Dougie’s Monday mailbag
Just got back to Belfast after going to my first big fight – the Carl Froch-Lucian Bute super middleweight title bout in Nottingham – last night. The atmosphere was electric and my voice box no longer functions…
Can’t believe Froch pulled it off, the trip was worth every penny! Kudos for calling it on the upset.
What now for The Cobra?
What now for Bute?
As much as I’d love to see Bute KTFO again, I don’t see the point in a rematch.
Keep up the good work!!! – Steven McDowell, Belfast
Thanks, Steven. While it appears that Froch has Bute’s number (and the Englishman will definitely be considered a huge favorite to repeat his victory if they fight again), I don’t view the rematch as “pointless.” It might not be a good idea for Bute to go into an immediate return bout but if he performs well in a few rebound victories against solid opposition I would not be against watching him attempt to redeem himself against The Cobra.
The greatest stories in boxing (in my opinion) are of fighters who suffered brutal one-sided knockout losses coming back to beat the men who humbled them. Willie Pep’s grueling 15-round decision over Sandy Saddler in their rematch is a prime example. Saddler annihilated Pep in their first bout. Ruben Olivares avenged a couple KO losses in return bouts during his hall-of-fame career (vs. Chucho Castillo and Art Hafey). Joe Louis’ first-round destruction of Max Schmeling, who handed Brown Bomber his first loss (via 12th-round KO), is the ultimate “get-back” story in boxing.
These guys are all-timers, though. I don’t expect Bute to come back and defeat Froch, but I’d like to see him earn the right to try. I like it when boxers of this era dare to be great whether they’re successful or not.
What now for Bute? He can go for an immediate rematch on his turf or try to rebuild. It’s up to him. I’d like to see him rebuild his reputation against a young contender or a dangerous up-and-comer, such as Thomas Oosthuizen or Adonis Stevenson (which would be a big fight in Montreal).
What now for The Cobra? Word from across The Pond is that he’s considering a September showdown with Mikkel Kessler. That’s a hell of a rematch, which keeps with Froch’s tradition of only facing badasses.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Froch take on undefeated WBO light heavyweight beltholder Nathan Cleverly, either.
Don’t give me any kudos on picking Froch to win. From the moment the bout was made, I thought it was a toss-up fight. I went with Froch because the fight was in Nottingham, not because I knew he’d be too much for Bute (although The Cobra’s battle-tested mettle was certainly a factor in my pick). The bottom line is that Froch far exceeded my expectations by stopping Bute before the halfway point of the fight. I thought he’d edge Bute on the scorecards in a close fight (although a late stoppage would not have surprised me.)
Anyway, I’m happy for Froch and his fans, and for guys like you who got to witness and enjoy the excitement live. You picked the right match for your first big fight. You won’t forget that night.
GREAT NIGHT IN NOTTINGHAM
Hey Dougie! How’s it going?
I felt I had to write in after Froch’s performance on Saturday night. I wondered what you’re opinion was on a few points:
1. Firstly, what an amazing performance from The Cobra. I never would have predicted that result. I assumed it was going to be a close, tough contest for both fighters that would definitely go the full twelve rounds. Froch has an untidy boxing style, even ugly, but the sheer volume of punches and non-stop pressure overwhelmed Bute. Were you surprised about how the fight went and do you think if Froch didn’t take Bute out early he could have kept that level of pressure up for the full twelve?
2. Barry McGuigan said after the fight that there’s no way Bute will want the rematch. What do you think? I’m not sure I agree with that. I think Bute will be shell-shocked after last night and I would be surprised if he didn’t want a chance to prove it was a one-off. If they do have the rematch do you think Froch could possibly perform in the same way again, away from his beloved home fans?
3. Finally, the fight on Saturday just backed up what a great performance it was from Andre Ward in the final of the Super-Six (not that we needed anymore proof). If Ward and Calzaghe fought, how would you see that going?
Thanks Dougie and keep up the good work! – Ed, Nottingham, UK
Thanks for emailing me, Ed. It’s great to hear from a Nottingham fan. (I have to assume there are more “boxing heads” in your town now than there was prior to May 26.) I’ll respond to your points in order:
1. HELL YES I was surprised by how the fight went. And like you I never would have predicted that outcome. I like and respect Froch and I wanted him to win but I’m keepin’ it real, Ed. I’m not about to pretend that I knew he was going walk through Bute and score a mid-rounds stoppage like WAY too many fans have done through social media. I couldn’t find a single email from a confident diehard Froch supporter for my Friday mailbag but I had about 50 or more “I told you sos” in my inbox by Sunday morning. If you go by the Facebook comments under my two post-fight stories and on the RingTV FB page, nobody thought Bute had a chance going into the fight. (LOL. You gotta love the bulls___ters.) Anyway, I do think Froch could have kept the pace up for the full 12 if he hadn’t taken Bute out in the fifth. Why? Because he was applying smart, sporadic pressure. He wasn’t going buckwild, Smokin’ Joe Frazier style. And we all know that Froch is used to fighting good opposition hard for 12 rounds.
