Breaking Down Lucian Bute’s Brutal Loss with Russ Anber
By Hans Olson
It’s been a few days since Lucian Bute’s shocking fifth round knockout loss to Carl “The Cobra” Froch, and with that, we look for more perspective.
Tuesday, Boxing Insider caught up with one of boxing’s best analysts, Russ Anber, who was ringside in Nottingham calling the fight for Canada’s French language broadcast on Canal Indigo.
Boxing Insider: So Russ, what made Carl Froch so successful against Lucian Bute last Saturday?”
Russ Anber: “Froch was able to basically exploit the one major flaw in Lucian Bute, and that was his ability to fight on the inside and at close quarters in somewhat of a toe-to-toe exchange. I think that made the difference in the fight. I think Froch’s ability to hit Bute as easily as he did I think surprised everybody. He was able to land shots and Lucian was virtually defenseless against it for whatever reason. His hands were down…he was getting hit with shots…and little by little they took their toll. In the third round he got hurt and as far as I’m concerned, he never really recovered from that shot.”
Lucian at one point..he stood back…he stood against the ropes and he invited a firefight. Why do you think he did that?
Russ Anber: “I think that was just a false sense of bravado if you ask me. I think he got hurt and he was trying to show that he wasn’t hurt. Everybody quickly—and this is I guess where people can see the same thing and have a very different view of what they think they saw—everybody started complaining saying Bute spent too much time on the ropes. As a trainer, my first look at that wasn’t that he spent too much time on the ropes, but that he didn’t know what to do when he was on the ropes. That was to me, what stood out the most.
We can use an example most recently with Mayweather and Cotto. Mayweather spent two-thirds of the fight leaned up against the ropes and was winning rounds! He was beating Cotto laying up against the ropes…so I’m not sure that just the fact of him going to the ropes was the problem, but more-so going to the ropes and not being able to deal with what was coming at him when he was on the ropes.”
It didn’t look like Lucian was able to maintain distance well, like he has in the past. Why do you think that was the case?
Russ Anber: “One of the things that was key in that, was that Bute never once followed up with a right hook following his straight left hand. As a matter of fact, I think you’d be hard pressed to find Bute actually putting together any type of combination. Everything seemed to be very singular in shot. When he was doing that, you could see that Froch was waiting on the back foot, waiting to counter punch. When he did, he found an exposed target. Bute having his hands down…you couldn’t do that with a dangerous puncher like Froch.
Time and time again Bute would throw that left hand and Froch would counter with a left hook and boom! It landed. It landed because there was nothing to stop it from landing. The hand wasn’t up and he was leaning in with the shot. I don’t care how good a guy’s chin is—and Bute certainly showed a good chin in the fight—you can’t just keep getting hammered away at it unless you’re Arturo Gatti or George Chuvalo.”
Do you think the fight was more what Lucian Bute didn’t do, or what Carl Froch did do?
Russ Anber: “You know, it’s probably equal. The thing is, the things that Froch did do, Bute did even less to protect against it…so it was amplified it even more. What Lucian wasn’t doing, and what Froch was doing was now magnified twice. It was made double what it was because it was pretty much the same thing. Froch was counter-punching, getting inside the perimeter. Bute was unable to hold him at distance and didn’t throw combinations, didn’t come back with his own right hook, and Froch was throwing his left hook, firing that left hand and he was throwing combinations. He was throwing four or five punches at a time…and they were landing.
The times when Bute was making Froch miss punches when he was on the ropes and bobbing and weaving in an attempt to make Froch miss—and he did make him miss—he never really came back, and if he did it was only with a singular shot and it wasn’t enough to hold Froch off him. By that point, Bute didn’t have the power, or he didn’t have the legs to have the power to generate the necessary power to hurt Froch or back him off.”
What do you think happens next time if Lucian does take the rematch? Obviously that might not even happen…but what could he do to have more success against Froch?
Russ Anber: “Unless he’s able to correct the flaw, then he’ll be playing into Froch’s strength again. In order to succeed on the world stage, you have to be able to handle when the firepower is coming at you. You’ve got to be able to pick it off and roll with it, slip and slide, tuck up on the inside and put your hands up and block and use a shield to block punches and be able to counter back from it. If he doesn’t do something like that, it’s going to be difficult hold off a guy with the firepower and the heavy hands of a Carl Froch.”
Do you think Lucian Bute can come back from this defeat?
Russ Anber: “I can’t say that I know the guy well enough, nor has he ever had to deal with this kind of adversity before, so it’s difficult for me to be able to make a factual statement as to what I think. Let’s put it this way, [Bute’s trainer] Stéphan Larouche said to me after the fight ‘it’s a bad loss…it’s a bad defeat.’ And it is. There’s never a good defeat, but there are certain ways of losing a fight, and there are other ways which are bad. This is one of the bad ones.
Great fighters have come back from crushing knockout defeats to win world titles, and then there are other fighters that have never been the same. Fernando Vargas has never been the same. Jermain Taylor has never been the same since the Kelly Pavlik fight. There are some guys that just don’t come back from that stuff. It’s going to be interesting to see how Lucian comes back. One thing that’s certain, if he’s not back with new versatility, it’s going to make the comeback even more difficult.”
Do you think up here in our region we’ve overrated Lucian? He’s getting killed in the press, as are the many writers like myself who thought very highly of him…
Russ Anber: “Unfortunately, our society and certainly our sport…breeds cowards. It breeds the naysayers that after you fail, they’re the first one to fucking cast a stone and say what a loser you were. They’re the ones that don’t ever take take the risk or take the chance of putting themselves on the line, where you’re subject to facing defeat. These people, these cowards who come out…suddenly know everything and they say ‘oh he wasn’t that good to begin with, and he was protected in Montreal, blah, blah, blah’…you know what? Let’s let the facts speak for themselves.
Fact number one, he was undefeated. Fact number two, he was making the tenth defense of a world title. We’re likely never to see that from a Canadian fighter again…God knows when the next time will be when [a Canadian] is in the tenth title defense of a world crown. Fact number three, Andre Ward didn’t want to fight him. Fact number four, Mikkel Kessler didn’t want to fight him. Fact number five, the betting favorites, the betting experts, the boxing experts who place bets and set the odds—people who are not involved in Montreal—they’re not fans at the Bell Centre, they’re professional businessmen who place odds on who’s supposed to win the fight…they had him as a heavy favorite. As a matter of fact, in the UK there were big posters in the betting shop that said ‘Froch by KO over Bute for 10 pounds, win 75 pounds.’ 10 pounds to win 75 pounds on a Froch knockout! They thought that that was a seven and a half to one long shot that that wasn’t going to happen…so it’s not just us. But now of course, all the critiques…it’s so easy after the fact. Nobody said this was going to be a blowout in 5 rounds. Nobody said that.”
Bute is most certainly not a fraud in my opinion. I’ve said, if he were such a fraud, we must have some damn good promoters up here to have a fraud fill up arenas over the last few years…
Russ Anber: “Is it Bute’s fault they didn’t put him in the Super Six? Is it Bute’s fault that he was relegated to having to fight the second tier leftovers in the super middleweight division because all the big names were tied up? All these guys were garnishing valuable experience and he had to fight other guys. How do we know that he wouldn’t have been better if he had knocked out [Arthur] Abraham? We don’t know. Or he could have been knocked out sooner…we don’t know that either. But he did what he could and everybody is so quick to criticize. He fought everybody they put in front of him. It might not have been the cream of the crop, but he conducted himself with a lot of class in doing so.
I’m just so pissed when people are so quick to jump up and say ‘oh man I told you he wasn’t good, I told you he was shit, I told you he never left the Bell Centre, oh he never did this, oh he never did that…’ People are so quick to point that out when someone fails. He trips one hurdle against Froch and suddenly a world championship and nine defenses suddenly goes out the window. When people say stuff like that it pisses me off. I bet you there isn’t anybody here, any trainer, any manager in the business, who wouldn’t have loved to have a fighter who wins a world title, who draws 16,000 people for a fight and has nine title defenses. They’d give their right nut to have that! They’d give both nuts to have that!”
Interview with Lucian Bute’s Trainer, Stéphan Larouche
By Hans Olson
Saturday evening in Nottingham, England, Lucian Bute (30-0, 24 KOs) defends his IBF super middleweight championship against British star and Super Six tournament runner-up Carl “The Cobra” Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) in the toughest test of his undefeated career.
On Monday afternoon, Boxing Insider spoke with Bute’s trainer, Stéphan Larouche:
Boxing Insider: Hi Stéphan! So how are you guys enjoying Nottingham?
Stéphan Larouche: “So far, so good! We came yesterday to Nottingham, hitting the gym today. We’re at a nice place, a nice hotel…it’s exactly how we expected. We spent also about, almost nine days in Sheffield prior to being here, so this is our second week already in the UK.”
Is Lucian pretty adjusted to the time difference and everything like that?
Stéphan Larouche: “Right now Lucian is. You know we changed his sleeping habits and hopefully he will feel really good the night of the fight. This is the reason why we came here [sooner than later].”
How is everything going as far as diet, food and everything? You know, a lot of times people say you go over to the UK, the food is different…how are you guys dealing with certain things like that?
Stéphan Larouche: “Here with us, our chef in Sheffield, she’s actually a chef here [at our hotel] and we’re really surprised how people are cooperating with us. She goes to the grocery [store] to buy the food, to buy different things…even the meat, the good steak and she’ll give it to the chef at the hotel and they cook everything for us. So we’ve got a good relationship with everyone here.”
The fight is in a few days or so…what is this last week of preparation going to be over there? Just fine tuning…
Stéphan Larouche: “Fine tuning. You know that, you’ve been following boxing…you know we stay focused. Nice quality workouts, short training…maintain the habits and stay away from things that could get you off focus. That includes people that could get off the plane too early…you know you don’t want to catch a cold. So this is business as usual. This is the nice part. We’ve been working hard.”
And his foot with the infection that had been reported…how has everything healed with that?
Stéphan Larouche: “The foot is perfect, the toe is perfect…if everything wouldn’t be perfect, we wouldn’t be here.”
Now the judges for this fight…it looks like they’ve got an American judge, a Canadian judge, and someone from overseas, is that right?
Stéphan Larouche: “We don’t really pay attention, you know? It’s a matter of Lucian having to be impressive. Everything that he does normally, he’s going to have to do a little bit more of. For Froch, for the minimum amount of work, he’s going to have more reward. In fact, to give kind of an example is that Lucian told me, ‘Stéphan, I will walk into that ring and [and imagine that] I’m going to put the belt vacant so that I have to re-win the belt. So I have to work hard.’”
Have you noticed anything different with Carl? Usually he’s a little bit more vocal than he has been in the build-up to this fight. Do you feel that he’s somewhat surprised that you guys essentially called his bluff going over there to Nottingham?
Stéphan Larouche: “He’s kind of now being a little bit more loud and we hear him, but Lucian does not even [acknowledge] it. The difference between the two men is that, for some reason Carl Froch needs to talk. He needs to criticize people. I don’t know if it’s to pump himself…but we don’t need that. We don’t need to talk bad about anybody. Lucian doesn’t need that to get his motivation. He’s very well motivated, he’s really focused and he doesn’t need to trash talk.”
What do you think is going to have to be the difference in the fight? As far as—it’s probably going to be fairly competitive in the early going—what do you think Lucian is going to have to do that, for example that Andre Dirrell didn’t do when he was over there?
Stéphan Larouche: “Lucian’s been focused to keep doing what he normally does. This is going to be a good fight for him. You’re right, the earlier few rounds are going to be enthusiastic. A lot of will. And on one side there is Carl Froch that never, never gets discouraged. So you have to put that [in] mind. Sometimes fighters, they decline as the round goes on. They’re losing rounds, the get discouraged. But Carl Froch never, never resigns so we’re going to have to stay focused the whole fight.”
Is there anything else that has surprised you guys being overseas right now that you maybe didn’t expect when you got over there?
Stéphan Larouche: “I’m surprised how the people are nice with Lucian! I think the fight that we respect everybody, it pays off. Because here, people they take pictures with Lucian, they wish him good love, they said they like him, they’ve been following him. Also, I think it’s the first time in boxing history that a fighter from our area, our place, from Québec, that will bring so many people at one of his fights across the ocean like this. We’re expecting close to 1,000 people supporting Lucian in the arena.”
How about some of the smaller details? Is Lucian walking walking out first, or second as the champion?
Stéphan Larouche: “We don’t even care about that. I told Lucian, we will do anything we need to do to win this fight. We don’t get distracted by things like this, you know? The only thing is which national anthem we’re going to pick! Romania, or Canada…with Lucian recently being recognized as a Canadian citizen.”
Finally, with this fight over here in North America…Epix, they’re sending their crew over there…the fight is going to be televised right in Times Square in NY…that’s a pretty big deal here, and something Lucian wouldn’t have even gotten on Showtime. What does this fight mean for Lucian as far as American exposure?
Stéphan Larouche: “I think it’s not the thing with exposure…there would still be exposure but I think that just being here is the exposure itself. Just by the fact that we came to fight here. Even with no TV, it would be good exposure in terms of significance of the action and the fact that we are here.”
Lucian Bute vs. Carl Froch: No Easy Way Out
By Hans Olson
“I’m very happy to have this opportunity to fight Carl Froch,” said IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute at today’s Montreal presser in advance of his clash with Carl Froch on May 26 in Nottingham, England.
“It’s good timing for me to fight him. Carl has a lot of experience, yes he’s strong fighter, he has good power with both hands, I know that. He is very slow though and I think the difference will be my speed. And my ability too. He is a very aggressive fighter, a very tough fighter, a very strong fighter. He has a good chin. For my mind now, all I have is Carl Froch, I’m concentrating everything on him, after that, we’ll see, maybe Andre Ward, maybe up to 175.”
Although fighting on the road will be difficult, it’s a challenge Bute embraces. Away from the confines of Quebec, the fight will register differently emotionally…but Lucian is ready.
“It was difficult to manage my emotions in Romania (his native homeland, where he fought last year),” said Bute. “There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I could not lose at home. And it’s the same thing in Quebec. I have huge responsibilities when I am fighting here.”
Similar, but different.
Much like the styles of Froch and Bute–styles that on paper look to be made for an explosive encounter.
Lucian’s trainer, Stéphan Larouche, feels this is an important fight for boxing.
“This is what boxing needs, real fights,” said Larouche.
“What needs do be done now is to defend the belt in England and it won’t be easy. We’ll have to prepare perfectly, correctly, like we always do. Carl Froch has shown the will to win many times, he’s one of the most spectacular fighters in the division. He was always involved in the best fights when the Super Six was on. We know that. We know what it will be like for him to be home. We know what that is.
“Sometimes in boxing there is what you might call a miracle. We might say it was a miracle when Lucian stood up and finished the fight against Librado Andrade. Some people thought he lost the fight, that he got knocked out. If you think that, that’s fine, let’s say he lost he fight. But the future remains the same! He knocked out everybody except Glen Johnson, so we’re either 30-0, or 29-1, it’s up to you, but the future remains the same.
“I was there when Carl was on the floor in the second versus Jermain Taylor. He got a little bit lucky, Jermain Taylor got a little bit tired and he pulled out a miracle. They both were able to pull out a miracle, so I think we’re even on this. We have a major task on the table, we know that, but we’re not stupid, we know what we can do. In boxing, speed is hard to beat, and we will rely on our speed.”
Froch, however, disagreed with some of Larouche’s assessments.
