By Luke Furman
Former super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) did enough to win on Saturday night, but he was far from impressive in his twelve round unanimous decision victory over light heavyweight contender Denis Grachev (12-1-1, 8 KOs). Bute, who struggled at times, won a unanimous decisionwith scores of 115-113, 118-110 and 116-112.
Bute was looking for a more inspiring performance after a one-sided five round TKO loss to Carl Froch in May. A rematch between Bute and Froch is already agreed up on for March. Both Bute and his trainer Stephane Larouche admit there is a lot of work to complete before they get in the ring with Froch for a second time.
"We can not jump to the ceiling," said Larouche. "Lucian found a way to win, but it was not perfect. We gave [Bute] a score, [for his performance] somewhere between 6 and 7 out of 10. With the kind of defeat that Lucian suffered in May, he went very far. We picked a difficult opponent for Bute's return [and he couldn't afford to] lose because Lucian is 32-years-old. I liked what I saw. We still have work to do before returning against Froch in March."
Bute was happy with the win.
"I was a little tense. I was never been worried during the fight. I moved well and I kept my eyes on the target. It was a tough battle and I'm happy with my performance overall. I had before me a very tough opponent and I'm glad I went twelve rounds. I really needed that. There was some my blood getting into my [left] eye [from a cut] and it was diffuclt to see at times. Since May, for me, it's clear that I want a rematch against Carl Froch. It may take place in March of next year, and if it does I'll be happy. I can not wait to get back on the ring," Bute said.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org