On October 24, 2008, Showtime had a boxing main event that pit super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute against noted tough guy Librado Andrade in Montreal. For the vast majority of the fight, it was all Bute, as he outboxed, outmaneuvered, and battered Andrade en route to a clear decision victory. And then the final minute came around.
I think the word "robbery" is thrown around far too often, and I don't feel as though Andrade was properly robbed. The rules dictate only that Bute must get up -- he did, and however you feel about the count, he was up by eight by any reasonable count.
What isn't at all in dispute is the fact that referee Marlon B. Wright lost his composure for whatever reason, and thus lost control of the fight. A referee simply can't do that. You can also easily argue that Bute, being held up by the ropes on more than one occasion before going down, should have been given an eight count before the knockdown.
Home cooking? Maybe a little. But Bute stole nothing, and Andrade wasn't mugged.
Fact is, the rematch talk has been brewing since the moment the fight ended. Bute defended against Fulgencio Zuniga, and Andrade stormed through Vitali Tsypko. Bute was ringside for Andrade's win over Tsypko, too -- he was cheering his rival heartily, giving the thumbs up.
Both of them know this fight is good for them. The rematch moves to HBO, Bute is working on a six-day streak of being considered by many to be the world's No. 1 fighter at 168 pounds, and it's maybe the hottest division in boxing. Even with the Super Six taking up so many names, there is a lot of talent floating around at super middleweight. Bute (No. 1 in the BLH rankings) and Andrade (No. 8) are two of the most noteworthy "outside" stars.
I've said repeatedly that I feel Bute will win a rather lopsided decision, and I haven't changed my mind on that, so I wouldn't give you a great big analysis. If you saw the first fight, you probably get why I'd think that will be the outcome. Before he gassed out, he dominated. Andrade was too plodding, too slow with his hands, and all he had for most of that fight was his chin.
But playing devil's advocate against myself, I think Andrade has a decent shot at the upset. His power is legitimate. He's a tank, absorbing punishment better than anyone in boxing today. Bute has to know he can't knock this guy out -- I don't think anyone can knock this guy out. He looked like he wanted the stoppage when the first fought. It cost him. It nearly cost him his title and his undefeated record.
Andrade can win if he gives Bute the bum rush and tries to muscle him. Bute is plenty strong, but it doesn't matter with Andrade. Bute will want to stay mobile, box and move constantly. Stay out of Andrade's wheelhouse, and keep some gas in the tank, and Bute should be fine. But if Andrade can get his workrate up and catch Bute with some clean shots, really anything can happen with this fight. If it turns into a shootout at any point, Andrade will win that war.
It's also worth noting that for as much as can be made of the reach differential (72" to 67") in the Guzman-Funeka undercard bout, the main event has an even bigger gap. Andrade's 78" reach is very, very long for the weight, and Bute's is at just 70", which is quite short for the division.
I'm sticking with my pick: Bute by wide decision. But an Andrade upset won't shock me in the least. (OK, maybe a little bit.)