BUTE VS. WARD
Long time, no write. Been enjoying your work at RingTV as much as I did back in the days of Maxboxing and before (can’t even remember the name of your first site now).
So Andre Ward has looked recently like you’d need a shotgun to really get through his defense and phase him. (Honestly, has he ever been really buzzed that you know of?) However, Lucian Bute has two really unusual weapons: he routinely throws knockout blows to the body and can end fights with that tight little uppercut. Do you think Ward’s D will smother that too, or is he going to get touched if he squares off against Bute? — Patrick
Ward may very well be able to neutralize the strengths of any of his potential super middleweight rivals with his Hopkinsesque style, but in Bute he’ll be facing a fellow smart boxer with comparable athleticism, reflexes and hand-eye coordination. So I don’t think the 2004 Olympic champ will be able to dominate the Quebec star the way he did against Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green.
Bute may finally be out jabbed by Ward, but his constant head- and upper-body movement will prevent the American from controlling the bout with his left stick. And as you stated, the southpaw veteran’s punishing body attack and deadly accurate left uppercuts will make him a threat for the duration of the bout.
I know Ward has looked extremely resilient in recent bouts, but make no mistake, the Bay Area Badass can be hurt. He was buzzed a few times early in his career (seriously rocked his second pro bout against Kenny Kost, which was televised on Fox Sports Net, and he was dropped by journeyman Darnell Boone in his seventh pro bout).
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Ward cannot afford to look past Arthur Abraham (and he won’t) and he’ll get a stern challenge from the Froch-Johnson winner.
Bute will have his quick hands full with Kessler if that fight takes place next.
By the way, my first website, which I co-founded with Gary Randall and ran with the all-star editorial cast of Michael Katz, Thomas Hauser, Tom Gerbasi and Steve Kim, was called Houseofboxing.com. The 2000 version of HOB is still the best boxing website of all time in my not-so humble opinion.
BEAT THE DRUMS FOR BUTE-MARTINEZ
I think Bute-Martinez is a potential super fight in a year or two. Right now both fighters have commitments to competing networks. Bute has two bouts left on his deal with Showtime and HBO has already set aside two more dates for Martinez this year.
I think it’s fine if this dream match marinates for 12-18 months. Neither Bute nor Martinez is known beyond the hardcore fan in the U.S. If their fight is to one day take place in front of a large American audience both guys need to continue to raise their profiles in the States. If Bute beats Kessler and the winner of the Super Six in his next two bouts he’ll become a pound-for-pound player and significantly up his “Q rating” among American fans. And Martinez, who is a P4P player but isn’t an attraction anywhere the way Bute is in Quebec, could use a couple more showcase bouts.
If they can keep winning into 2012 I think they could make for a fascinating middleweight champ vs. super middleweight champ showdown.
1) I’ll leave it to the other fans to speculate on the Vitali Klitschko/Odlanier Solis debacle. I’d like your thoughts on something else– the boxing debut of EPIX. First, and certainly foremost, I am very excited that another premium television channel is incorporating boxing into their lineup. You can’t go wrong with that, and I’m sure fight fans are excited as well. Now, what did you think of the broadcast team? I thought the pre-fight discussions dragged a bit, with it seeming like an extended Lennox Lewis interview. On top of that, we were treated to an undercard bout that involved a fighter who probably has been on his couch for a long period of time; his mid-section was something to behold. The most entertaining part of that fight was hearing Lennox Lewis’ frequent comments about the man’s gut.
2) Your suggestion of calling Lucian Bute “the body snatcher” is dead-on. Although the fight ended with an uppercut to the chin, Bute was unloading vicious body shots throughout the bout with Brian Magee. Impressive work. Where do you rank Bute among the best of the body-punchers today?
3) Let me know if you agree with some insight that I had while watching Bute take on Magee… The ref seemed to wanted the fighters to “punch out” whenever they were close to each other or clinching. Neither fighter seemed interested in doing so, much to the frustration of the ref. (This guy is another story with his Arthur Mercante Jr.-like commentary during the fight. If only there were more Kenny Baylesses out there…) Lucian didn’t seem to want to do any “in-fighting” at all. That made me think what would happen if (or when) he will eventually get in the ring with some of the other top 168 pounders that are tied up in the Super Six, namely Andre Ward. This made me conjure up memories of Ward-Green and Ward-Bika; the former where Andre bullied and beat-up Allan Green up close, and the latter in which Ward out-muscled a very strong Sakio Bika on the inside. The combination of Ward’s speed and toughness would, in my opinion, give Lucian fits on the inside.
