Former super middleweight beltholder Lucian Bute had never been involved in a numerically close fight as a professional before his May 26th clash with English challenger Carl Froch, a battle-tested former two-time titleholder who had been in with far superior competition – and it showed.
For in a fifth-round knockout victory before his hometown fans at Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England, Froch (29-2, 21 knockouts) not only separated the previously unbeaten Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) from his senses, but also, from the IBF belt he had defended nine times, including seven by knockout.
“That was not the real Lucian Bute in that Nottingham ring last May the 26th,” said Bute. “I spent the last few weeks reflecting about what went wrong, what happened, and the only thing that is crystal clear in my mind is that I want my rematch with Carl Froch as soon as possible.”
So during a Thursday press conference at the Cage Aux Sports Restaurant in the Montreal Bell Centre, Bute announced that he was excercising the rematch clause in his contract with Froch, calling their initial clash “a “nightmare,” and, “a bad day at the office.”
Froch and Bute will take interim bouts first before facing off in a return bout in March of next year.
“I am convinced the loss was due to critical errors on my part and that I will beat him. I did not use my primary weapons of speed and my jab at all during the fight. I fought Carl Froch`s fight instead of dictating the pace and forcing him to fight my fight. It was a bad night for me in Nottingham. A nightmare, really,” said Bute.
“I lost my IBF belt, my perfect record and I suffered a hard loss. I cannot wait to step back into the ring. I am already back at the gym training. I feel fresh, in good spirits, my health is very good and my goal and motivation is to prove to myself and to everyone that last May 26th was just a bad day at the office.”
Froch had made his last appearance at home in October of 2009, where he overcame switch-hitting, previously unbeaten Andre Dirrell by split-decision in the first round of Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament.
Of the two men, Froch entered with the more complete resume, having claimed 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.
“I do not want to take anything away from Carl Froch’s accomplishment. He was the better man that night. He was hungrier and more motivated and he won,” said Bute, who represented Froch’s eighth consecutive RING-ranked opponent, although it should be noted that Pascal and Dirrell were not RING-ranked until after they faced Froch.
“Now I have to look ahead. My promoter Jean Bedard, my coach Stephan Larouche and I have had numerous serious discussions and we have established a plan that I am very comfortable with. In the next two fights I will erase the bad memory of May 26th from my mind and from the minds of my fans.”
Froch has made it known that in his opinion 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.
In addition to a win over Johnson, Bute also shares a knockout victory over Brian Magee, a man Froch stopped in the 11th round in May of 2006, while Bute did the same in the 10th in March of last year. Bute also owns knockouts over faded ex-beltholder William Joppy and Edison Miranda.
“The Carl Froch v Lucian Bute fight has already gone down as one of the greatest fights in British boxing history. It generated record audiences and a sold-out arena that were treated to what many respected pundit and fighters have described as one of the greatest atmosphere’s ever,” said Eddie Hearn, Froch’s promoter.
“Carl put in an incredible performance and against all odds re-captured his World title. Both Carl, I and the people of Great Britain have the utmost respect for Lucian for first accepting the challenge to come to England but also the manner in which he accepted defeat. Like any fighter, I’m sure Lucian would like an opportunity to avenge this defeat as per our agreement he has the opportunity to try and make that happen.”
Photos / Scott Heavey-Getty Images Sport
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com