Michael Rosenthal and Doug Fischer

RING PASS: Comprehensive preview of Bute vs. Magee

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BRIAN MAGEE

THE ESSENTIALS

Age: 35

Height: 6-0 (183cm) / 74 (188cm)

Stance: Southpaw

Hometown: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Nickname: None

Turned pro: 1999

Record: 34-3-1 (24 knockouts)

Trainer: Bernardo Checo

The Ring rating: None

Titles: None.

Biggest victories: Ramon Arturo Britez, Dec. 10, 2001, KO 1; Stevie McGuire, Dec. 13, 2008, KO 8 (British title); Mads Larsen, Jan. 30, 2010, TKO 7 (European title).

Losses: Robin Reid, June 26, 2004, UD; Vitali Tsypko, July 16, 2005, SD; Carl Froch, May 26, 2006, KO 11.

altBiography: The one characteristic all fighters from Ireland seem to bring into the ring is toughness. Brian Magee has that quality – and much more.

The Northern Ireland native had a solid amateur background. He represented his country in the 1996 Olympics, winning two fights before he was eliminated. He went on to win a bronze medal in the 1998 Commonwealth Games and a silver at the European Championships the same year.

Magee turned pro in 1999 with tools he needed to succeed, refined skills, knockout power and an already-sizable following because of his Olympic exposure.

Thus, no one was surprised when he built himself into a super middleweight contender by winning his first 22 fights (16 by knockout). The people of Northern Ireland were pretty certain they had a champion in the midst at that point.

Then he ran into some trouble, specifically experienced former titleholder Robin Reid in 2004. Magee acquitted himself well in one respect, winning a number of rounds, but he went down four times and lost a unanimous decision.

Magee would lose twice more (to Vitali Tsypko and Carl Froch) and fight to a draw (against Tony Oakey) for British and European titles, which hindered his chances of fighting for a world title, but he refused to give up.

His persistence finally paid off in 2008, when he stopped Stevie McGuire of Scotland in eight rounds to win the vacant British 168-pound title in Essex. He then stopped Mads Larsen in seven rounds to win the European super middleweight title in January of last year and remove any doubt as to whether he is a legitimate world title contender.

Magee (34-3-1, 24 knockouts) finally received his opportunity to realize his dream of fighting for a major belt when IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute agreed to fight him Saturday in Montreal, Bute’s adopted hometown.

He is a long shot to become the first Irishman since Steve Collins in the mid-1990s to win a 168-pound belt. However, as he proved by absorbing disappointments and then realizing his goals, Magee can never be counted out.

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