By Eric Thomas: Fresh off his controversial 12 round decision loss to IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale last November, former iBF 168lb champion Lucian Bute (32-3, 25 KOs) will be getting another chance to win a world title against WBC super middleweight champion Badou Jack (20-1-1, 12 KOs) on April 30 next month at a still to be determined venue.
The fight will likely be staged in the United States, where the 32-year-old Badou now makes his home. Showtime Championship Boxing will be televising the contest. It should be a great fight for as long as it lasts.
Bute was one of the best super middleweights in the sport from 2007 to 2012 in holding down the IBF 168lb title. His world came crashing down on him in 2012, however, after getting stopped by slugger Carl Froch in the 5th round in a fight that took place in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham, England. The loss seemed to have unnerved Bute, as he took a long time to get his confidence back after the KO defeat.
Bute looked gun-shy in subsequent fights against Denis Grachev, Jean Pascal and Andrea Di Luisa. Bute fought only three times in a three-year period from 2012 to 2015. It wasn’t until Bute’s recent fight against DeGale where he finally looked like his old self. Even in that fight, Bute failed to go on the attack enough to get the victory. He came on strong in the last half of the bout to make it close, but during the first six rounds, Bute was too passive and giving DeGale too much respect.
Badou surprised the boxing world in 2015, when he defeated WBC champion Anthony Dirrell by a 12 round majority decision to capture his title. Badou was supposed to be little more than a voluntary defense for Dirrell, and there was no thought of Dirrell losing the fight. Badou did a great job of applying constant pressure against Dirrell, and working him over with body shots to get the win.
In Badou’s first defense of his title last September, he defeated George Groves with the same approach by putting constant pressure on him and throwing to the body frequently. Badou knocked Groves down in the 1st round. Groves came back from the knockdown to fight effectively in the first six rounds. However, Badou took over the fight with his body punching in the second half of the contest to wear Groves down and get the victory.
What we saw from Bute in his fight with DeGale is a fighter that still has his punching power, and is still lethal when he lets his hands go. If Bute can throw enough punches on April 30, he will win this fight. He might even get a knockout. It all depends on Bute. He’s got the tools to beat Badou.