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THE POSTFIGHT BREAKDOWN: Bute-Grachev

BY Lee Wylie ON November 03, 2012
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ButeAndrade2 Greenhill 2aHaving just watched the Lucian Bute-Denis Grachev fight, here are some of my observations.

Firstly, I thought the fight was quite close. I don't think Grachev quite did enough to deserve the decision, but I don’t see how anyone could have scored this fight 118-110 in favour of Bute either. To be honest, I wasn't that impressed with Bute. Sure, he boxed well at times against a limited opponent. However, I thought he was looking to land his left uppercut too much which lead to him not throwing the jab enough. This is why Grachev was able to close the distance every time he came forward. Bute should have been circling counter clockwise behind his jab, away from Grachev's right hand and looking to land his straight left. Instead, it was Grachev who always managed to get his lead foot on the outside of Bute's which put him in position to land his trailing power hand.

bute1142012 1

Notice how Grachev’s lead foot is always outside of Bute’s lead foot as he’s throwing the right hand. This is the golden rule when facing a southpaw.

Grachev didn't bother throwing the jab much himself. He didn’t need to. Because Bute was standing side on without using his right hand, Grachev was able to close the distance nearly every time he came forward.

bute1142012 2

Notice how Bute’s right hand is redundant -low and not in any position to defend or attack. A good jab may have blunted Grachev’s advance. Instead, as Grachev comes forward, Bute doesn’t provide any resistance and Grachev can get inside easily without having to throw a jab himself.

Bute spent too much time standing there with his right hand below his waist looking to land his uppercut from behind his right shoulder, obviously in an attempt to disguise the blow.

bute1142012 3

The jab is the most important weapon for any fighter against a pressure fighter. Bute didn’t use it nearly enough.

Bute's best moments finally came in the 12th round, when, you guessed it, he began circling counter clockwise along with throwing his jab and straight left hand.

bute1142012 4

With his back to the ropes, Bute throws a jab, followed by a straight left, before exiting on the blind side of Grachev. This is what Bute should have been doing the whole fight.

More from the 12th round.

Bute throws a right jab followed by a left straight.

bute1142012 5

Denis Grachev isn't a bad fighter at all. Yes, he carries his hands low and he looks rugged at times but he's got a good understanding of positioning and he's also very effective at avoiding shots by moving his head at the last moment as he works his way inside.

bute1142012 6

Notice how Grachev slips a rare Bute jab as he’s looking to close the distance.

Once inside, Grachev throws short, crisp punches. I felt as though Grachev could have gone to the body more when Bute was up on the ropes but apart from that, he did most things pretty well.

I think it's safe to say that Denis Grachev is better than what Bute's handlers had previously thought before the fight.

As for Bute, I'm not so sure. He was too predictable at times with the left uppercut. There were too many periods during the fight when Bute wasn’t using his right hand much at all. I know he's constantly looking for left hand counters, but you can't do that without first being creative with the lead hand, otherwise you run the risk of allowing your opponent to walk you down. Bute should have been setting things up behind his jab along with shoulder and head feints. Apart from the jab, the right hook of Bute didn’t feature enough either. Again, had Bute used his jab more, then he would have not only had a better chance of keeping Grachev from pushing him back, but his left hand counters would have been better disguised also. Maybe it was just me, but I thought Bute seemed like he was lacking in confidence too. In the past his left uppercut has looked like dynamite. Last night, I thought he seemed hesitant in fully committing to the shot as it definitely lacked the speed and snap that it used to have.

Going forwards, there's talk of a rematch with Carl Froch. Being brutally honest, I saw nothing from Bute last night that makes me feel a second fight would look any different from the first. In fact, I'd go as far to say that Froch would likely take Bute out even sooner next time. There's no way Bute will ever be able to hang with Froch if he continues to neglect the jab and throw nothing but left uppercuts without first setting them up. Also, I'm not 100% confident in Bute's punch resistance anymore either. Grachev didn't seem heavy handed to me but every time he landed clean, Bute seemed hurt and headed to the ropes. As we all know, once Bute has his back to the ropes, he doesn't seem to know how to defend well in that position.

