Eleider Alvarez impressive in fifth-round stoppage of Lucian Bute
Two light heavyweights who reside in Quebec faced off on Saturday, and only one is likely to move forward with their career.
Unbeaten contender Eleider Alvarez, who originally hails from Colombia, scored a punishing fifth-round stoppage over former IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute at the Videotron Center in Quebec City and will now target the division’s elite.
Alvarez, who is rated No. 4 by THE RING at 175 pounds, closed the show with two powerful right hands to the jaw which decked Bute. The veteran southpaw was essentially out from the first blow and involuntarily left his chin in the air for the second. He bravely struggled to his feet, but was in no position to continue when referee Marlon Wright halted the action. The official time was 2:22.
Both men went through the expected right-hander versus left-hander reconnaissance in the opening session and jockeyed for position with their feet. Not much landed, although Bute did manage to get his southpaw jab working for a short spell and Alvarez found the target with two quick right hands to the head in the closing seconds.
In Round 2, some blood emerged from a cut on top of Alvarez’s hairline which was likely caused by a clash of heads.
Alvarez was extremely relaxed and mixed up his offence well. He caught Bute’s long shots on the gloves and countered effectively to the mid-section. In Round 3, he started fast, stunning the former titleholder with sharp single shots before taunting him verbally. Even this early, Bute was short on answers and his body language conveyed discomfort. Blood also trickled freely from a wound on the bridge of his nose.
Bute did have a good spell in the fourth when he trapped Alvarez (22-0, 11 knockouts) in the corner and unloaded with some sharp combinations. Predictably though, he was paid back in full and absorbed a solid barrage of counter punching. Nothing was working for Bute and it was perhaps for the best that he was put out of his misery.
Alvarez’s finishing blows were set up by body punches and this stoppage will be a big boost to his confidence. Bute was competitive in a loss and a draw to James DeGale and Badou Jack respectively, at super middleweight, and the safe money would have been on Alvarez winning this bout on points.
It’s difficult to see any more doors opening for Bute (32-4-1, 25 KOs). He made nine successful defenses of his title between 2008 and 2011 before things fell apart in spectacular fashion against Carl Froch, who stopped him in five rounds in May 2012. Despite mixing with some of the best fighters in the super middleweight and light heavyweight division since that time, Bute’s career has never truly recovered. A positive test for a banned substance at the end of last year also hurt his reputation badly.
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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