Alright, Doug. I’ve been shouting you and Mike out in the message boards. Boxing is the best sport in the world, and I appreciate what you guys at RingTV do on a day-to-day basis. Keep up the good work, and be well. — Besim Mehmedovic, Staten Island, New York
Thanks for the shout outs and the kind words, Besim. It’s appreciated.
I’ll comment on your three points in order:
1) I enjoyed the commentary team that Epix put together for Klitschko-Solis. It was a bit understated but I prefer understated commentary to the loud, over-the-top broadcast style we usually get with pro sports. I liked the balance of the broadcast booth: Epix had a competent host in Sam Rosen, a veteran pro sports broadcaster; a knowledgeable boxing guy with color commentary experience in Tony Paige; and of course, the champ, Lennox Lewis, as the expert, the dude who has been in the ring. The fight didn’t go long enough to get grasp of Rosen’s play-by-play/blow-by-blow skills but he was a good host. Paige did a good job of extracting Lewis’ considerable ring knowledge before, during and after the abbreviated broadcast. I hope we get to see and hear more from this trio.
2) Mike McCallum has been retired for about 10 years now, I don’t think he’d mind if Bute borrows his old nickname for a years. I knew Bute’s body shots would be his key to stopping Magee. I think the Romanian southpaw is probably the best body puncher in the sport. Who else has scored one-punch body shot knockouts as he did against Zuniga and Andrade (in the rematch)? Who else routinely softens up his foes with single lefts to the body before blasting them with uppercuts as Bute did with Brinkley and Magee?
3)I agree that Ward has the strengths and style to give Bute fits on the inside, but Romanian won’t stand around and let the American charge his way in like a Billy goat wearing boxing gloves. Bute’s lateral movement will present Ward with a challenge the young titleholder’s recent foes couldn’t offer.
DAS BUTE AND ‘OD’ ENDINGS
Obviously this raises a top five question: What are the top five weird (yet legit) fight endings you know of? I mean, does Kermit Cintron’s flop out of the ring count as a legitimate KO due to a punch?
Lastly, although there is some question to Mikkel Kessler’s speedy eye recovery, I loved his addition to the broadcast AND the fact that he seemed ready, willing and able to fight Lucian Bute. To top it off with “absolutely, I’ll kick his ass anywhere” will certainly drum up some interest in that fight and downplay any fallout from the Super Six withdraw. Still think Bute wins though. Same crafty fashion as Andre Ward did. — JB
I also favor Bute against Kessler but that’s a fight I’d like to see because I think the Dane’s size, experience, power-jab and careful aggression can give the undefeated belt holder a proper challenge.
My Top Five weird endings? Hmmm. I’ve seen a few as a fan and covered a couple as a writer and I have to say that the ending to the Williams-Cintron fight last year probably ranks with the strangest I’ve witnessed.
That dive out of the ring was bizarre, especially when you consider that “the Kerminator” had just rocked P-Will a moment earlier. However, while it may have been a legit ending to the bout, it certainly wasn’t a KO. Cintron could have got up but California’s commissioners and ringside docs didn’t want to let him, which isn’t to say that he really wanted to get up, but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened in a bygone era when ringsiders probably would have hoisted him back up to the ring and literally pushed him back into the fight (as members of press row did to Jack Dempsey during his fight with Luis Firpo).
Anyway Williams’ weird 4-round technical decision over Cintron can serve as my No. 5.
4. Tomas Molinares’s slightly late one-punch KO of then-welterweight titleholder Marlon Starling a little after the end of the sixth round in 1988. Two things made that fight strange: A) it was clear that the punch that ended it had been launched and landed after the bell but it was still ruled as a legal shot by Mr. Not-so-Fair-or-Firm Joe Cortez, and B) Starling was knocked so loopy he didn’t even know he had been stopped. The official verdict was later changed from a KO victory for Molinares to a No Contest after HBO’s replays were studied by the New Jersey commission.
3. The seven-round technical draw between Prince Charles Williams and Merqui Sosa in 1995. This ESPN-televised light heavyweight slugfest was stopped between rounds after the ringside physician visited both corners and determined that NEITHER fighter was fit to continue. It was like a double TKO!
I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. If memory serves me the fight was originally ruled a No Contest, but I see that Boxrec.com has it listed as a Technical Draw. Regardless of the official outcome it was just plain freaky watching it on TV. (And of course, this being boxing, Sosa and Williams fought again five months later and beat each other up MUCH worse. Sosa laid Williams out in the 10th and started crying in the ring when the former champ didn’t get up after a few minutes. The poor guy thought he killed the former champ. The s__t that fighters put themselves through — and that we LET them put themselves through — never ceases to amaze me.)
