Reports out of Canada say that there have been preliminary talks to match IBF super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute with former world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik in November. Top Rank's Bob Arum says that discussions have taken place, and that both parties are interested in the fight, even if it means that Pavlik would travel to Montreal for the bout.
Bute (28-0, 23 KO) is currently set to knock off a mandatory challenger in Romania on July 9, when he faces Jean Paul Mendy (29-0-1, 16 KO). Mendy has a pretty record, but it's fairly empty and he isn't considered to be any real danger to Bute, as he received the mandatory challenger position from a DQ-1 win over Sakio Bika, a fight in which Bika was dominating pretty easily.
Pavlik (37-2, 32 KO) returned to the ring on May 7 with an iffy, rusty win over Texas club fighter Alfonso Lopez on the Pacquaio vs Mosley card. The former 160 lb champ hadn't fought in a year, and had a stint in rehab in the meantime. He looked soft and out of practice in May, but that was to be expected. Even if he's not the fighter he was a few years ago, the 29-year-old Pavlik would still be a better on-paper challenge for Bute than the Romanian-born, Montreal-based titlist has seen in quite a while now.
With the Super Six World Boxing Classic wrapping up late this year, perhaps on October 29, Bute would be the obvious first opponent for the winner. He's a drawing card in Montreal, but also isn't really one anywhere else, and it's unlikely that Andre Ward or Carl Froch, feeling they would be the A-side of a fight with Bute, would travel to Montreal to face him. Bute might just need something bigger, and with Mikkel Kessler's sights now set on Robert Stieglitz, Pavlik is about the biggest name out there to fight.
Also mentioned lately as a Bute opponent has been Glen Johnson, but Johnson is 42, coming off of a loss, and probably not the money option that Pavlik would be.