2. I respectfully disagree with McGuigan and Froch about Bute’s suposed lack of desire for a rematch. I think Bute has a lot of pride and honor. And I still think he believes in himself. He fought Librado Andrade again to erase criticism and doubts about their first bout. Why wouldn’t he do the same with Froch? He’s got a lot more to prove this time. Bute had one interim fight (a fourth-round TKO of Fulgencio Zuniga) before getting back into the ring with Andrade. I expect him to have one or two fights before beating the drums for a Froch rematch.
3. There’s no doubt that Ward is not only the true champion of the super middleweight division, but a very special fighter to have dominated Froch in the manner he did last December. A match up between the prime super middleweight version of Calzaghe and Ward would have been a fascinating contest. Both men are athletically gifted, mentally strong, and intelligent with an uncanny ability to adapt to and eventually shut down a variety of styles. I can’t pick a decisive winner in that mythical matchup. On one hand, I slightly favor Calzaghe because he’s the busier, more active boxer. But then again, I recall that he only narrowly outpointed an old Bernard Hopkins (at 175) and Ward boxes like a young, more athletic version of B-Hop. I think those two would always make for a close distance fight and I don’t think there would be a clear winner in that matchup.
RESPECT FOR FROCH
Hey Dougie, still buzzing from the fight so just thought I’d share a few thoughts while they’re fresh on the mind!
All I can say is WOW. I saw Froch grinding Bute down to a late stoppage, but I thought it was gonna be a close tough fight and could easily see it going the other way. Froch absolutely put it on him and took him to pieces from the word go. I hope people don’t say that Bute was ‘exposed’, overrated and untested (ala Lacy-Calzaghe). Bute was considered a significant (if not overwhelming) favourite, and Carl stepped up to the plate and couldn’t have done a better job on him.
Surely Froch is worth consideration for The Ring’s P4P top 10 now? For my money his wins over Jean Pascal, Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham, Glen Johnson and Bute, and his close battle with Kessler are more than enough to cement a place in the top 10. I think that recent body of work is far more impressive than that of Tim Bradley, Chad Dawon and V. Klitschko (since retirement). On a side note, his omission from Jim Lampley’s ‘Gatti List’ was shocking! Other than the fact Froch doesn’t fight on HBO, how Floyd Mayweather made the cut and Froch didn’t I will never know…
I’d like to see him take a rematch with Kessler next (which I think he can reverse by fighting with more guile, but it will surely be another great fight) then take on the winner of Ward-Dawson. I think tonight showed he learnt from the mistakes he made in the Ward fight and it’d be a lot closer next time around. Where do you see him going next? I bet Showtime and HBO are regretting passing on the fight now, can’t imagine many people will be watching Bute’s next fight now! Hopefully, Froch will get the coverage on HBO or Showtime that he deserves next time out.
Keep up the good work, take it easy! – Callum, UK
I imagine both HBO and Showtime would be interested in televising Froch’s next fight if he indeed faces Kessler in a rematch, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the U.S. subscription cable networks passed on The Cobra again. It’s their loss.
I would favor Froch to avenge his loss to the Viking Warrior, who won’t wilt as easily as Bute did. You better believe that will be another 12-round barnburner (even if Froch tries to fight with more guile). I would favor the winner of Ward-Dawson over Froch, but I’ll never count The Cobra out.
I think he’ll take the Kessler rematch and then move up to the 175-pound division where he can take Nathan Cleverly, Tavoris Cloud or Beibut Shumenov to school.
I agree that level of Froch’s competition over his past eight fight merits pound-for-pound inclusion, anywhere from No. 8 to No. 10.
I also have the feeling that Mr. Lampley will include Froch in his next “Gatti List.”
Unfortunately, there are too many fans and boxing writers claiming that Bute was “exposed,” overrated and untested in the aftermath of Saturday’s fight, which is a damn shame because while the Romanian southpaw wasn’t as battle-tested as Froch, he’s clearly a damn good fighter; and to say otherwise only detracts from one of The Cobra’s most impressive and satisfying victories.
WHAT A BUTE-Y!
What can I say? I’m still flabbergasted after watching Carl Froch’s Bute-ful performance!
All the experts as well as the fans were expecting a much tougher and closer fight either ending in a tight points decision or late stoppage. How wrong were they?!!!
For me this on par with the night Calzaghe gave Jeff Lacy a whupping when everyone expected the opposite. Apart from an even Round 1 it never looked to me as if the title was going anywhere but home with Froch and once he hurt him in the third round the look on Bute’s face said it all. (Tip to Bute here: Never take up Poker!)
The way Froch patiently stalked him from the third round to the finish was clinical: power shots from every angle, not rushing in (even when Bute stupidly offered the opportunity) and not running out of steam when the killer blows where needed. My only question is where was this Carl Froch during the Ward fight? And can he turn up for Froch vs. Ward II?
Apparently there is a rematch clause in the agreement but I think it’s safe to say that Bute was so easily hurt in this fight it won’t matter where they hold the rematch, the result will remain the same. Who would you like to see him fight next? Apart from a rematch with Ward or a unification bout with the WBO champion Robert Stieglitz, where does he go from here? Light heavyweight?
