Lucian Bute vs Eleider Alvarez
Record: 32-3-1 (25 KO) ... Streak: D1 ... Last 5: 2-2-1 ... Last 10: 6-3-1 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 6'1½" / 72" ... Age: 36
Thoughts: Bute was rolling right along in his career until he ran into Carl Froch in 2012. Froch kicked his ass. There’s no other way to describe it. Bute was steamrolled physically and mentally, run right over by a superior fighter. And since then, he’s 2-2-1, and has never once looked like the guy we wondered about missing the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
Bute’s best showing since Froch came in defeat against James DeGale in November 2015, which he followed up with a draw against Badou Jack in April 2016, a fight that Bute lost by most observers’ eyes. He still looked competent, and still surely is (he also failed a drug test, so that’s something to remember). But he’s not a strong contender anymore.
Bute dabbled at light heavyweight in 2014, losing in a listless performance against Jean Pascal. He’s past his prime and he’s never regained his confidence fully from the loss to Froch.
Record: 21-0 (10 KO) ... Streak: W9 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 10-0 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 6'0" / 75½" ... Age: 32
Thoughts: Alvarez is older than most people think, and he’s also just plain not been looking special in any of his recent fights. He doesn’t have a whole lot of serious power, and has gone the distance in each of his last four fights against Isaac Chilemba, which is understandable, plus Isidro Prieto, Robert Berridge, and Norbert Dabrowski, guys you’d ideally like him to look a bit more sensational against, but to be fair, they’re all tough and I’m not suggesting they’re easy to stop.
So who is “Storm” Alvarez as a fighter? Is he a legitimate contender, or a fluffed-up pretender? The truth is probably somewhere in between. He’s a solid fighter, but doesn’t have a plus skill that sets him apart from the pack. In a somewhat weak division at the moment, he’s definitely top 10, but I’ve got him closer to the back end than the front. (I had him No. 9 in the year-end top 10 for 2016.)
I don’t think there’s a lot of mystery to him. And I think he’s plenty vulnerable in a step up. Is Bute the guy to beat him? That’s the question to be answered.
Matchup Grade: C. It’s not a *bad* fight, but it’s certainly not worth a $40 PPV pricetag for most. Lucky for you, we’re watching so you don’t necessarily have to, and we’ll have live coverage on Friday night. Plug! As for the fight, it’s OK. I’d top it out there. It’s a half decent test for Alvarez on paper, a fight he could lose if he’s leaning more toward mediocre.