This Saturday in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the IBF Super Middleweight Champion, Lucian Bute, 26-0, 21 KO’s, takes on the challenge of Jesse Brinkley, 35-5, 22 KO’s. Bute is the best 168 pounder not included in the super six tournament and is, arguably, the best 168 pounder, period. His recent spree of opponents left him mangled heaps lend credibility to those that consider him the best in the game at super middleweight.
Bute is a southpaw with power and continues to improve in the ring. He is undefeated but has come close to losing on one occasion when he faced Librado Andrade in 2008. Bute controlled the action in the ring but tired and was caught at the end of the final round. A long count and some help from a local referee kept his undefeated record in tact. The preferential treatment didn’t sit well with Bute and after another title defense, he would rematch Andrade.
The rematch was definitive and Bute not only dominated but he put serious hurt on the challenger, dropping him with a body shot in round four and finishing him off in that same round. He stated that he felt like Lennox Lewis after his rematch with Hasim Rahman. For the record, Bute won both fights with Andrade, but obviously even he had his problems with the officiating that night.
In his last defense, he took on Edison Miranda and after three rounds, took out Edison Miranda. Now he faces off with former “Contender” star, Jesse Brinkley, the big underdog going into Saturday’s fight.
Brinkley came onto the Contender reality series as the power-puncher and he does have a punch. He didn’t do well with those with boxing ability, however, like Alfonso Gomez (L-UD) and Sergio Mora (L-UD). He would later be stopped by Joe Spina (TKO-11) and Robin Reid would beat him as well (UD-8). Brinkley has had some ups and downs in his career, but he’s currently on an upswing, putting together nine straight wins, five of which by knockout.
The majority of his recent wins have been against decent opposition. He defeated Otis Griffin (TKO-11), Joey Gilbert (UD-12), and most recently and most impressively, beat up Curtis Stevens over the course of 12 rounds (UD-12), earning this title opportunity. Brinkley mixes some movement with aggression and will attempt to implement this as he faces off against Bute. The problem may be the different level of class that he will be facing in Canada.
Lucian Bute, if he underestimates Brinkley, could be in for a surprise. If he’s tired late in the fight, if it should go that long, Brinkley will attack and try to win by stoppage and that will be the plan. The plan has to be to be careful early and come on midway through the fight en route to a late stoppage or convincing decision. It worked with Stevens, but it won’t be as easy with Bute.
It’s a mismatch on paper, but Brinkley has earned the shot. He’s proven to be a real “Contender,” and now he has to see if he has what it takes to upset one of the best fighters in the game today. It should be interesting.