Lucian Bute will defend his IBF super middleweight belt against Jesse Brinkley on October 15. The fight was officially announced earlier today by Interbox, Bute's promoter. The two will meet at the Bell Centre in Montreal, where Bute has become a major star.
Brinkley (35-5, 22 KO) is a tough veteran from Nevada who will be getting his first shot at a major title at the age of 33. Without question, he will be a heavy underdog against Bute (26-0, 21 KO), and the fight is sure to meet a few criticisms because on paper, it's not terribly competitive, which is becoming something of a norm for Bute, no matter what you think of his talents (and I, personally, think plenty of his talents).
But with the division's best fighters (except Bute) locked up in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, and Kelly Pavlik not being prepared right now to face someone as good as Bute as he prepares to move up in weight, Brinkley was about as good as it was going to get. He's earned the fight, with wins over Joey Gilbert, Mike Paschall and Curtis Stevens in his last three bouts. Sure, none of those guys are the cream of the crop, but they're solid wins. Brinkley was set to face Sakio Bika in a final eliminator to face Bute, but that, like most Bika fights, fell through. Bika is currently scheduled to face Jean-Paul Mendy on July 31.
Brinkley, who may not be the most awe-inspiring boxer you'll see but has plenty of guts, is anxious for the opportunity.
"I am beyond excited to fight Lucian Bute for his IBF super middleweight championship. This is something I have dreamed about my whole life, and I feel that it is long over due. I know I’m going in as the underdog, but there is no doubt in my mind that I’m bringing that belt back with me to the United States."
Bute says he won't overlook Brinkley.
"At this level it is very dangerous to take any opponent lightly. Brinkley surprised many experts during his last bout. He fights very bravely in the ring and I expect him to be fully prepared and to give it his all in the Bell Centre ring."
My feeling, like will be the feeling of everyone who isn't Jesse Brinkley, is that Bute is just far too good for Jesse and will probably stop him in the middle rounds. Bute is currently a wrecking machine, and while I could and in fact will lightly criticize his resume -- with the asterisk on the criticism being, again, that he can't currently get much better -- Brinkley compares favorably (for Bute) to guys like Librado Andrade, Edison Miranda, etc.
The fight is scheduled for a Friday night, so unless ESPN2 picks it up (which I'm guessing they'd love to, and after a really weak FNF season so far, the money is probably there), don't expect American TV.