When Lucian Bute and Librado Andrade meet for the second time on November 28, it's a safe bet that a lot more people will be paying attention than they did for the first tussle between the two in 2008.
That night, Bute largely dominated 11 rounds before succumbing to a brutal assault from the tireless Andrade in the final round, the fight ending under controversial circumstances and a fire storm surrounding referee Marlon B. Wright, who some believe gave Bute too much time to recover from a knockdown, and others believe blatantly did not call knockdowns beforehand, with Bute wobbling around the ring, holding himself up with the ropes.
Whatever you thought, you were left excited, and I don't think anyone held anything against Bute, a classy fighter who came to a later Andrade fight to cheer on his former opponent. He's even done the right thing, giving Andrade a rematch.
Showtime televised the first fight, and this time, HBO has decided to snatch up the action. Bute and Andrade will main event a promising Boxing After Dark card from the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, and have just finished a six-city tour of the province, according to FightNews.com.
Both fighters sound like they're anticipating the bout just as much as fight fans are. Bute had this to say:
"I'll be ready. I made some mistakes last October. It'll be different this time."
But Andrade, in warrior fashion, wins for best quote:
"I ran out of time last time. But I did what I had to do. Make no mistake, I got to him. It's the beginning of a rip, and we're going in there to tear it apart."
I know some people really think Andrade deserved to win that fight, but I'm not really in that camp. I think it's indisputable if you go back and look at the tape that Bute beat the count, and would have beaten any count (he was up by about an eight-count). Whether you think it should've been stopped as Andrade chased him around the ring is another story, I suppose.
If Andrade beats Bute in the rematch, it will be a genuine upset. Bute is simply a far more skilled boxer, which takes nothing away from Andrade, who has gotten a long way on very few strengths. He's a good puncher with a ridiculous will to keep going, and he takes a shot as good as anybody. But he's also slow, flat-footed, and predictable, and I think he knows that, too. He wins because he finds ways to get at his opponents, ways that men with lesser desire and toughness would never uncover.