For a champion as dignified as Lucien Bute to leave home, cross the pond and battle in the hostlie territory of his opponent's hometown, to have not simply lost but to have been decimated in front of a huge audience, must be, and I understate the maginitude, utterly devastating. Unimaginably so.
Not only was Bute seeking to maintain both his undefeated record and title, he was widely considered the favorite to win against a man most boxing fans had already determined was a known quantity; a gamer but not a world beater. The only problem for Bute and those who doubted Froch, was Froch. The man came possessed; prepared to exexcute with extreme prejudice.
And did he ever.
The fight was electrifying and not easily forgotten. Froch will now move on with options galore. Bute on the other hand has other considerations. Career defining ones.
Once, not that long ago, Bute found himself on queer street, up a full eleven rounds on the cards with nearly three minutes left on the clock. He stumbled semi-conscious, avoiding blessedly another punch that would have taken him not to his corner at the bell but to the nearest hospital. But miraculously, he survived. And won.
This time he didn't. There was no where to stumble, run, or hide. So today he must look in the mirror and ask himself first..... he can tell us later....who am I. How did I get here. What do I want. How much do I want it.
Great fighters lose; often in devastating fashion. Tommy Hearns comes to mind. So does Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Ray Leonard, Alexis Arguello, Miguel Cotto, to name but a few. Some return. Some never do.
It's boxing. Gut check time. It's Man up..... or step aside.
I don't know Lucien Bute. I don't know this morning if those closest to him do either. In fact, I'm not sure Lucien knows.
But all the metaphors aside, now we will find out.
Here's wishing him all the best.