Former long-reigning super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, out of action since a 2017 knockout loss to Eleider Alvarez, has announced his retirement from the sport at the age of 39.
Bute (32-5) smashed Alejandro Berrio for the IBF belt in 2007 and subsequently defended it nine times with seven knockouts. There was some controversy in his 2008 bout with Librado Andrade after Andrade badly hurt him in the final round, only for the referee to delay the count, but the Romanian-born Canadian stopped the never-before-finished Andrade with a body shot in their rematch 13 months later.
At the time, he was regarded as the top super middleweight to not appear in the Super Six, and entered his fight with Carl Froch as a near two-to-one favorite. Froch apparently didn’t get the memo, absolutely mauling Bute en route to a fifth-round stoppage.
Bute was never the same after that; he looked uninspired in a subsequent decision over Denis Grachev and was thoroughly outclassed by countryman Jean Pascal afterwards. A knockout of Andrea Di Luisa gave way to three consecutive losses; one of them saw Bute “earn” a draw against Badou Jack, only to have it overturned to a disqualification when Bute tested positive for ostarine.
It’s a mixed legacy, to be sure, but there was a time when Bute was The Man at 168. Here’s hoping he finds something new to love.