This weekend in England, undefeated Lucian Bute (30-0) puts his IBF SuperMiddleweight Title on the line against Carl Froch, who will be attempting to become a World Champion for a third time after two previous reigns as WBC SuperMiddleweight Champion. Bute has definitely established himself in the weight class, however he is traveling for this title defense to quell some of the mounting criticisms that he never fights away from his adopted home of Canada, and that he has not had quality competition. This Froch fight addresses both issues for Bute.
Froch was the runner up of SHOWTIME’s Super 6 Tournament, losing in the finals to American Andre Ward. SHOWTIME did a miserable job with this tournament, allowing it to extend itself over almost two years. And Ward, an Olympic Gold Medalist who is well spoken and has all the makings of a star, failed to get over with a wider audience. Perhaps this is the fault of Ward’s risk-free style as much as SHOWTIME’s lack of follow thru and organization.
Ward and Bute would have been a fight of undefeated champions, and certainly a defining fight in the careers of both men. The fight did not materialize, and it is really unclear what Ward is waiting for, as he has no fights scheduled.
In Froch though, Bute will find a very game opponent who is looking for a 3rd World Title. And it will be a very hard fight.
Froch needs to come out aggressive and see if he can set the pace. Bute was able to out hustle Glen Johnson is his last outing, but Froch is a far more dangerous fighter than Johnson at this point in their respective careers. Johnson was 42 at the time of the match, and certainly on the downside of his career, yet he is still considered the best opposition Bute has ever faced.
Froch on the other hand, has been fighting the top names in the sport for years, and he also owns a win over Johnson. If anything is to be told from that, Bute looked sharper against Johnson than Froch did.
Overall Froch is feeling the pressure, as a loss will almost certainly take him out of contentiion for the big money fights he needs at this point in his career. And Bute is in for the biggest test of his career. I think I am going to stay away from this one until I see the weigh ins.