In the lesser-hyped half of this Saturday night's HBO double-header, 168-pound titlist Lucian Bute faces fringe contender Edison Miranda in Montreal, in front of what is always an amazing crowd of boxing fans. We'll do the proper fight preview for this and Pavlik-Martinez on Friday, and for now we kick off the preview period with Last Five Fights for Bute-Miranda.
We'll start with the titlist.
Fight 1: Alejandro Berrio (W-TKO-11 / October 19, 2007)
As is easy to see from the list of Bute's last five opponents, he's faced no shortage of guys who can punch, which is basically Miranda's only strength at the world class level. Berrio came in holding the IBF belt, and Bute had earned his shot in an eliminator win over Sakio Bika. Berrio's record coming in was 26-4, with 25 wins by stoppage and all four of his losses coming inside the distance. Bute was able to pretty easily handle Berrio for the most part, and had he not stopped the Colombian with a barrage of punches in the 11th, was well on his way to a wide unanimous decision. Bute led 98-92 on two cards and 97-93 on the third at the time of stoppage. More than the win itself being a big deal, this is notable as being, to this date, Berrio's last real fight. He went back to his home country to knock out a couple bums in 2008, and another bum last year in the Dominican Republic. For all intents and purposes, Berrio dropped off the map after this loss, and fighters like him don't often have a terrible time finding fights.
Fight 2: William Joppy (W-TKO-10 / February 29, 2008)
There's really no other way to say this: Joppy was a crappy pick for Bute's first title defense. He was 37 and hadn't fought anyone of real value since bad back-to-back decision losses to Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor in 2003-04. At his best, Joppy was a good fighter, and he got his chances, but by this point he was well past it. Predictably, Bute dominated the entire fight, winning every round and finally ending it in the 10th. He had put him on the mat in the 9th and forced him to take a knee in the 10th, after which a big flurry ended the fight, which was as merciful as it was anything else. Joppy was too old, way too small, and just way out of his depth against Bute.
Fight 3: Librado Andrade (W-UD-12 / October 24, 2008)
Andrade had only lost to Mikkel Kessler, who by this point was regarded as the world's best super middleweight. And while Andrade lost every second of the fight to Kessler, he made a lot of fans with his incredible punching bag performance. Kessler tore into him with shot after shot for 12 brutal rounds, and Andrade not only wouldn't budge or back down, but he barely looked like he'd been beaten up. It's funny, I don't remember anyone shrieking from ringside for somebody to stop the fight, my God, think of the children, and Kessler-Andrade was way nastier a beating than Caballero-Yordan. But I'll move on. I apologize.
This fight is most famous for Marlon B.
Wrong's Wright's completely incompetent mishandling of the 12th round knockdown that Andrade scored on a shockingly gassed Bute. Some people will argue all day that Andrade should have won by knockout, but we've been over that a million times, and the fact of the matter is that all Bute had to do was beat the count, and he did. I know that Wright completely screwed the pooch, but it's also worth remembering that Bute put a whoopin' on Andrade for most of the first 11 rounds, and then he hit the wall. Andrade valiantly battled throughout the night and took advantage when he could, and it was commendable, but I don't see it as the shocking controversy some did. It was pretty heinous, to be sure, but compared to some of the other crap that goes on...
Fight 4: Fulgencio Zuniga (W-TKO-4 / March 13, 2009)
Another hard-punching Colombian. After 15 fights against scrubs in Colombia, Zuniga got a crack at Daniel Santos' junior middleweight belt back in 2003, and lost the fight by wide decision. That title shot was about as deserved as this one. Zuniga does remain the last guy to beat David Lopez, and he does get some kudos for bursting that ridiculous Victor Oganov bubble, but otherwise there's not much to him. He can punch, but he's always been crude. To be blunt about it, Bute was clearly in a totally different class and pretty much beat the snot out of Zuniga. This was Bute's last fight on Showtime.
Fight 5: Librado Andrade (W-KO-4 / November 28, 2009)
Having been bypassed for the Super Six World Boxing Classic (not saying he would have taken it, and Showtime insists they offered), Bute rematched Andrade 13 months after their first fight. This started off like the last fight, with Bute obviously being the better, more complete fighter, but Andrade constantly there, like a bad cold you can't shake. Then it happened: Andrade went down. Jaws dropped -- here was the indestructible Librado Andrade, down on the mat. He shook it off and seemed fine, though. "Same old Andrade, he just went down once," most of us thought. Then it really happened: Andrade was drilled with a body shot that put him on the mat for the count. I think almost everyone picked Bute to win this fight. I don't think anyone anywhere picked Bute KO-4.
My favorite thing about the two Bute-Andrade fights was the deep respect and friendship that the two fighters developed. When Andrade fought and beat Vitali Tsypko between their two fights, Bute was ringside clapping for and encouraging Andrade, and it seemed truly genuine then. After their second fight, Bute remarked, "Andrade proved to be great opponent, a great fighter and he is a great friend."
Miranda's last five after the jump.
(Photo by Al Bello / Getty Images)
Fight 1: Arthur Abraham (L-TKO-4 / June 21, 2008)
A rematch of their famous broken jaw fight from 2006, this fight only came about because Mikkel Kessler pulled out of/was pulled out of a fight with Miranda, which Showtime had been advertising and everything. So Abraham came in on short notice, stepping up to a 166-pound catchweight to settle the score once and for all. After his typical slow start, Abraham quickly blasted out Miranda in the fourth with shocking and overwhelming power.
Since three of the next four are really uninteresting, let's take a quick look back at the five fights between Miranda's two meetings with Abraham. After losing to King Arthur the first time around, Miranda headlined a Boxing After Dark against Willie Gibbs, and knocked him out in one. He then beat Allan Green in an entertaining 10-round battle on the Cotto-Urkal card. After that, he was placed into a middleweight eliminator with Kelly Pavlik, and that turned out to be a fantastic, but ultimately one-sided beating in Pavlik's favor. I don't think Miranda ever really recovered from that fight. Pavlik put a serious beating on him that night, and if you ever want to see what a guy means when he says "I have to bully the bully," that's a fight to look at. He then knocked out Henry Porras, and quite memorably, David Banks. (Fast forward to about 7:05.)
In short, he beats guys he should, and he loses to guys he should. I mean there's not much more to it anymore.
Fight 2: Manuel Esparza (W-KO-3 / January 14, 2009)
Esparza wasn't old (he was just about to turn 31), but he'd only had one fight since 2000, and it was against a scrub in Oklahoma. Esparza, who turned pro in 1992 at the age of 14, wasn't even that good when he was active. For all it's worth, his career ended in 2000 when he lost his fourth fight in a row. This was a nothing win for Miranda.
Fight 3: Joey Vegas (W-TKO-5 / March 20, 2009)
Miranda then went to England to fight a Chippendale. Vegas was 1-4-1 in his last six. Another nothing win for Miranda.
Fight 4: Andre Ward (L-UD-12 / May 16, 2009)
After those tough tests, he was placed in the role of opponent for Andre Ward. While it was indeed Ward's toughest challenge at that point, it was a one-sided domination by the former Olympian, and didn't teach us much of anything that we didn't already know. Ward could have boxed circles around Miranda years before this.
Fight 5: Francisco Sierra (W-KO-1 / October 22, 2009)
A nothing win for Miranda. The young Mexican Sierra did have wins over Henry Porras and Esteban Camou on his record, but that's about all you can really say.