IBF super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute will return to the ring on April 14, with or without Carl Froch. The two have been negotiating a potential home-and-home pair of fights, but that appears to be off the table for now, with Froch's promoter Eddie Hearn recently saying they'd be happy to let it go for now and work on a one-fight deal in Canada for this summer.
"Froch would give us a very interesting fight, it would be a big seller. But Lucian will fight against anyone, it is left in the hands of [InterBox President] Jean Bedard and our focus is on training," [trainer Stephan] Larouche told Canadian TV channel Reseau Info Sports.
Bute (30-0, 24 KO) last fought on November 5 against Glen Johnson, a miserably disappointing and lifeless fight where Bute faced an opponent who gave no indication that he ever intended to win the fight, or even really fight much at all. The popular Romanian-Canadian has one fight left on his Showtime contract, which was set up so that he would be available in the third bout to face the winner of the Super Six, which of course wound up being Andre Ward last month.
But Ward (25-0, 13 KO) isn't going to fight Bute in April. Right now Ward isn't looking to do much of anything, except some fight commentary for Showtime, and the Froch fight probably isn't going to happen either.
That would mean that Bute could fight a "top-ranked IBF contender," although at the moment there is no No. 1 or No. 2 ranked contender, and hilariously, the No. 3 is the guy who just got trucked in Germany by Arthur Abraham (Pablo Farias).
So he has no IBF obligations at the moment, really -- and that could open up a date against Andre Dirrell (20-1, 14 KO), who returned on December 2 with a walkover TKO win over 37-year-old club fighter Darryl Cunningham.
If we get Bute vs Dirrell, then at least that's an interesting fight. But there's a good chance we get something lesser, and Showtime has proven before that they'll gladly pass on a really weak Bute fight, and one has to figure the network is going to try and force a Bute vs Ward fight, and not let Bute walk from his deal without going to the end of the earth to try and make it a reality.