Ward/Froch on Lucian Bute

By Robert Ecksel on December 14, 2011
Ward/Froch on Lucian Bute
“Lucian Bute has to fight the winner of this fight to be the best." (Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)

When asked if they can be “universally regarded as the best” without having fought Lucian Bute, Ward and Froch found unanimity…

Andre Ward and Carl Froch don’t like each other. Anyone who has seen Showtime’s Fight Camp 360° knows that there’s no love lost between the two finalists of the Super Six Boxing Classic. There is grudging respect, as well there should be since they’re the two super middleweights left standing and are getting it on this Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. But they seem to go out of their way to agree to disagree as to who’s the better the fighter, no less than whose hand will be raised at the final bell.

The differences between Ward and Froch—stylistically, temperamentally, pugilistically—was as glaring as ever during Tuesday’s final press conference at the Edison Ballroom in midtown Manhattan. Ward has said things Froch hasn’t liked. Froch has said things Ward hasn’t liked. The hostility between the two men isn’t of the Cotto-Margarito variety, and for that we can be grateful. Still, Andre Ward would like nothing better than to shut Carl Froch’s mouth, and the feeling is mutual.

Despite all that, there is one thing upon which the WBA champion and WBC champion have found common ground, and that one thing is Lucian Bute. Bute wasn’t part of the Super Six, he chose not to participate, yet he has haunted the tournament more in his absence than he might have had been present. While Ward and Froch were fighting the likes of Mikkel Kessler, Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell, Sakio Bika, Jermain Taylor, Allan Green and Glen Johnson, Bute was doing his thing in Canada and reaping publicity which Ward and Froch feel that he did not earn and does not deserve.

When asked, among other impertinent questions at yesterday’s presser, if they can be “universally regarded as the best” without having fought Bute, Ward and Froch found unanimity, however fleeting.

An annoyed Froch interrupted the questioner.

“Most definitely not,” he said. “I’m sorry to be ignorant and stop you in your tracks, but Lucian Bute isn’t in the mix. I know he’s IBF champion, but the two names on his record are Brian Magee and Glengoffe Johnson. That’s it. He lost to a guy, he got knocked out by guy called Librado Andrade in round 12 of his fight. He actually got KO’d. The referee picked him up off the canvas, washed his windshield, and then 40 seconds later the bell was rung. He won the fight on points, but in my opinion it wasn’t fair.

“Lucian Bute needs to fight a couple of top level fighters before he can call himself the best of the best, or in the top three in the world, or the top two in the world like myself and Andre Ward. Obviously he’s IBF champion, and that would make the winner of this tournament and the winner of these two glorious belts a natural progression to go unify the titles. But he might get a chance to get an absolute whupping, because that’s what would happen. You’ll see what when it happens.”

Andre Ward listened attentively before offering some thoughts of his own.

“I agree,” said Ward. “Lucian Bute has to fight the winner of this fight to be the best. That’s the bottom line. No disrespect to Lucian Bute, but he’s fought B-minus and C-level competition. He’s done what he’s supposed to do. He got them out of there. But he’s been preserving himself, trying to wait for the winner of this tournament, while we’ve been putting in a lot of hard work. So absolutely not. We’ve got nothing else to prove in terms of who’s the best after this fight. He has to come to us. We don’t have to go to him.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Recap: Mikkel Kessler vs. Andre Ward - Super Six World Boxing Classic

Andre Ward: I Am a Fighter - Super Six World Boxing Classic - SHOWTIME

Recap: Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler - Super Six World Boxing Classic

Carl Froch: I Am a Fighter - Super Six World Boxing Classic - SHOWTIME

Froch KO Taylor Hichlights

Lucian Bute vs Librado Andrade - 1/4

Lucian Bute vs Librado Andrade - 2/4

Lucian Bute vs Librado Andrade - 3/4

Lucian Bute vs Librado Andrade - 4/4

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  1. Bruno 12:38am, 12/26/2011

    that’s what wrong with boxing compare to other sports, both of Ward and especially Froch should shut the hell up and fight Bute therefore we could see who is the real deal number uno. damn boxing, always have to wait and the boxer decides who he is fighting.

