Even from his training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., Lucian Bute can already hear the partisan fans at Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England, cheering from ringside for their hometown challenger, Carl Froch.
“We’ve created a sound editing of the ambience in Nottingham with previous fights of Carl Froch and soccer games in England,” said David Messier, a publicist for Bute.
“We have included the wife of Carl Froch. At each training session, [trainer] Stephan [Larouche] plays the sound clip in the gym for Lucian to be well-prepared.”
Bute won’t face Froch until May 26, but that hasn’t kept the IBF super middleweight titleholder from imagining what it will be like to perform in front of his adversary’s enthusiastic supporters.
“While training, we recreate the atmosphere of what we expect to hear at the Capital FM Arena of Nottingham. I can’t hear the bell and I can’t even hear my coach talking to me. On May 26, I will be ready to face not only Carl Froch but also the hostile atmosphere of Froch’s fans,” said Bute.
“My team takes me out of my comfort zone every training session. In the coming weeks I will work extra at the gym and during sparring. I am training for a 12 round war so I am sure to have all the energy required to fight Carl Froch in his hometown.”
Replicating the hostile atmosphere has been critical to Bute’s psyche.
“This training camp is much like every other,” said Larouche. “However, the psychological preparation is different. We started this camp as if we were the challenger. On the evening of May 26 in Nottingham, Lucian will have to play the spoiler. Most of the fans in attendance will be against him.”
“Nobody there other than a few fans will want him to win. This is the first time that Lucian will live this experience. Lucian will have to work harder than he does for his fights in Quebec and if he does, at the end of the evening, he will be the hero of the crowd.”
Bute (30-0, 24 knockouts), who was born in Romania but recently became a Canadian citizen, will make the 10th defense of his crown against Froch (28-2, 20 KOs), whose last appearance in his home town was in defeating Andre Dirrell by split-decision in the first round of Showtime’s Super Six Super Middleweight Boxing Classic in October of 2009.
“By saying yes to fight Carl Froch in his home town, I’m showing the world that I can fight anybody anywhere. I expect a tough fight,” said Bute.
“I’m working harder at the gym to be ready physically and mentally. I’m really looking forward to defend my title for the 10th time. It’s going to be an amazing experience.”
Froch has made it known that in his opnion Bute never was good enough to be involved in the Super Six, pointing to the fact that other than once in his native Romania, Bute has never made a title defense outside of Canada.
Froch also used Bute’s controversial win over Librado Andrade in October of 2008 to accuse him of getting special treatment from Canadian officials. Although Bute won the rematch with Andrade by fourth-round knockout in November of 2009, he had benefited from a long 10-count in their initial bout, allowing him to rise from a knockdown and avoid being counted out.
Those remarks from Froch aroused the competitor in Bute, who has channeled his ire into intense workouts.
“I started my training camp about seven weeks ago, and now with just under five weeks remaining, my training going very well. I am exactly where I should be. The sparring is started too,” said Bute.
“I have good sparring partners and I’m satisfied. My objective is to win the fight and stay world champion. I don’t target the KO, but if it comes, I will jump all over it. A KO would be a terrific ending to my fight.”
And difficult to accomplish against the rugged Froch, who claims among his victories decisions over ex-world titleholders Glen Johnson, Arthur Abraham and Jean Pascal, and a 12th-round knockout of Jermain Taylor. His two losses came by unanimous decisions against two-time beltholder Mikkel Kessler and RING champion Andre Ward, both in the Super Six.
“Carl Froch has many strengths and we have to neutralize them all, as Andre Ward did last December. Froch has an awkward style. Lucian should expect to be hit from unconventional angles: From below, sideways, etc. Rest assured we are training to adapt to all situations,” said Larouche.
“We fully expect Lucian to experience some discomfort on May 26. Fighting in England will be difficult for him. Winning in Europe as the opposing boxer almost never happens. We recognize we have a huge challenge in front of us, but we do have a huge advantage: We are the champion.”
Photo by Lawrence Lustig
Photo by Mike Greenhill/FightWireImages.com
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com