By Keith Idec
Lucian Bute still wants to fight Andre Ward to try to prove he is the best super middleweight in boxing.
The undefeated southpaw won’t worry, however, about out-doing Ward when he encounters Carl Froch on Saturday night in Nottingham, England, Froch’s hometown. The Romanian-born Bute knows, of course, that outside observers will promptly compare how he fares against Froch to Ward’s win over the former WBC 168-pound champion (EPIX; 6 p.m. EDT; 3 p.m. PDT).
“It makes sense to think that way, but I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking beyond Carl Froch,” Bute said. “I’m here [in England], I’ve been focusing on this guy right now, and people can make their own call on this. People are going to make their own evaluation, but now I would like to say I, yes, I want to compare myself [to Ward]. But at the same time, I’m just now focusing on Carl Froch.”
Ward defeated Froch (28-2, 20 KOs) relatively easily in Showtime’s “Super Six World Boxing Classic” final Dec. 17 in Atlantic City. The unbeaten WBA/WBC super middleweight champion declined to box Bute (30-0, 24 KOs) in his next fight, which left to pursue fighting Froch, who lost a unanimous decision to Ward.
If Froch beats Bute, they’ll head toward an immediate rematch in Montreal, Bute’s adopted hometown. If Bute wins, he’ll wait and want Ward (25-0, 13 KOs) to defeat Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs, 2 NC) in their probable Sept. 8 fight for Ward’s super middleweight titles.
If Bute and Ward win, a potential bout between them would be even bigger early next year because Bute will have beaten perhaps his toughest opponent to date and Ward will have defeated a gifted fighter commonly considered boxing’s best light heavyweight.
“It’s going to be a technical fight, a [strategic] fight,” Bute said of Dawson-Ward. “And I think that it doesn’t interfere right now with what I am doing. And I think, at the end of the day, when you keep winning, everybody wants to see the winner(s) … and the best fight the best.”
When asked to assess Dawson-Ward, Bute said, “I think it’s very, very close, about 50-50. But I would give a little edge to Dawson right now.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.