Lucian Bute hasn't officially "stepped aside," but he will allow for Carl Froch to face Mikkel Kessler in the spring, and take his own interim bout, before hopefully facing Froch in a contractually obligated rematch in Montreal in fall 2013.
"We don't know yet about my next fight. Maybe we'll know by the start of January. If I think that I need another fight before Froch, I'm going to take it. But, I do want to fight Froch again because I want to beat him. The plan is to fight in Montreal. The folks at InterBox have told me that I will fight in Quebec or in Montreal."
Bute (31-1, 24 KO) was annihilated by Froch in five rounds in May, and came back in November with a shaky win over Denis Grachev, in a fight where the Romanian-Canadian star did look better as the bout wore on, and closed strong. Bute's team didn't seem like they wanted to rush into a Froch rematch immediately, though the fighter gave the indication he would do just that. Now, with Froch and Kessler near a rematch deal, Bute is doing what is probably the smart thing for him, and taking the chance to get another fight -- maybe even two -- in.
Bute, 33 in February, could still use a solid win to not only get his own confidence back, but to convince the public that there's real value beyond gate money in a rematch with Froch. At the moment, I don't think many see it as a necessary fight, and the news of Froch-Kessler II happening instead has been met pretty favorably.