Lucian Bute got a test from a very game, very tough opponent tonight, but largely dominated his fight against Belfast's Brian Magee, winning by TKO at 2:04 of round ten on a left hand uppercut.
Bute (28-0, 23 KO) did some great work to the body and in the latter stages of the fight, really dominated with his accurate, hard punching. But Magee (34-4, 24 KO) deserves credit for showing up ready to fight. As I expected, the former European champ was as game as it was going to get, giving Bute some tough looks early and roughing up the hometown fighter in Montreal early on with some good inside work.
But it was Bute who made the necessary adjustments and just had a lot more offensively than did Magee. Bute said that Magee was tougher than he expected, and to me, while Bute may not gain a significant amount of stature for this win, I think Magee has to be counted as a good win. He's a double tough guy who didn't back off the whole way, went down three times ruled (four times in reality), and just kept coming. Bute said he realized after four rounds that his body shots were the key, and he stuck with the strategy. Still, it was an uppercut to the head that finished off Magee, as the referee made a quick decision to wave off what had become an increasingly one-sided fight.
I think Bute has established himself as the best body puncher in boxing today. His uppercuts to the body are unorthodox and hard to prepare for, because nobody throws that punch the way he does. He's perfected it. Magee gave it his very best, but was just outgunned as expected.
In the larger scope of things, it became clear tonight that Bute's next opponent will be Denmark's Mikkel Kessler (43-2, 32 KO), who said he has no problem coming to Montreal to fight Bute, but Bute also said he has dreams of fighting in Las Vegas and at Madison Square Garden. Bute-Kessler is a great matchup, and I expect many will install Bute as a real favorite.
Kessler said after the fight, "He can have his hometown. I don't care. I'll kick his ass anyway." Turn it up, folks, that's a good one.
For those wondering, Bute is also picking Carl Froch and Andre Ward to make the Super Six tournament final.
It was a good, entertaining scrap tonight, and the favorite did his job, while the underdog gave his best. Not much more you could have asked from this one, and a nice capper to a big day in boxing.