2. Oliver McCall’s emotional breakdown against Lewis in their rematch in 1997. I’ll never forget Lewis’ reaction to McCall’s whimpering and unwillingness to fight back. He wasn’t sure if he could believe what he was seeing, which how I felt as a fan. I kept thinking that McCall, who was often hyper-emotional just before his fights (sometimes even during the fighter introductions), was either playing possum or was going to snap out of it and attack Lewis. It never happened and referee Mills Lane had no choice but to halt the bout in the fifth round. I tell you what, that’s the only time that iron-chinned S.O.B. is ever going to lose a fight inside the distance. Even when in in emotional distress, the Atomic Bull could take a shot. If I do a Top Five chins, McCall will be on that list.
1. The Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson rematch in 1997 takes the MF’n cake. It was shocking and totally surreal. Tyson‘s ear biting stunt honestly put me into a stupor. I felt like I was as stoned as the diehard Tyson fans I watched the fight with were. (I was at a rather ghetto PPV party for that rematch. I watched most of Tyson‘s post-prison fights at the homes of my Southern California relatives who used to be gangsters.) I remember leaping to my feet from the black leather sofa and shouting out loud “That f__ker! He just threw away his legacy! He’ll never get into the hall of fame now.” To my surprise, my outburst brought about a momentary silence in the house. Then a young lady who excitedly chanted “Mike’s a pit-bull!” during the ring introductions muttered “I told you he was pit-bull.”
FIVE MOST CRUNCHING BODY SHOTS
How you feeling now? Sick to your stomach again after the putrid Klitchko-Solis farce? Well on the bright side at least we didn’t get another 12 rounds of jab and grab crap. The misery ended early this time. And thankfully we had Lucian Bute to make up for what a tri-zillion viewers and writers will be referring as yet another big ugly shiner for boxing. Nothing we haven’t heard the last 1000 times already. So I’ll just concentrate on the good stuff that happened and will hopefully happen later in the year. Plus a top 5.
Lucian Bute. This guy is indeed a true body-basher. Word is that Andrade and Zuniga were both squirming on the floor clutching their bread-baskets after Bute was done tenderizing Magee’s midsection. Watch the same thing happen to Mikkel Kessler. Remember, Kessler was nearly stopped by Joe Calzaghe’s body-shots, and Calzaghe’s clearly not the puncher Bute is. Bute will indeed have his hands full with Andre Ward but I still think Bute’s ring-generalship, boxing skills and punching power will beat Ward handily.
Klitschko-Haye/Adamek. Hopefully a Klitschko will indeed fight either Haye or Adamek. I know Haye has been a real nuisanse since moving up to but I’ll like to see him remove one of the ”Bi-Beasts” heads and leave us with a “one-headed” heavyweight champion once again. Haye already has done us a huge favour by ridding us of the human strait-jacket known as John Ruiz so here’s hoping he can pull a big upset by beating down half of the Klitschko Bi-Beast. And if Haye can’t do it then maybe a tougher guy like Adamek will be up for the job. One thing for certain is that Adamek won’t punk out or pull a bum knee act in the first round. Or any round really.
And now to honour Bute’s body-crunching kayoes lets countdown the 5 most bone-crunching boby-shot kayoes of all time.
5) Robert Duran-Ken Buchannon. Duran performs the most infamous castration in boxing.
4) Tony Zale-Rocky Graziano. Tony takes a real pounding but saves himself with one thunderous body-shot.
3) Zale-Graziano III. Body-snatcher Zale proves who’s boss once and for all.
2) Roy Jones-Virgil Hill. Vintage Jones as he nearly breaks Hill in half with a massive right hook to the ribs
1) Rob Fitzsimmons-James Corbett. Fitts lands his famous solar-plexus punch. End of fight.
Well I’m starting to feel sore around the midsection myself Dougie, so I’ll call it a wrap up. Have a good one. — Todd Johnson, Orillia, Canada
That’s a nice Top Five list. The Jones-Hill KO is one of the best I’ve seen along with Genaro Hernandez’s eighth-round KO of Raul Perez (rematch). It doesn’t say anything about the nature of knockout on Boxrec.com, but take it from someone who stayed up ’til about 3 a.m. to watch it on the old Prime Ticket network in Springfield, Missouri, “Chicanito” landed a body shot that literally paralyzed Perez, a very underrated two-division titleholder from Mexico. The fight, which took place at the Great Western Forum, happened in June of 1993. It was right after grad school and just before I drove out to L.A. The Mexican style in which Hernandez and Perez fought (forehead-to-forehead but technically sharp in their infighting) and the atmosphere of the Forum that I gathered from that broadcast made me promise myself that I would get my butt inside that arena to witness a live prize fight once I was settled in Southern Cali.
