By Keith Idec
Lucian Bute’s trainer stated Tuesday that the hand injury that forced Bute to withdraw from his May 25 fight against Jean Pascal was a lingering nuisance that worsened during a sparring mishap last week.
Stephan Larouche added Tuesday that after surgery Thursday, Bute’s left hand will remain in a cast for 6-8 weeks. Then the Romanian-born boxer will undergo physical therapy and should be able to fight before the end of the year.
“Lucian was having swollen hands after the Glen Johnson fight,” Larouche said on a conference call, referring to Bute’s unanimous-decision win against Johnson in November 2011. “He had swollen hands, sometimes the left, sometimes the right. Sometimes it didn’t heal properly. The doctor told us he had some kind of a hairline fracture after the Glen Johnson fight.
“As time goes on, you feel pain here and there, but it’s always something that you can tolerate. You go for some medication and some pain-killers and you do the job, you do the sparring and after three days you don’t feel pain no more. It comes to a point sometimes that it’s just too much. Lucian hit the elbow of Lonnie Thompson in the third round last Wednesday and we had to stop sparring. I told him, ‘Don’t throw the left no more.’ Then he took off the glove and it was swollen, like a little football, and it was an aggravated injury last week. It was present, but always under control.”
Larouche and Bute believed that the pain would subside, as it had previously, and Bute would move forward with the Pascal fight at Bell Centre in Montreal. By Monday, however, it became clear that Bute wouldn’t be able to participate in what would’ve been one of the biggest boxing events in Canadian history.
“We iced the hand,” Larouche said. “The next day it was a little better. Then we sparred with one hand on Friday and sparring was decent, was good. We figured by Monday we’ll be fine, but we went for the MRI last week and on Monday he couldn’t touch his hand and Tuesday we had to come to [this] decision.”
Surgery should enable Bute to regain full use of his hand, without the pain he has felt in recent years.
“The doctor said they’re going to take off some minor piece of bone,” Larouche said, “bone that has been created through the years and is now, from what I understand, useless in Lucian’s hand. And it will reduce the friction between the tendon and the bone. So I think when those bones are going to be taken out, it’s just going to feel a little bit better. It’s not a major surgery … but I think it will improve in the near future and probably will improve Lucian’s hand for the next couple of years.”
The 33-year-old Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) had hoped to rejuvenate his career against Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KOs) almost a year to the day after his devastating defeat to Carl Froch (30-2, 22 KOs), who dominated Bute on his way to a fifth-round technical knockout win in their 168-pound championship unification fight last May 26 in Froch’s native Nottingham, England.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.