IBF super middleweight holder Lucian Bute admits he has swapped Montreal for Nottingham this weekend to cement his reputation among the sport’s elite.
That might seem strange given the Canada-based Romanian, who faces Carl Froch in the Englishman’s own backyard on Saturday, boasts a perfect 30-fight career record, including nine defenses of the belt he won four-and-a half years ago.
He is also THE RING’s No.1 at 168 pounds, behind the magazine’s champion and WBA/WBC holder Andre Ward.
But as Froch (28-2, 20 knockouts) has been pointing out throughout the build up to the anticipated showdown at the 9,000-capacity FM Arena, Bute (30-0, 24 KOs) rarely fights outside Quebec and even more rarely against world-class opposition.
Therein lies the reason Bute finally decided to showcase his undoubted talents on the road – versus classy two-time beltholder Froch, who loves nothing more than to mix it with the very best in the division.
“I have come to face him for my credibility. I need to do that,” 32-year-old Bute said on Sky Sports. “My dream is to enter boxing’s Hall of Fame. I want to defy my critics and prove I am a real champion. I want to be remembered as someone who did something important for boxing.
“It will be a very special fight against Froch and everyone will love it. I know he‘ll have all the support of his people in Nottingham but, once we’re in the ring, it’s just me and him. No trainers, no family. Only the two of us.
“And in my head it‘s totally clear. I want to win every round in there, retain my title and bring it back to Canada. Then I want to unify the titles.”
You would never have guessed at a sun-drenched outdoor weigh-in, on Friday, Bute was on foreign soil as he was cheered to the scales by a loud, flag-waving Romanian contingent. He came in at 167.12 pounds, Froch 167.5 pounds.
And the good news for Bute’s supporters is his foot infection, which flared up earlier this month and put the fight in jeopardy, has cleared completely.
“It happened when he was sparring. We thought it was a blister but when we looked, it was really bad and red. It went right up the foot. And then it exploded,” said his trainer Stephan Larouche. “The doctor thought there was no way he’d be able to fight this soon. But he’s been on antibiotics and everything’s fine. It’s not a problem.”
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