereas a guy like Marquez can pick and choose who (or even if ) he fights this summer while he waits around for a fourth shot at Manny Pacquiao, guys like Bute and Froch still have plenty to fight for in their careers. Both have tasted success, and both have aims to stay at the top of their division.
Undefeated IBF titlist Lucian Bute (30-0, 24 KOs) is an enigma thus far in his career. Ask boxing fans on the street, and you’re likely to hear everything from him being a legit top five pound-for-pound type guy to him being a spoiled, protected titlist who won’t be able to win outside his hometown.
Bute appears to be a special fighter. He’s a tall and rangy southpaw with legit power. He’s slick and crafty, able to counterpunch effectively and possesses enough athleticism to make him a tough out for anyone.
For all that, he hasn’t exactly faced the best of the best. His best wins are over tough-but-not-elite guys like Edison Miranda and Librado Andrade.Moreover, as well documented by his detractors, Bute hasn’t really fought anyone who’s anyone off his home turf yet. Bute hasn’t had a fight outside his residence (Canada) or birthplace (Romania) since way back in 2004 when the fledgling fighter was still making a name for himself.
Meanwhile, Carl Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) is almost exactly the opposite.Froch doesn’t possess the physical skills that Bute appears to have, but he’s tough and ballsy enough for it not to matter. Froch is a confident brawler who can jab, counterpunch and just plain fight, and he’s used it to make his mark.
Unlike Bute, Froch has been in with the very best. He’s beaten championship-level opposition like Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham. He’s come up short against Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward, but he’s stepped out of his comfort zone to fight tough fights in other people’s backyards, and he knows what it’s like to face top competition.
Froch believes this has prepared him well for Bute, and he has his doubts about the value of the champion’s own pursuits thus far.
“I don’t think Bute is as good as Ward and I’m not sure he’s as good as Kessler or Andre Dirrell or Jermain Taylor,” he said. “I really don’t, because he’s only fought [guys like] Brian Magee and Glen Johnson.”
Always supremely confident, Froch believes he will be the best fighter Bute has ever faced.
“This is his chance now to go, you know, into the lion’s den to fight somebody who’s proven at world level,” he said. “We’re going to find out next Saturday if he has got enough to mix it at this level.”
Bute seems eager for the challenge. He doesn’t dispute his opponent’s resume is impressive, but he also believes he has the goods to prove himself as one of the best in the division.
“You know we have to look on his resume,” he said. “And obviously he fought the top quality opposition of the super middleweights…we have to give him credit for that….I have to admit that he’s probably the toughest or highest quality opponent I have faced thus far.”
But Bute isn’t ready to concede that he’s been protected. He seems to believe he’s managed his career quite well up to this point, and he knows his chance to show it is this Saturday, across the pond, far away from any semblance of home, against the rough, tough Carl Froch in front of Froch’s raucous hometown crowd in Nottingham.
“I know who I am. I know what I did. And I know what I work. And let’s see what’s going to happen on the 26th.”