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Bute will face much improved Miranda, Goossen says

16
Apr

Conventional wisdom says Lucian Bute has nothing to worry about from Edison Miranda, the hard-hitting veteran who challenges the Romania-born southpaw in the titleholder’s adopted hometown of Montreal on Saturday.

Bute (25-0, 20 knockouts), THE RING’s No. 1-rated super middleweight, has the decided edge in skill, technique and every physical tool except for punching power. The popular Canadian boxer has also proved his ability to neutralize strong, rugged punchers with his victories over Alejandro Berrios, Fulgencio Zuniga and Librado Andrade.

Joe Goossen, Miranda’s new coach, agrees that Bute is an exceptional talent but the respected trainer begs to differ with those who believe his fighter has no shot on Saturday.

“We had an extended camp without a hitch,” Goossen told RingTV.com from Montreal, “and that’s very encouraging. It lifts my confidence.”



Those who don’t have confidence in Miranda (33-4, 29 KOs) point to the Colombian’s two most-recent losses — a unanimous decision to Andre Ward and a fourth-round stoppage to Arthur Abraham. Miranda’s critics say his loss to Ward, which took place last May, is evidence that he’s a one-dimensional fighter.

It’s a criticism that Goossen agreed with 10 months ago.

“I thought he was a one-trick pony after watching his fight with Ward,” Goossen said. “All I saw from him in that fight was a right hand. There was no left hook, no body work, no combinations.”

All that has changed in the many months that Miranda has trained at Goossen’s gym in Van Nuys, Calif., according to the trainer.

“He’s such an athlete,” Goossen said. “He’s the kind of athlete that picks up new things very easily. Everything I show him, he learns, he retains and executes it. Everyone at the gym was stunned at how quickly he improved. He’s the star of the gym now. He’s the guy everyone stops to watch spar.”

Goossen says Miranda is not only working his jab, left hook and body shots along with his vaunted right hand, he’s shortening up his punches and he's become better at finding his range.

Miranda’s critics would say it doesn’t matter what the slugger does with his hands because it’s his legs that are in question. Many fans believe Miranda has never recovered from his brutal knockout loss to Kelly Pavlik in 2007. Some think his KO loss to Abraham in their rematch indicates that he might be shot.

They wouldn’t say that if they saw his recent sparring sessions, according to Goossen.

“He’s a machine in the gym,” he said. “He’s sparred around 300 rounds in the past three months for this fight with five or six sparring partners. Few have been able to last with him.”

The time Miranda has spent in the gym with Goossen is just as important as his quality sparring, according to the trainer.

“He came to me two weeks after the Ward fight,” Goossen said. “We’ve had one fight, a first-round KO of (Francisco) Sierra (last October), and we went straight into a two-month camp for (Robert) Stieglitz that was supposed to happen in January but was canceled when Edison caught a nasty virus. He took two weeks off and was back in the gym for a three-month camp for Bute, which is good because Bute is like a combination of Joe Calzaghe and Michael Nunn.

“A fighter has to get used to the southpaw stance to compete with that kind of style and he’s had time to do that. He told me a month ago that he’s to the point where boxing with a southpaw is no different to him than boxing an orthodox fighter.”

The long camp and hundreds of sparring rounds have done more than acclimate Miranda to southpaws, according to Goossen. The trainer says Miranda’s weight is under control for the first time in years.

“He’s at fight weight (168 pounds) now and he’s eating every day the week of the fight,” Goossen said. “That’s unheard of for him. He said it’s great to only have one fight to worry about. He’s usually worried about two fights, the guy in the ring and his battle with the scale.”

If Miranda loses to Bute, it won’t be because he was weight drained. It will be because Bute is the better fighter.

However, Goossen isn’t going to concede that before the fight.

“I don’t want to be overconfident because both guys have a tough fight in front of them,” he said. “But if we don’t win, I’ll be more than mildly surprised.”

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