Lucian Bute Against The Super Six Winner Would Be Historic
Showtime announced on Friday that IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, who remained unbeaten with last month's ninth-round TKO over Jesse Brinkley at the Bell Center in Bute's home town of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, has signed a three-fight deal with the network.
The 168-pound Bute improved to 27-0 with 22 knockouts, while the overmatched Brinkley fell to 35-6, also with 22 KOs.
A Romanian-born left-hander, Bute made the mandatory sixth defense of his crown, and the fifth by knockout against Brinkley, a Las Vegas resident.
"It's a real honor for me to be given this opportunity to face the top fighters of my division on the premium television network, Showtime. I want to prove that I'm the best super middleweight in the world and this opportunity will allow me do just that," said Bute.
"I want to thank [promoter] Jean Bedard and [Showtime Sports' Executive Vice President and General Manager] Ken Hershman for getting this deal done. I could not be happier or more proud," said Bute. "This gives me the opportunity to fight with the best in the world."
Signing with Showtime, whose deal will pay the Canadian a reported $2 million per bout, gives Bute a host of opportunities for opponents with the network's Super Six World Super Middleweight Classic being ongoing.
"The plan is to show that Lucien Bute is the best super middleweight in the world," said Bedard, "and signing with Showtime will help us to do that."
The Showtime tournament leader and WBA king Andre Ward (22-0, 13 KOs) of Oakland, Calif., meets Australia's Sakio Bika (28-4-2, 19 KOs) in a non-tournament bout on Nov. 27, the same night that Germany's former middleweight (160 pounds) champion Arthur Abraham (31-1, 25 KOs) faces former WBC titlist Carl Froch (26-1, 20 KOs) of England.
Bika is coming off of July's first-round, disqualification loss to Jean Paul Mendy (29-0-1, 16 KOs) of France, whom Bika hit and knocked cold while the fighter was down in their IBF super middleweight eliminator bout.
There is also Saturday night super middleweight clash between Jamaican-born, 41-year-old former world champion Glen Johnson (50-14, 34 KOs) of Miami and Allan Green (29-2, 20 KOs) of Tulsa, Ok., at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, whose winner will automatically qualify for the 2011 semifinals.
Green-Johnson is taking place on the under card of a Top Rank Promotions fight between WBO featherweight (126 pounds) titlist Juan Manuel Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs) of Puerto Rico and former world champion Rafael Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs) of Mexico City.
Johnson became the next option when former WBC champion, Mikkel Kessler (43-2, 32 KOs), of Denmark, withdrew from the tournament with an eye injury.
"We have a real plethora of options for Lucien Bute. Opponent options that will deliver on our message and on our promise to our subscribers to deliver the biggest events in boxing on Showtime," said Hershman.
"Lucien is a tremendous talent, he's undefeated, and he sells out Montreal with his eyes closed," said Hershman. "He's got one of the most dynamic and entertaining fan bases and ring entrances, and he's the real deal and we're thrilled to have him. We can't wait to get him on Showtime come the first quarter of next year."
Showtime will also televise a Dec. 18, Golden Boy Promotions bout featuring WBC light heavyweight (175 pounds) titlist Jean Pascal (26-1, 16 knockouts) of Canada making his fourth defense against against 45-year-old former world champion Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) from the Pepsi Colesium in Québec City, Canada.
A winner of five straight fights, the 27-year-old Pascal is coming off of an HBO-televised, Aug. 14, victory over previously unbeaten southpaw WBC interim titlist Chad Dawson (29-1, 17 KOs), of New Haven, Conn., by 11th-round, technical unanimous decision.
"We are very excited for Lucian Bute to rejoin us on Showtime. In the next six weeks alone, Showtime will feature a virtual who's who of the most talented and accomplished champions at both 168 and 175 pounds," said Hershman.
"Lucian's entrance into that mix is sure to deliver even more thrilling, closely matched fights in 2011 to our network subscribers," said Hershman. "Ultimately, the winner of the Super Six and Lucien will be one of the biggest fights in super middleweight history. So, it's really all come together at the right time, and we're thrilled. We couldn't be happier."
Bute may not only be the most dominant fighter in his weight class, alongside Ward, but also among the most dominant boxers in the sport overall.
If Bute isn't stopping fighters with his vicious body shots, as he did during fourth-round stoppages of two straight rivals, Fulgencio Zuniga and Librado Andrade, then the Canadian resident has simply outclassed them in decisions.
In April, Bute stopped hard-hitting Colombian Edison Miranda (33-4, 29 KOs) in the third round of an HBO televised bout.
Bute-Andrade was an HBO televised rematch of the champion's unanimous decision victory over Andrade in October 2008, which ended in controversy at the Bell Centre in Montreal even though Bute won 117-109, 115-111 and 115-110 on the judges' cards.
In that fight, Bute had to survive a near-final round knockout against Andrade, who entered the bout at 24-1 with 18 stoppages and with his lone defeat having come by decision against Denmark's former WBC super middleweight king Mikkel Kessler.
"When the Super Six tournament first started without me in it, it was right after my first fight with Librado Andrade. The last 30 seconds of that final round with Librado Andrade was in my mind and in my head. I was watching the Super Six, but my mind was not there on that tournament," said Bute.
"My plan was, and my only goal was to get a rematch with Librado Andrade to clarify the situation, and I did it. Afterward, I could concentrate on my career. But my mind was on Librado Andrade at that moment," said Bute. "I felt like I had to prove something. People were unhappy about that moment. Even if I'm going to fight in the Super Six, they would still be talking to me about Librado Andrade. I had to clarify that first."
Bute's resume has been one of dominance, whether stopping or widely out-pointing his opponents. Before rematching Andrade, Bute was coming off of the March 2009 stoppage of Zuniga.
But during two fights in 2006, Andre Thysse lost 120-107, 120-108 and 120-109, and Loleng Mock lost 120-109, 120-108, and, 118-111.
In February and June 2007, respectively, Bute dominated Sergey Tatevosyan, 119-108, on two judges' cards, and 120-108 on the third; as well as Sakio Bika, 118-109 on two cards, and 116-111 on the third.
During some of his most recent knockouts, the Canadian was ahead 98-92, twice, and, 97-93 on the third card before stopping Alejandro Berrio for the IBF crown in the 11th round, and he was pitching a shutout, 90-80, on all three cards before scoring a 10th-round knockout over former world champion, William Joppy.
Joppy had gone the distance with Hopkins and Taylor, and was stopped for only the second time in his career. The other time Joppy was knocked out was against Trinidad in the fifth round in May 2001.
"In terms of the date [of Bute's first fight on Showtime,] we're targeting sometime in the first quarter. We're going to sit down with Lucien again after we get through a couple of these fights and really hone in on that date," said Hershman.
"Because we think that having Lucien fight around the same time as we're doing the Super Six will really drive home his awareness and his popularity," said Hershman. "That will tie him into the Super Six properly, so that when we get the end, we will have built the biggest fight of all time in this division."