Lucian Bute needs to seek out the best and the brightest at 168 pounds before he becomes a lock for pundits' pound for pound top twenty (and above) lists. But if he keeps banging to the body like he did against Brian Magee in the main event in Montreal on Saturday night, Bute will have a solid chance at getting his reputation to that next level.
His vicious body shots had Magee, game but underskilled compared to the IBF super middleweight champion, down once in the sixth, twice in the seventh, and Bute ended the session with a left uppercut to the chin in round ten. The ref stopped the scrap after the last knockdown, at 2:04, as he felt Magee's insides had been rearranged enough and he'd simply taken enough punishment for the night.
Bute, who took a few rounds to get comfortable against the fellow lefty, boasted a 138-324 to 111-387 edge in punches. The winner told Jim Gray that Magee was tougher than he expected. "This guy was very, very tough." He said that he knew a body attack was key after four rounds. Bute said he'd have to be busier, "let my arms go" in the future. A fight with Mikkel Kessler sounds good to him, if Kessler is healthy, and that he likes Froch and Ward in the Super Six finale.
Bute (27-0 entering; age 31; born in Romania; lives in Montreal) was 167 1/2 pounds and the 12-to-1 underdog Magee (34-3 entering; ex European 168 pound champion; age 35; from Ireland ) was 167 3/4 pounds at the weigh in Friday.
In the first, both lefties started fast. Bute caught Magee with a right hook midway through. The Irishman looked to clinch a few times, and didn't look fully in the flow strategy-wise in the first frame.
In the second, ref Pete Podgorski told Mac to stop grabbing. He didn't comply. Bute was letting Magee establish the tone of the bout too much for his corner's liking.
In the third, a counter right worked for Magee. A left hand landed flush on Bute with a minute left, and again fifteen seconds later.
In the fourth, Magee got caught lunging, and paid. Bute perhaps would've had some luck keeping Magee off him with a more frequent jab, but that's just not his style.
In the fifth, Bute got a bit busier. In the sixth, a left to the body, followed by a helpful cuff with his right hand, had Magee down. He was up quickly. Bute liked the crowd getting jazzed, and bore in. In the seventh, a left to the gut felled Magee with 20 seconds remaining. That was seen as a low blow, but it was a clean, evil shot. Right after, another body punch put him down.
In the eighth, Magee tried to get himself out of the deep end. But Bute's superior skills, by now, just had him far and away ahead of the less skilled Irishman.
In the ninth, Magee held tough, credit must go to him. In round ten, the ref just saw enough, after another shot sent Magee to the floor, this one a left hand from down under to the chin.
Al Bernstein of boxingchannel.com chatted with 43-2 Kessler, who said he started training six weeks ago, and that he'll start sparring in about three weeks. Kessler was on the shelf, and out of the Super Six tourney, since last summer because he was diagnosed with a weak muscle in his left eye. Kessler exited the tourney after beating Carl Froch UD12 in April 2010, after being beaten by Andre Ward (TD11) in November 2009.
FOLLOW WOODS ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/#!/Woodsy1069
Who Should Floyd Mayweather fight next: