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Andrade relishes second chance

24
Nov

Librado Andrade said he doesn’t really expect to win rounds. The Mexican-born slugger sees each fight as “one big round with little breaks in between.”

His modus operandi is to apply constant pressure from the beginning of that round, to wear his opponent down, to break him down, to inflict great pain until he either scores a knockout or rallies to win a decision. It’s worked in 28 of his 30 fights.

And it appeared to work against Lucian Bute on Oct. 24 of last year in Montreal. Bute, a 168-pound titleholder, was winning easily when he either ran out of gas or was broken down – or both.

In one of the more-controversial endings in recent years, Andrade put a depleted Bute down with one or two seconds remaining in the fight. He could not be saved by the bell. Referee Marlon Wright began the count as Bute staggered to his feet and then, seeing Andrade stray from a neutral corner, suddenly stopped counting to warn Andrade. Many believe that gave Bute enough time to recover keep the title.

Andrade thought he won but said he’s not bitter, particularly because he’ll have another chance to finish the job and realize his dream of winning a title in a rematch Saturday in Quebec City on HBO. Only this time, he said, he’ll approach the fight somewhat differently.

“What happened was that I ran out of time,” he said on a conference call Tuesday. “I was being too patient in the fight. When I realized that, time was running out. He was (too far) ahead of me. There was no other way but to knock him out. It didn’t happen.

“The same pressure will be there ÔǪ a little more. And when I get opportunities, I gotta do it myself.”

Andrade, who lives in La Habra, Calif., didn’t have a lead of any kind to protect against Bute last year. He was thoroughly outboxed by a better boxer for 11-plus rounds.

However, the final round was his. With a minute to go, Bute could barely remain on his feet let alone fight back. He held when he could as Andrade, still relatively fresh, pounded away in an attempt to score a dramatic knockout that never came.

Bute (24-0, 19 knockouts) has said he simply grew tired, although he admitted on the conference all that he made a mistake by trading punches with Andrade (28-2, 21 KOs) in the 12th to please the fans.

Andrade said he knows exactly what happened to Bute.

“I think I broke him down,” he said. “He can make any excuses he wants. I think he prepared well, he fought well the whole fight. At the end, he just couldn’t keep it up. I got to him. How can he say before the fight that he gets stronger and more energy in the later rounds and then have it turn out the opposite? It’s because I got to him, little by little.

“I hit him with shots that made him tired. He just didn’t want to admit it. And that’s OK with me. As long as he comes to fight.”

Andrade said he thought Wright would stop the fight with as much as a minute to go because he believed Bute could not defend himself. The challenger continued to throw punches, he said, but with less than 100-percent ferocity.

That was another mistake from he learned, he said.

“Marlon was so close to us,” he said. “I really thougt he would stop the fight in the last seconds ÔǪ or when he fell ÔǪ or 30 seconds before it happened ÔǪ or a minute before it happened. Lucian was completely hurt and defenseless.

“I was too hesitant. ÔǪ What did they want? For me to drive him to floor so he couldn’t get up? That was a mistake I made, being too patient with everything. I probably have to be a little colder.”

Most experts believe Bute will outbox Andrade again but this time cruise to a one-sided victory.

“(Andrade) will box with the shadow of Lucian on Saturday night,” Bute said through an interpreter.

Andrade, too, expects Bute to employ the same tactics. That’s the type of fighter he is. The Mexican plans to apply extreme pressure from the beginning in attempt to make Bute fight rather than box.

As he said, if opportunities arise to hurt Bute and end the fight, he must seize the moment and not wait for anyone else's help.

And, finally, he seems to be more motivated than ever. This is his chance to avenge a crushing setback, to show what he can do before a large HBO audience and finally become the first of his countrymen to win a super middleweight belt.

“I’m not really mad,” he said of the first fight. “I’m not disappointed or anything. I did what I had to do in that fight. I believe I did it ÔǪ I know I did it. For some reason it didn’t go my way in the final seconds. I’m still fighting for my dream.

“I put that behind me. ÔǪ I’m taking this as a brand new opportunity and I want to make the best of it. I’m not getting any younger. I really want to accomplish this.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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