I didn’t care for the Klitschko-Solis matchup so the abbreviated ending didn’t bother me at all. However, I will take interest in Haye and Adamek’s challenge to one of Klitschko brothers’ later in the year. With Haye I just want to see him back his mouth up in the ring, and with Adamek, I just want to root for the polish hero. He’s one of my favorite active fighters. I don’t favor either challenger against either Klitschko, but maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll fight each other next year.
I’ll have to re-watch the Calzaghe-Kessler fight. I don’t recall Joe getting to Kessler with a body attack. I’m not so sure that Bute hits harder than “Cal-slappy” but I know that he turns his punches over better than the former champ did.
NOT DRINKING BUTE-AIDE
Sorry. Not drinking the Bute-Kool-Aid. I fail to see how he could be rated 2nd by The Ring in the division, not to mention the absurdity of his temporary numero uno spot a while back. The guys in the Super Six have been fighting each other, the best in their division, in super tough, competitive fights. Bute’s string of victims? C’mon man! Bute’s last several opponents have one thing in common – all right there to be hit, significant skill and size disadvantage, save for Andrade on the size. All along I’ve thought Bute’s been pulling a Floyd and waiting for all the top guys to beat each other up and suffer significant wear and tear.
Congrats to Magee, he gave it his best and really earned his supper Saturday night. He also further exposed something in Bute – when he gets hit by something even semi-decent, his discomfort is noticeable.
In closing…one of the very few things I miss about the 90’s were the multitude of exciting heavyweight match-ups.
— Ronnie The Conqueror, St. Louis, MO
My top five 1990s heavyweights are Holyfield, Bowe, Lewis, Mercer, and the good ole “Duke” Morrison, who always delivered entertainment (except for maybe the Foreman fight). I know most fans would have Tyson in that five but I wasn’t an Iron Mike fan post-Spinks. I was glad Buster Douglas beat him and I didn’t expect much from him in the 1990s, although his two fights with Razor Rudduck in ‘91 were impressive.
Anyway here’s my call on your ‘90s matchups:
Tyson/Morrison — Tyson via third-round TKO in a wild shootout that features four or five knockdowns. Tyson, who is dropped twice and almost stopped in the first round, looks to get himself DQ’d in the second by landing repeated low blows but notices that Morrison is out of gas at the start of the third and digs deep to keep his ghetto pass by not losing to a white fighter. His pet right-to-the-ribs-right uppercut combo puts Tommy away midway through the round.
So you’re not a fan of Bute’s, huh? That’s OK. The great thing about his planned schedule is that we’ll know for sure if he’s for real or not by the end of this year.
Regarding THE RING’s super middleweight rating of the Romanian, where would you rank him? If he’s not No. 2, who is? Carl Froch, who was trailing against a faded Jermain Taylor and was lucky to get his decision over Andre Dirrell? Mikkel Kessler, who lost every minute of every round against a bona fide prospect (at the time) in Andre Ward? Yeah, Kessler looked good against Froch but he hasn’t fought since last April.
And if you do think Kessler, who the magazine ranks No. 4, should be ahead of Bute, they might settle it in the ring this summer. Be sure to email me with your thoughts after that fight.
THE STAY PUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN
Hi ya Dougie
Wlad vs Haye, if Haye does his RJJ he get’s brutally KO’d or losses a boring decision if he can do his best Joe Frazier or Dwight Muhammad Qawi he has got a chance a very very very slim chance. Whats your prediction for this fight?
Hopefully a challenge is next for Rigondeaux, but unfortunately there aren’t many out there for him at 122 pounds. I think Toshiaki Nishioki can give him a fight but I don’t see that bout ever coming off. Perhaps Rigondeaux’s management can force a showdown with WBA beltholder Akifumi Shimoda (as the Cuban holds the WBA’s “interim” belt). Others I’d like to see Rigondeaux fight include Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (no, I don’t give Jorge Arce any shot in that fight), Neomar Cermeno, and the winner of Saturday’s Teonn Kennedy-Jorge Diaz bout.
Cunningham has the height and reach of a heavyweight but not the chin. Don’t forget that a weight-drained Adamek put him down three times in a cruiserweight bout. There was nothing fluky about those knockdowns. Cunningham got up and still almost won the fight, so there’s no questioning his heart. I have no doubt that there are many heavyweights that he CAN beat, but the K-Brothers are not among them.
I agree with your take on Solis’ knee 100 percent. Solis did himself (and his bum knee) no favors by weighing 10-30 pounds over his natural fighting weight, which should have always been around 240 on the dot, and now his career could be over after laying a huge egg in what should have been the biggest opportunity of his pro career.