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Lucian Bute: Bring on Kelly Pavlik or Anyone Else in Boxing

By Gina L. Caliboso

I was so close in my prediction – I predicted an 8th round KO and French Canadian fighter (by way of Romania) Lucian “Le Tombeur” Bute defeated Brinkley with a 9th round KO.

Do I know my favorite fighter or what?

Could it be this combat sports reporter may actually have some insight into the 168-lb division that has had more drama than my love life? There isn’t much happening by the way – so it wouldn’t be too difficult. Nonetheless, as I faithfully look at the rankings within the super middleweight division, I am excited. Once the drama and curse of the Super 6 completes itself going into 2011, Bute will and should have his pick of fighters.

Back in October 2007, Bute first earned the IBF Super Middleweight belt when he defeated Alejandro Berrio with an 11th round TKO. Since then, tough man Librado Andrade has been the only fighter to come close to taking Bute’s belt away. In their first bout, Andrade lost in a 12 round unanimous decision. But again, Bute nearly lost it in the closing rounds. Fortunately, Bute held on to win. After this initial bout, Bute continued to defend his belt and with little challenge.

After his initial fight against Berrio, he fought against talented William Joppy and defeated him with a 10th round TKO, followed by the win over Andrade. Bute then fought against Fulgencio Zuniga and came away with a 4th round TKO.

In November 2009, Bute went on to face Andrade again and Bute did not waste any time. With each fight following his first win over Andrade, Bute kept getting better and more methodical in his victories. Against Andrade for the second time, Bute defeated him with a 4th round KO – a beautifully executed upper cut to the body. This signature shot of Bute is sheer beauty really – even as a southpaw.

Bute has had two bouts this year. Even as the Super 6 fighters have unraveled in the match-ups, Bute remained safely undefeated in Canada. In April 2010, he fought against Edison Miranda and defeated the power-puncher with a 3rd round TKO. This past fight, Bute defeated Brinkley with a 9th round KO.

But now, let’s get a picture as to who Bute should fight. Or rather, who must Bute fight to become the undisputed super championship title holder in the super middleweight division?

Right now, as my Editor Geno pointed out in his recap of Bute’s most recent fight against Brinkley, it could possibly mean a showdown with Kelly “Ghost” Pavlik, 36-2, 32 KO’s. Because I thought Pavlik just went MIA after his loss to Sergio Martinez, I was surprised to see that the boxer from Ohio is set to fight on the Pacquiao – Margarito undercard against Bryan Vera.

Should Pavlik easily defeat Vera, he may consider setting up a fight with Bute. Sadly, it would be a sort of comeback for Pavlik as well as an opportunity for Bute to step out of Canada and fight against a big name as Pavlik.

I’ll mention the obvious – the fighters from the Super 6 tournament.

Since Andre Dirrell has recently pulled out due to injury, the likely Bute opponent should definitely be Andre Ward. It would be a great fight between the two best fighters of the division. Much like Bute, the Oakland, California, fighter would be a great matchup for the southpaw. Ward is tactical and powerful in his bouts. He doesn’t back down from his opponent and he solidly stands toe to toe with his opponents.

The Viking Warrior Mikkel Kessler is also out of the tournament due to injury. Kessler would definitely be a good matchup as well. Armenian fighter Arthur Abraham would be a great opponent for Bute. Even as he had the puzzled look of DQ against Dirrell, I like Abraham as a sheer brawler. He took the fight away from Jermain Taylor in the closing seconds of the 12th and final round. It would be a similar type of fight for Bute in his matches against Librado Andrade.

There is also one other thought for Bute. Even though my article starts with Bute as the leader of the 168-lb division, there is one other thing for him to do. Bute can move up to light heavyweight – a 5 to 6 pound weight gain – and it’s not without possibility.

When fellow Canadian fighter Jean Pascal fought against Bad Chad Dawson back in August, Lucian Bute was seen in the audience and a commentator mentioned the possibility of Pascal as a future opponent. Pascal is set to fight against wily veteran Bernard “Executioner” Hopkins in defense of his WBC Light heavyweight title. Pascal certainly hasn’t wasted any time on getting big bouts to defend his belt. However, I will argue that Hopkins may be a veteran, but it’s precisely for that reason he is still a draw. I doubt Hopkins would take a fight unless it was in his favor to win.

As for Bute, I still question why he continues to fight safely within Canada. I am not questioning Bute’s victories by KO or TKO. As Dirrell and Ward have earned recognition by their participation in the Super 6, I think Bute needs to step out of the safety of his hometown and fight in a bigger venue such as Las Vegas. I cannot say enough good things about the Canadian champion. But really, in order to legitimize his record and establish his championship caliber boxing, he needs to take a risk and fight outside Canada, preferably in the United States.

By all means, as the number one super middleweight and the current IBF titleholder, he has earned that right to fight wherever he chooses. If Bute continues to fight as well as he has in the past 3 years, there’s no doubt, whether here or in Canada, he’ll come out as the victor. The stakes are higher in Vegas and the amount of money will be bigger obviously. As we wait for the remaining fighters in his division (meaning the Super 6 participants), Bute will remain, just waiting, and he should just be ready for anyone.

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