Romanian-born, Canadian-based Lucian Bute became the new IBF super middleweight champion with an 11th round knockout of Colombian Alejandro Berrio in Montreal, headlining Friday night's results.
I still don't understand why there was no American TV interest in a Bute-Berrio title fight. Two guys with good power in front of an ecstatic crowd for the 27-year old Bute's first title shot, one of the division's rising stars taking on a dangerous champion. Berrio is hardly a Calzaghe or Kessler, but he's a big puncher and generally puts on a decent show. Bute himself has always impressed as far as I've ever seen.
The real story is that the 168-pound division has another undefeated major champion. Bute is legit, and a strong No. 3 for what is a competitive, if top-heavy, division. If Kessler downs Calzaghe, I wouldn't be surprised to see him try to work out a deal with Bute to unify three title belts, which would leave only Anthony Mundine's unclaimed, and it's unlikely Mundine is going to fight again. Should Calzaghe beat Kessler, I doubt we'd see Calzaghe-Bute, and I don't blame Joe for that. He's only planning to fight a few more times, he should make the most money he can with the biggest fights he can get.
Bute controlled most of the fight despite being drilled in the second round. The TKO came on an uppercut followed by a big flurry, causing the referee to step in and stop the bout. Bute improves to 21-0 with his 17th KO, and the 31-year old Berrio now stands at 26-5.
In Berlin, former heavyweight champion and momentary Lewis-conqueror Oliver McCall saw his 11-fight unbeaten streak come to a halt against the guy that maybe should have ended the streak at four in 2005, Juan Carlos Gomez. You likely recall that Gomez defeated McCall by unanimous decision in 2005, only to have the result changed to a no-contest due to a failed drug test after the fight. Gomez has never stopped denying that he had any cocaine in his system.
The rematch went about the same as the first for the 42-year old McCall, who may now be out of options, as this was a WBC eliminator bout -- for what purpose, I do not know, since the champ and interim champ meet in February, and after that, the winner is being forced to give Vitali Klitschko a gift title shot. Gomez won on scores of 118-110, 118-110 and 116-112, similar to the 98-92, 98-92, 96-94 cards in 2005.
McCall has got to consider hanging it up now, doesn't he? He's 42, and he has only a couple of notable wins since Lewis destroyed him in their rematch in 1997 -- Akinwande in '01, Sinan Samil Sam earlier this year come to mind, and that's about it. I suppose he could hook up for a bout with Evander Holyfield, if the two of them are still delusional enough to think that they're going to get another world title shot. McCall is now 51-9.
As for Gomez, I think he's really earned a title shot, at least as much as just about anyone else has. He was a solid cruiserweight champion (although he did duck Jirov to move up) and he's lost one fight ever, when Yanqui Diaz caught him in the first round. He's 43-1 with 35 knockouts. Being a relative unknown in the States means nothing, since he's well-known in Germany, and there are plenty of heavyweight champions that can draw a house in Germany.
Also in Berlin, veteran Italian light heavyweight Silvio Branco scored a technical decision win over fellow oldster Peter Venancio in nine rounds, and Domenico Spada knocked out Alpaslan Aguzum in the opening round of their middleweight bout.
On Shobox, Travis Walker lost his spot in line for heavyweight title contention when he was knocked out in fifteen seconds by big Oklahoman southpaw T.J. Wilson, when he jumped out of the gates with a flurry of punches, backing Walker into a corner, and causing referee Raul Caiz to stop the bout. Walker and his corner are livid with the decision, and plan to file an appeal for an immediate rematch. Walker said afterward, "He didn't do anything. Maybe I need to see something else. He didn't hit me with anything that hurt." To be totally honest, 15 seconds of the first round is a horribly premature stoppage, and some of the fights we see stopped these days are just awful, awful decisions. Imagine if the referee had stepped in on one of those big flurries in the fifth round of the first Barrera-Morales fight.
Other results: Allan Green knocked out Sherwin Davis in the second round. How badly do you think Green wants a rematch with Edison Miranda at super middleweight? Carl Johnaneson beat Michael Gomez via sixth round TKO for the BBBofC super featherweight strap. Johanneson (27-3, 19 KO) will next face Kevin Mitchell (24-0, 17 KO) alongside the Khan-Earl fight on December 8.
Today/tonight has plenty of international action as well, with middleweight champ Felix Sturm, rising middleweight contender John Duddy, flyweight titleholder Cristian Mijares and former flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan all in action. We'll have more on their results later in the evening.