“Stéphan knows what he is talking about, but there are a few things I disagree with,” said the former WBC super middleweight champ.
“I don’t believe in miracles. I don’t think winning a fight by climbing off the canvas and forcing a stoppage against a great fighter like Jermain Taylor is a miracle. It has nothing to do with luck, it has to do with preparation, will to win, heart, desire, strength, courage. Anything but luck. A real man makes his own luck.
“Lucian Bute didn’t partake in the Super Six against the other best fighters in the world and was sitting back waiting. The natural fight for me after the final with Andre Ward was with Lucian Bute, that’s the fight I wanted. Unfortunately, I lost a close decision against Ward, it was a very difficult awkward night for me, I wasn’t myself, but as you can see after my loss against Kessler, I came back firing on all cylinders to become WBC two-time champion.
“Coming off the back of the Super Six final, I have the hunger and desire, the commitment and the courage to do everything I need to become victorious in my hometown, I said I didn’t believe in miracles, but Eddie pulled off a miracle to get Lucian to come to hometown of Nottingham. But big respect to Lucian Bute, he’s been a great champion, he is undefeated, he means business and I’ve got a lot of respect for him, but I’m here to win the fight.”
The truth of this fight is found in its tagline: there truly is “no easy way out.”
For either fighter.
Carl Froch vs. Lucian Bute Press Conference Pt 1
Lucian Bute vs. Carl Froch Set For May 26 In Nottingham
By Hans Olson
Lucian Bute said he was willing to do whatever it takes to be recognized as the best Super Middleweight in the world.
On May 26, Bute is doing just that when he hits the road to face former WBC champ Carl “The Cobra” Froch at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, confirming what was initially reported Wednesday by RDS.ca’s Francis Paquin.
“We really wanted to press forward with this fight,” said Bute’s promoter Jean Bedard in a news item that ran on Fight News Thursday. “We’ve been insistent, made some concessions, but it was important to realize this is a fight that Lucian, our fans and, our partners wanted. Also, I am convinced that Lucian will silence the critics. Lucian is showing great courage in agreeing to defend his title in enemy territory.”
If Bute were to lose, a clause in the contract calls for an immediate rematch in Montreal.
It had been rumored for weeks that Bute and Froch would eventually get made. In an interview with Boxing Insider last week, both Lucian and his trainer Stephan Larouche made it apparent that if they couldn’t get a fight with Andre Ward, they wanted the division’s next best available opponent.
That man is Carl Froch.
“This fight will allow us to rid ourselves of two things: that Lucian has never beaten anyone and he always fights with at home,” said Bedard Thursday afternoon during a conference call with the French media. “This is an extremely important step in his career. ”
Paquin also noted in his RDS.ca story Wednesday that, although there is no American television set for Bute vs. Froch (both Showtime and HBO passed on the fight), it’s a possibility that EPIX–a new cable player which has recently screened fights featuring heavyweights Vitali Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin–could buy the fight.
“What we want is a broadcaster who will be interested when the magnitude and excitement that the duel will generate is realized,” said Bedard.
For Lucian Bute, who celebrated his 32nd birthday this past Tuesday, it will be the greatest test of his career. He will attempt to defend his IBF Super Middleweight Championship for the tenth time, but it will only be the second time he’s defended it outside of Quebec, the first having been last summer’s fourth round knockout of Jean Paul Mendy in his native Romania.
For Froch, it will be the first fight he’s had at home since his October 2009 points victory over Andre Dirrell.
“We are delighted to have agreed to terms for what I believe will be the biggest night for British boxing in many years,” Froch’s promoter Eddie Hearn told ESPN.
“I have to respect Lucian and his team for agreeing to enter the lion’s den and face Carl in his hometown of Nottingham, but am fully confident that Carl can become a world champion again on this epic night.”
The winner of the fight will undoubtedly be eager to fight Andre Ward in the Fall.
The question is: if the winner is Bute, how eager will Andre Ward be?
(Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @hansolson)