The first press conference for the May 26 clash between IBF super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute and Carl Froch was held today in the UK, with both keeping things civil and respectful.
Bute (30-0, 24 KO) is the defending titlist, but has been criticized by many for not fighting outside of Quebec very often, and when he has, he's fought in Romania, his native country. His level of opposition has also been taken to task.
Now, he says, by going on the road in Nottingham to face Froch, he's hunting for the respect he feels he deserves, and he even name-checked an old press enemy of Froch to make his point. From Sky Sports:
"Both Carl and I have had similar careers so far, for me it's the right time to come away from home and defend my belt and in my heart I believe I will be victorious.
"I've been criticised for not fighting away from home. I remember when Joe Calzaghe fought away from home at the end of his career he received the respect he deserved for doing that and that's what I am looking to do.
Froch, sometimes a trash talker and sometimes a "humble" gentleman, was willing to give Bute the respect he wants -- at least for now.
"I've given him stick in the past for not fighting the top opposition, he didn't enter the Super Six but he beat who was put in front of him. He's not often fought out of his hometown so to put his title on the line in my backyard he's either very confident or very stupid - I think he's very confident and he's the champion, so why not be confident."
You can expect Froch's attitude to change eventually, as he'll probably go back to bashing Bute's opposition as soon as he needs to switch things up to further sell the fight -- not that this is a fight that needs to be shoved down anyone's throat, since it's truly relevant and a genuine matchup of top fighters in the 168-pound division.
There has still been no U.S. television announced for the fight, but there have been rumors of Epix picking it up, as well as the possibility that it will be a pay-per-view. Both Showtime (infamously) and HBO have turned down the fight.