  2. FrankinDallas 03:21pm, 12/16/2011

    Everybody chill out! All three guys are good boxers…all I care about is seeing a good fight, and Bute ALWAYS gives the fans a good fight, so does Froch and to a lesser extent, so does Ward. Andre most definitely studied at the “Evander Holyfield School of Skull Studies”; every one of his opponents needs to know that his bald head will be coming at you all fight long.  In any event, these are the three best guys at 168….surely Bute vs the winner of Sat’s fight will be a compelling bout.

  3. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:20am, 12/16/2011

    Bute is suffering a bit from what Calzaghe suffered from—folks questioning the stature of those on his dance card. As many are well-aware, I did not place too much emphasis on this criticism of Calzaghe because I was comfortable with what my eyes were showing me. I don’t place a ton of credence in the criticism levied at Bute for the same reason—my eyes are not lying to me.

  4. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:16am, 12/16/2011

    The Thresher—Yes, someone (you) appears to be cheapening Ward’s win over Kessler. Here’s the quote that offers up the suggestion: “Ward…fouled his way to victory over MK.” If I misinterpreted your words, please accept my apologies. To the best of my recollection Ward did not suffer any point deductions in the contest with Kessler and his victory had a lot more to do with his skills than “fouling his way to victory”. But that’s just my opinion.

  5. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:11am, 12/16/2011

    Salem came into the Bute bout seriously out of shape—5 1/2 pounds over the limit. He was 36 and questionable when he fought Calzaghe and 37 (woth no question about being done) when he fought Bute. For at least the prior 2 years Salem had looked like 10 pounds of crap stuffed into a 2-pound bag—not able to safely make weight. Salem had a career spotted with point deductions for head butting. There is plenty of proof Salem was a serial dirty fighter. Ward has never had a point deducted in his pro career. As I said, my #1 and #2 (in that order) are Ward and Bute. I bet we’d all like to see Bute step it up and prove to everyone that in spite of not having a batism by fire like those in the Super-Six have endured, he’s still worthy of being at/near the top of the 168 pound division.

  6. the thresher 07:09am, 12/16/2011

    “Kessler entered the bout as a strong favorite and taking Ward’s win away (especially considering his DOMINANCE before, during and after the 8th round), is simply not fairminded (IMO).”

    Is somone saying this or are you reading this into it?

  7. "Old Yank" Schneider 06:41am, 12/16/2011

    Most observers saw Ward having an easy time timing and getting out of harm’s way with/from Kessler before, during and after the 8th round (the EIGHTH!)—the round where a cut opened over Kessler’s eye from an accidental butt.  Kessler entered the bout as a strong favorite and taking Ward’s win away (especially considering his DOMINANCE before, during and after the 8th round), is simply not fairminded (IMO).

  8. the thresher 05:39am, 12/16/2011

    Who is talking about Froch? I am comparing him to Ward.

    Read the post and stop hip shooting if that is at all possible. Try some heavy lifting research if that is at all possible.

  9. "Old Yank" Schneider 04:51am, 12/16/2011

    The notion of if A beats B and B beats C, then A beats C has been discredited many times. I like Bute—as I’ve posted, he’s my #2 at 168. But stacking Froch’s dance card up against Bute’s and there is NO COMPARISON—Froch has traveled the harder path by a country mile.

  10. the thresher 07:05pm, 12/15/2011

    And Bute is a genuine one punch knockout fighter unlike either Froch and particularly Ward. Once he finds his distance of separation, he is ready to launch his savage laser uppercut. But now he also has some nice hooks to blend with the savagery. People badly underestimate how much Bute has improved.

  11. the thresher 07:02pm, 12/15/2011

    Bute carries Johnson for 12 rounds (they are close friends). Johnson went 1-1 in the Super 6. Johnson loses a MD to Froch, Bute send Miranda into dreamland. Ward is extended by Miranda. Bute waxed Mendy (29-0-1). Mendy beat Bika. Bute is the first to floor and then KO Andrade. Bute beats Bika long before Ward does. Ward goes 12 with Green. Johnson ices Green, Bute dominates and shuts out Johnson.

    Ward beats an exposed AA. and fouled his way to victory over MK.

    Pavlik TKOs Zuniga in 9. Bute KOs him in 4.

    Joe Calzaghe beats the head butting Kabary Salem over 12 rounds.. Bute stops Salem in the 8th.

    Bute essentially ends the career of the great Dingaan Thobela with a fast stoppage win in 2004.