Another bonus was watching the education continue for Carl Frampton who after 14 fights is starting to look rather good and along with Scott Quigg should make the super bantamweight division interesting for us Brits. Along with these two we have Amir Khan, Ricky Burns, Kell Brook, Martin Murray and Kevin Mitchell to hopefully make 2012 a great year for boxing after a disappointing start. Let’s hope Carl Froch’s annihilation of Bute inspires the rest of them! – Chris McCandlish
I agree that this is a good time for British boxing (and you didn’t even mention the quality heavyweights) and I don’t see how Froch won’t inspire the best of your country.
I think an inspired Khan, Burns and Brook can beat the best of their respective divisions (and no, I’m not saying that Brook can defeat Floyd or Manny because we all know those fights will never happen). Murray and Mitchell can give the best of their divisions tough, entertaining fights, but I wouldn’t favor them to unseat the titleholders (although Martin almost did that against Felix Sturm last year). I think Framption and Quigg will crack THE RING’s junior featherweight rankings in 2013 (Scotty might do it this year if he beats Rendall Munroe in impressive fashion in June).
Like most fans, I’d like to see Froch take on Kessler next (although I would gladly give him a pass if he wanted to take on a softer opponent in the first defense of his new IBF title – if anyone in boxing has earned a “gimme” fight, it’s The Cobra). And then I’d like to see how he would fare against the best of the light heavyweight division.
Where was the version of Froch that punked Bute in December when he faced Ward? In the ring, my man. Froch wasn’t able to do what he did to Bute to Ward because the Bay Area badass is harder to hit and mentally tougher than the Romanian Canadian. Ward and Bute also have completely different styles. Ward is all wrong for Froch, who knows it.
The so-called experts (including this one) definitely did not see Froch dominating Bute. That’s for sure. The one-sided 12-round beating Calzaghe issued to Lacy does come to mind in the aftermath of Saturday’s fight, but unlike “Left Hook,” I think Bute can bounce back from his first loss because A) he didn’t take a sustained beating over the distance, and B) he’s a better overall boxer than Lacy was.
FISH OUT OF WATER
I haven’t written in a while. Bute looked like a fish out of water. Having not fought outside of Canada and Romania since 2004 (I think) and all of a sudden he takes a fight against none other than Froch in Nottingham. Their only saving grace is the rematch clause. Otherwise, this is very comparable to Marquez going to Indonesia to fight Chris John for 30K. Totally irrational business decisions. He should have taken a warm up on the road before going in the Cobra’s den. He basically was mauled and ambushed by a very good experienced world champion who knows how to fight.
Bute looked uncomfortable from the get go and he was obviously not prepared for the occasion. Give all credit to Froch though. This cat is mentally tough as nails. I actually think that he can win the rematch even though it’s in Montreal.
Hey I got two mythical match ups for you:
Valero v. Pacquiao at 140
Valero v. Bradley at 140
What do you think? Peace!!! – Juan ‘West Coast’ Alvarado
I don’t think it was an irrational business decision for Bute to travel o Nottingham to defend his title against Froch. For starters, Bute and his handlers believed he could beat Froch (as many fans and insiders believed – despite what has been tweeted, posted and written since Saturday’s surprising result). Next, I’m not sure what Bute was paid to fight Froch, but I know it was A LOT more than $30,000.And then he had a rematch clause in his contract, which Marquez did not have with John. So I don’t see it as a similar situation.
Bute gambled and lost big, but I don’t see why he’s being dragged through the mud for taking a risk by leaving his home turf. Isn’t that something we want to see of more titleholders? Isn’t that one of the things that makes Froch special, the willingness to travel?
Anyway, I agree that Froch will probably win the rematch (if it’s fought), even if it’s in Montreal.
I’d go with the V-nom to upset the Pac-Monster at 135 pounds, but this awesome showdown is a toss up at 140 pounds, where Valero had never fought. I guess I’ll go with Pacquiao by an up-from-the-canvas mid-rounds knockout in a vicious shootout with Hagler-Hearns intensity.
Though he was untested at junior welterweight, I’m gonna go with Valero over Bradley by late-rounds TKO in a competitive fight.
I remember emailing you years ago complaining about Bute and his fraudulent fights. I’m not one to dump a fighter for one loss but the way he lost the first time he stepped up his competition tells me he has been a fraud. It sucks because I like having champions in my hometown but at the same time I’m glad to be proven right after all the s__t I’ve taken from people around here for my opinion of Bute.
Froch is a stud plain and simple, the guy has unshakable confidence and if anyone deserves all the accolades it’s him for the schedule he’s had, the way he’s fought and the classy way he carries himself outside the ring. – Steve the Greek, Montreal
I agree that Froch is a stud. I agree that he deserves all of the accolades he is currently receiving for a sensational performance on Saturday, but I disagree that Bute is a fraud. Bute is for real. He’s a world-class boxer-puncher. He’s just wasn’t as smart, tough and battle tested as Froch. Few fighters are.
Bute was overwhelmed by the better fighter. It happens. It shouldn’t completely ruin his reputation or negate everything he’s accomplished as professional. That just doesn’t seem right to me.
Email Dougie at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer