Nobody in Lucian Bute’s camp can say whether a rematch against Carl Froch is a plausible prospect, or even a half-decent idea.
Utterly shell-shocked might be the most appropriate description of the mood and atmosphere within the Canada-based Romanian’s dressing room at the FM Arena in Nottingham, very early Sunday morning, after he tasted defeat for the first time in a glittering 31-fight career.
There was also plenty of dignity and humility. No moaning, no excuses, even if there was a sense of genuine disbelief at the way their man had been battered into submission inside five rounds by Froch, losing the IBF super middleweight belt, which he had held for four years, in the process.
All of which explains why his trainer Stephan Larouche was in no mood to contemplate the contractual agreement 32-year-old Bute had struck before Saturday’s reverse to meet Froch again, next time in Canada.
“As of now, we need to sit down and talk with Lucian. We’re not that type to yell about a rematch after some kind of loss,” said Larouche. “We’re intelligent people and we have to do what is best for Lucian. We will look after his health and his future. We need to sit down and go back to the drawing board.
“This is not the end of the world but we have to analyze where it all went wrong. But everyone can come back from anything. Lucian has a strong personality and is very confident. He did some mistakes in there and some things wrong. And he has paid a high price for it. But he will come back from this even stronger. When? We don’t know that yet.”
So did Bute, who had only fought outside Quebec once in his previous 15 bouts, take the threat of the now three-time holder Froch too lightly? Did he believe he would stroll past the 34-year-old Englishman, who in his previous fight had gone down to RING champion Andre Ward in a very one-sided final of the Super Six series?
Larouche refutes any suggestion of complacency, accepting Bute (30-1, 24 knockouts) was beaten fairly and squarely by Froch (29-2, 20 KOs).
“We didn’t underestimate Froch — he did what we expected. But Lucian spent too much time on the ropes and you can’t give a boxer like Carl that sort of time because he has very heavy hands and is always well prepared,” he said. “We knew we needed a good start but unfortunately we couldn’t do that.
“Carl came on very strong at the end of round one and caught Lucian on the chin in the second. He never recovered from that. It was a good stoppage by the referee but it could have been even earlier.
“We don’t regret coming to England and to Nottingham. Not at all. We could have stayed home fighting nobodies forever. But if you want to be the best, you have to fight the best. It’s just we hit a brick wall here.”
What a refreshingly honest appraisal, which Larouche then followed with an even classier glowing tribute to the victor.
“We’re proud for Carl,” he said. “He’s a great human being and a nice person. When you work as hard as he does, you deserve good things. And when you lose your title, you want to lose it to a good person. Carl is that and we’re happy for him.”