In the super middleweight division, there are many vying for the top spot. Showtime put together a tournament featuring many of those with a claim, and through the chaos that is boxing, it has fallen apart to a great degree. Mikkel Kessler left the tournament with an injury, Jermain Taylor left for safety reasons, and Andre Dirrell left as well, citing medical problems. That leaves only three of the original six in Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, and Andre Ward. The replacements in Glen Johnson and Allan Green are considered mediocrities by comparison to the original six.
Operating outside of the tournament is Lucian Bute, 27-0, 22 KO’s, the current IBF Super Middleweight Champion, and he has been very impressive. The only fight in question in his career was a decision win over Librado Andrade in 2008. Ahead on the cards but totally exhausted, Bute was dropped with only seconds to go in the fight. A long count by the referee saved him and his title. Bute wanted a rematch as much as Andrade.
One year after the first encounter, the two would meet again and an improved Bute would make easy work of Andrade, dropping him with a vicious body shot and ending the fight in the fourth round. He compared it to Lennox Lewis knocking out Hasim Rahman in the rematch, giving the impression that he too believed he was saved by the referee in the first encounter and should have lost.
Whatever the case, he proved his superiority and forged on, stopping Edison Miranda in three and most recently, dominated and destroyed Jesse Brinkley in nine rounds.
Although not a part of the “Super Six,” Bute is considered by many as the best in the 168 pound game, and he’ll have a chance to prove it soon enough. Guys like Kessler and Dirrell will be looking for an opponent when they get back into the game and Bute has a belt and the reputation as the best of the division. Those are two big incentives for either one to jump at if the opportunity arises.
An opponent that has been heavily considered and is nearly a done deal for March is former Middleweight Champion, Kelly Pavlik. At one time, Pavlik sat on top of the sport. His power and heart and likable nature made him one of the more popular fighters in the game, but a lackluster performance en route to a loss to Bernard Hopkins followed by another loss to Sergio Martinez have removed him from the spotlight. A win over Bute would return him to the top, but he has his work cut out for him.
Bute is not the only star out of Canada. There is a fighter on the rise that is creating a huge buzz and is bringing nothing but excitement. His name is David Limieux, a middleweight power-puncher that is making some serious waves as of late.
In his latest fight, he took on Hector Camacho, JR., and although he cannot fill his father’s shoes, Camacho, JR., established himself as a decent fighter with some skills. At the pre-fight press conference, Camacho, JR., showed how he would outbox the aggressive Limieux, something that the Canadian was very amused by, and come fight night, there was a little bit of “Macho Time,” but it didn’t last long.
Limieux knocked Camacho, JR., flat at the end of the first round. A right hand right on the money sent him to dreamland and out of the fight completely. Limieux’s record of 24-0, 23 KO’s, is not an illusion. The man can punch.
Another impressive first round knockout came against Elvin Ayala, a fighter with a 20-4-1, record going in. He went 12 rounds with Arthur Abraham, fought to a draw with Sergio Mora, in a fight that many contend he won, and had typically given whoever he faced a competitive fight. Limieux walked right through him and got the win in the first round.
When you look at the record, 9 of the 23 knockouts have been in the first round, 11 of them in the second, 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th, and 1 in the 5th. He has been taken to the full 10 rounds only once in his career and won every single round in the process. Limieux is closing in on superstardom.
With Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez sitting atop the middleweight division, there is some money to be made at the 160 pound level. Limieux has also fought in the super middleweight division, but seems more comfortable at 160, and there is plenty of opportunity for him.
With names like Andy Lee, Julio Cesar Chavez, JR., and Peter Manfredo, JR., in the division, there is some high profile fights at the next level. He’s already proven that he can take care of the level below with ease. When he makes the move to take on guys like the ones mentioned above, we should have a better idea of how far he will go, but it’s hard not to get excited watching him take out men that are used to being competitive with the best in the game. All indications point to him being a special fighter.
Lucian Bute and David Limieux plan to rule boxing from 160 to 168 and they are both going to be hard men to beat. Bute is an amazing fighter and Limieux is a force that looks impossible to stop. They will bring the boxing fans much excitement in the months and years to come.