TQBR Roundtable: Lucian Bute vs. Carl Froch

Saturday, Lucian Bute meets Carl Froch in an important super middleweight clash that hopes to clear room for more important fights down the line. The Queensberry Rules staff takes a look at the fight and makes their set of predictions.

At 32 years old, Lucian Bute is hoping to enter the likely home stretch of his career with as many meaningful fights as he can line up to solidify his legacy as one of Montreal’s best fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves.

While opponent and former beltholder Carl Froch has tasted defeat on a few occassions, he is as battle tested as they come and fought perhaps the toughest schedule of any who participated in the groundbreaking Showtime Super Six World Boxing Classic, yet still made it to the finals, coming up short against Andre Ward in a clash for the vacant RING title among the other alphabet trinkets.

As fight night approaches, along with Tim Starks’ stirring preview of this hard to predict fight, we share the rest of TQBR’s staff predictions in regards to this fight and a few other related items.

Who do you think will win Saturday’s fight between Lucian Bute and Carl Froch?

Tim: For Tim’s complete thoughts on this fight, click over to his preview here.

Scott: I like Froch in a close, competitive fight. I’m expecting a lot of rounds that can go either way, as I expect Froch to be more active and Bute to land the harder shots. Bute’s body work may wear down Froch, who has been in his share of wars, but I think he’ll bank the early rounds and enjoy the benefit of a raucous home crowd.

Jeff: I’m going with Froch on this one. I think he will barnstorm late ala Andrade and Bute will fade. The thing is, Froch is battle tested against the very best in the business at his weight. Bute majorly faltered against Andrade the first go around, and hasn’t taken on anywhere near the level of competition as “The Cobra”.

Patrick: Froch by stoppage. I can see Bute out-speeding Froch early on and carefully playing keep away, but once Froch catches up, and I have little doubt he will eventually, he’s a much better finisher than Andrade and tough as nails. And if the fight travels inside, I’m not sure how well Bute will be able to deal with the physical strength (and potential dirty tricks) of Froch. Bute’s chin doesn’t seem that fragile, but I think calling it questionable is fair.

Alex: I like Froch by decision in a hard, close fight. As much as it pains me to say it, Carl Froch does have the “granite chin” that he’s always talking about, so I can’t imagine Bute will be able to put him down or deter him. The Romanian has none of guile of Andre Ward on the inside, so I reckon Froch will be able to bully him and score with the judges and the home crowd.

Andrew: I don’t see how Froch can win this one. In fact, I don’t give the Nottingham gunslinger a chance at all (barring some major malfunction on Bute’s part). Bute is the naturally bigger man, the smarter man and should have no problem outmanoeuvring “The Cobra”, who can be a tad robotic and easily outsped. Froch will have his moments and his Dambusters routine will make a din, but I like Bute to take the spoils via decision and with a margin somewhere between those earned by Messrs Ward and Kessler.

Mark: I must say I am quite surprised how many of my colleagues here are picking Froch to beat Bute. While it is true Bute has shown glimmers of weaknesses in his chin and conditioning, he has looked pretty rock solid in most, if not all, of his fights dating back to the first scary Librado Andrade bout. To a certain point in his career, Froch was touted as having a Terminator like ability to take punishment, but that was dented a bit when Jermain Taylor had him down. Froch has been in quite a few wars over his time, and Bute is much more preserved, in my opinion. I think Bute will largely be able to avoid heavy exchanges with Froch, as well as break him down to the body. Froch has more experience in competitive fights and knows where he stands, and will have the hometown favor, which is the main reason I would lean his way. I don’t think Froch will keep it close enough to steal it on the cards, and in fact I think Bute breaks him down late and stops him in the 10th or 11th.

Do you think the winner of Bute-Froch will get the winner of Ward-Dawson?

Tim: It depends on how it goes with the rematch clause and all — if Froch wins, they’ll have to do it over in Quebec. If Bute wins, I’m cool with Bute-Dawson I’d strangle many a puppy to get Bute-Ward. (But only a minor strangle. A cosmetic strangle, for purely metaphorical purposes. I’d let the creatures live.) If Froch wins twice in a row, I don’t have much interest in Ward-Froch II, but might be down for Froch-Dawson. If Dawson wins there are other guys I’d rather see him face, though, namely the winner of Jean Pascal-Tavoris Cloud. Do I think any of this will happen? Like Scott, I’m skeptical of anything that makes too much sense. But I think Kessler will be a popular target for some of these guys. Froch wants revenge bad, and most everyone can get nice money going to Denmark, where Kessler sleeps on a mattress made comfy by being stuffed full of kroner banknotes.

Scott: Not really. That’s too logical. They’ll all fight Glen Johnson next or something.

Jeff: Maybe down the line, but not right away. I think with a win Bute would go back to Canada and milk the victory against easy competition for a bit. Froch might look to those match-ups, because he seeks out the best, but I think he might take a little breather before moving north.

Patrick: Will they? Probably not, and if Froch wins, he’s due for an easy one, so that’s fine. But will the winner have earned it? Yep. Although if Ward were to beat Dawson, he’d be a pretty heavy favorite over either guy.

Alex: I’d like to see it if Bute wins, but I’ve got 0 interest in a Froch-Ward do-over.

Andrew: If, as the odds suggest, Bute and Ward both remain unbeaten, then I can see a protracted flirtation ala JuanMa Lopez-Yuriorkis Gamboa. If Froch manages to spring an upset then he’ll chase rematches with Kessler and Pascal before cashing in with a big domestic bout against the likes of Nathan Cleverly, James DeGale or George Groves.

Mark: If things play out the way they are setup to and both Bute and Ward come away unscathed, it would be a huge disappointment to not see them paired off right away. With Ward seemingly on the HBO ship and Bute fighting on EPIX and not Showtime, it looks as though it shouldn’t be too difficult to make this happen…and for HBO to fork out the amount of money necessary to get it on. The question becomes are Ward and his people willing to go to Montreal where this fight is much bigger than anywhere else? I talked to Goossen-Tutor head Dan Goossen in regards to thinking of putting Ward-Dawson in Montreal because it would drum up a ton of interest for a Bute fight and the Montreal fight fans are as knowledgeable and serious as they come. Goossen immediately ruled it out, and I would lean heavy that the Ward-Dawson fight ends up in Southern California, perhaps at the Home Depot Center. As much as it makes sense for Ward-Bute to be next, I would bet we don’t get it for awhile.

Hotter #boxing sidepiece, Froch’s girl Rachael Cordingley or Bute’s girl Elena Aprozeanu?

Rachael Cordingley  Elena Aprozeanu

Tim: This is a tough call because I’m so adamantly opposed to artificial bosoms and shrill voices, but while Bute’s love is lovely, Rachael’s total package makes up for her lack of real breasts or tolerable vocal chords.

Scott: Cordingley. 8 days a week.

Jeff: Cordingley by KO.

Patrick: Rachael Cordingley by newspaper decision.

Alex: Cordingley. Though it also pains me to admit that. Perhaps the raucous Nottingham crowd will drown out her shrieking. Not that that worked for Mikkel Kessler in Denmark.

Andrew: That ain’t even a contest – the Scouse banshee walks it.

Mark: Though I appreciate Bute’s girl a bit, Cordingley wins this one close on the cards. For some reason I prefer Aprozeanu’s face, but Cordingley’s body earns her the razor thin decision. 

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.