Lucian Bute's far from finished as a fighter, but he can no longer be considered among the elite anymore. There are some out there that have never considered Bute among elite. Maybe he's been overrated all along? Looking at his last two fights, this could certainly prove to be the case.

Comment on this article

brownsugar says:

It takes a while get your feet wet after such a devastating loss,.. so a mediocre performance is to be expected against such a game competitor like Grachev.
Bute was actually controlling at least 45-50% of his ring time against Froch. But Froch was able to take full advantage of the 40 - 50 seconds he trapped Bute along the ropes.
I agree with the author... Bute is not ready for Froch.
Froch will be in beast mode if they fight again.

Radam G says:

I've always said that Bute was very, very limited. And as a pro, a protected super-hyped JOB! Danggit! WTF! I feel like a Nostradamus G. Hehe! Holla!

Radam G says:

What da double fudge? Is B-Sug a southpaw or what? 'Cause da cat on da h-bag is straight-up in a lefty-time whup-@$$ pose. What goes? Holla!

brownsugar says:

Naw man,... I practice both sides on the bag. (both sides have to be trained equally)
but ima righty for life. holla.

Radam G says:

Danggit! Lefties are da new right on! At all the top of postivism is a left hander! Even Prez O took down knuckle-headed lefty terrorist Osama. Now I know dat all the lefties in da O-State are voting for the lefty. And most of the righties are going that way. Holla!

Mackenzie says:

I concur with most of what has been said but there seems to be alot of pertinent details that have been left out. 1)Bute was coming back from a devasting loss (that cannot be underpinned or paid lipservice to) 2) He chose a dangerous and underrated fighter in Grachev (who I believe is a very intelligent fighter despite the lack of still to be refined skills) 3)mention was made at the lack of firepower of Bute - well, the fight was at Light heavy. Benn, Eubank and most all fighters lose their power when going up - besides, even if he could carry the weight it was his first bout at that weight. (why the increase in weight?) 4) Butes infighting skills were certainly unappreciated on this and all forums - he had a great deal of balance and harmony with his back to the ropes - why is that? because he wanted to raise/amiliorate his weakness of fighting with his back to the ropes - he was simply great. 5)yes, he took some shots. He took some big shots which to me indicated a great deal of resilience and heart. Granted his defence does need more work.

I would recommend Bute take another fight before Froch. Incidentally Im a Froch fan but also like Bute. He can be arrogant at times and disparaging to his opponents but that is his prerogative. Karma did seem to pay him back some and more (dont laugh at opponents when they lie on the canvas writhing in pain from body shots etc -just go to your corner and wait).
The 12 rounds fight, as gruelling as it was, was absolutely perfect for Bute. I do believe he kind of looked down on Grachev a bit but probably has nothing but respect for him now.
Grachev should not be used as some kind of measuring stick for Bute's comeback, although it was inevitable. We will see alot more of this guy, and kudos from me, a pure boxing fan to someone who came from a MMA background that has adjusted so well.
I didnt like the look/sound of Grachev's corner - frankly they looked like numpties to me.

Radam G says:

I recommend that Bute suck it up, accept that he was a superhype and stay the heck away from a rematch with Froch? Froch will rewhup dat arse. Holla!

ali says:

Bute is officially done sick a fork in him.

JaketheSnake says:

Didn't see the fight but logged in just to say thanks to the author. I've always liked technical articles on boxing websites and have become frustrated by the generic "he needs to pressure his opponent" or "moved quickly behind the jab" comments. It's not easy doing these breakdowns especially when you're using screen captures and full-body features that show the foot positions. I'm a southpaw and getting to that outside position is not as easy as it looks. Righties always seem to know you're going for that foot placement and they try to counter it by either throwing small left hooks or moving/circling to their right and then popping you with the 1-2. Thanks again and more power to Mr. Wylie!

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