    I could go on and on with this analysis, but I believe I have made my point. If you are going to take me on with something like this, at least do some research and comparative analysis. Nothing I dislike more than lazy reesearch and/or shooting from the hip.

  12. the thresher 06:01pm, 12/15/2011

    Jeepers, I guess I should consider myself chastised

  13. "Old Yank" Schneider 05:17pm, 12/15/2011

    raxman—Like you, I see a lot to like in Bute. His relative weak dance card (compared to Ward and particularly to Froch) does not bother me. I like what I see. I just object to folks who think he’s been tested in the fire like so many others at 168 have been.

  14. raxman 03:23pm, 12/15/2011

    i’m with yank on this - my recollection when it all started was that bute didnt want to be a part of S6. Bute has obvious talent, he looks fantastic and i’m loving, repeat loving the long left uppercut to the liver!! but his resume is a joke. andrade, johnson, miranda, magee - come on! you can’t rate him as great when he hasn’t fought anyone great and for the same reason can’t compare him to froch, kessler or even ward. the biggest thing that has happened to bute is being saved by a crooked referee - although he’s granting a rematch immediately and then TCB was a class act. from where i sit, at least for now, he’s just another international fighter who has stayed at home and built a fan base in his home country that can guarntee him 1mil per fight - when the stakes are that high you pick your opponents carefully becasue the general home town fan only wants to see the win and doesnt care about quality of opponent (i can say this coz i’ve seen same thing with green and mundine). calzaghe was the same so maybe we expect bute to start venturing out from behind the protective curtain near the end of his career.

  15. "Old Yank" Schneider 01:49pm, 12/14/2011

    Pat—Great point. Pavlik is largely unproven at 168, but he had a hell of a ride at 160! Great post!

  16. Pat dewberry 01:18pm, 12/14/2011

    Don’t forget Kelly Pavlik. He now is training in California with a new trainer. I would not be surprised to see him fighting for the title late 2012.

  17. "Old Yank" Schneider 12:14pm, 12/14/2011

    Iron Beach—My info says Bute was invited to participate and declined. Happy Holidays!

  18. "Old Yank" Schneider 12:13pm, 12/14/2011

    Did someone accuse Ward of acting un-Christian like? Would that be “hate” or some version of Ella Fitzgerald’s Memorex?

  19. the thresher 08:45am, 12/14/2011

    A nervous breakdown on a thread is nice thing to witness…...

  20. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:40am, 12/14/2011

    I like Bute. He’s in my top 3 at 168 (Ward, Bute, Froch—in that order). But the crack that he’s not as proven as others when viewing past competition has some truth to it.

  21. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:38am, 12/14/2011

    Oh for craps sake; all rising talent was offered a path to settle who is the best of the best at 168 pounds and Bute opted out. His opt-out speaks volumes to the truth Froch and Ward spoke at this press conference. I just don’t see speaking one’s assessment of the truth as disrespectful. If any fan thinks Bute’s dance card holds a candle to Froch’s dance card let him speak. Here are their respective past half a dozen bouts: For Froch—Johnson (on the downslope), Abraham (at/near his peak), Kessler (at/near his peak), Dirrell (at/near his peak), Taylor (questionably near his peak) and Pascal (at/near his peak); For Bute—Johnson (on the downslope), Mendy (fringe talent), Magee (fringe at best), Brinkley (way less than fringe), Miranda past prime), Andrade (past prime). ‘Nuf said.

  22. AKT 08:27am, 12/14/2011

    @Thresher - you do have to agree though that the S6 did start off with the cream of the crop in the super-middleweight division, and therefore, implicitly, anyone else Bute has fought since then can hardly have been A+ standard. So Andre and Froch do have a point (even if Froch does sound a little as well as uncessarily derogatory).

  23. Iron Beach 08:21am, 12/14/2011

    As I understand it Bute was never invited to S6, Froch-Ward should be a battle, lookin’ forward to a great fight Sat. night. The concensus opinion is Ward by UD…I just can’t call it, hell I was totally off on Pac-Marquez so I’ll leave the pickin’ to ya’ll…

  24. the thresher 06:14am, 12/14/2011

    One of the many things I like about Bute is that he does not engage in this kind of garbage. He lets his fists do his talking for him.

    Showing disrespect says more about Froch and Ward than it does Bute.

  25. the thresher 06:10am, 12/14/2011

    How very un S.O.G. of SOG

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