With Kelly Pavlik choosing to sit on the sidelines and complain about money, IBF super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute is on the hunt for a new opponent for his November 5 fight. The Bute vs Pavlik fight was the target for the last few months, with Pavlik set to take a final tune-up on August 6. But as has been extensively covered and discussed, Pavlik felt insulted by a $1.35 million offer to fight Bute (in part because he thought Mikkel Kessler was offered $3.5 million, apparently not even close to true), and called off his August 6 fight along with the Bute fight.
Today, Rick Reeno reports that IBF light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud has been contacted by Team Bute to see if he's interested in the fight, and trainer Al Bonani says they're interested in a catchweight bout:
"We received a call to see if we were interested in fighting Bute. We heard from Don Majeski, who is Bute's matchmaker and I said 'sure, let's do it.' We're the IBF champ at 175 and he's the IBF champ at 168, so maybe we could do it at a catch-weight of 173."
There are options at 168, but they aren't great names, and a catchweight fight with Cloud would be interested. It could and likely would have Cloud's 175-pound belt on the line, so this could also be Bute testing the waters on moving up. There has been a lot of talk that Bute will be targeted by light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins if Hopkins gets by Chad Dawson on October 15, so maybe there's something to that with this idea. Bute and his team may be tired of waiting at 168, and may feel that their level of recent opposition is as questionable as some of their doubters believe. There would be the issue of Bute facing the winner of the Super Six, and with his Showtime deal and Hopkins' HBO contract, that could be hard to maneuver, but we hey, there's a chance both could happen in 2012.
Glen Johnson is also still in the running, and is perhaps the favorite to land the fight, but Johnson is coming off of a loss and Cloud is an undefeated, younger light heavyweight. Which fight would you rather see?