Hearn: Froch's Obligation is To Bute, Not Stevenson!

By Jake Donovan

The ring return of Lucian Bute this weekend was originally designed as a lead-in to a tentatively scheduled March ’13 rematch with his lone conqueror Carl Froch.

Plans remain in place for their sequel to happen. One of the lingering questions, however, is what exactly will be at stake.

Bute (30-1, 24KO) faces Denis Grachev on Saturday evening at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. The bout will be his first since his one-sided knockout loss to Froch in May, which ended his 2 ½ year reign as super middleweight titlist. Their showdown earlier this year took place in Froch’s hometown of Nottingham (UK) as part of a two-fight deal, with the sequel to take place in Canada.

Froch’s brutal destruction of Bute ruined any chances of an immediate rematch, with both fighters opting for interim fights before once again facing each other. Two weeks after Bute’s showdown with the unbeaten Grachev (12-0-1, 8KO) in Montreal, Froch makes the first defense of his third reign as champ against Yusaf Mack in Nottingham.

Wins by both will set up a second fight between the two, but it could wind up as a non-title fight. Standing in the way of Froch’s reign extending beyond November 17 – assuming he gets past Mack – the level of cooperation from his mandatory challenger.

Adonis Stevenson earned a crack at the title after scoring a 12th round stoppage of Donovan George in their final elimination bout on October 12. The bout was Stevenson’s second sanctioned eliminator in 2012, defeating Jesus Gonzalez for the #2 ranking earlier this year.

The showdown with George came with the understanding that the winner would be next in line for a title shot. Froch and his team were well aware of this possibility when first signing for a two-fight series with Bute, but believed to have an acceptable contingency plan in place.

“We have a contract with Lucian Bute and InterBox and we will honor it," Eddie Hearn, Froch’s promoter, told TVA Sports in Canada earlier in the day, when pressed on the issue. “If both boxers win their upcoming fights, they will fight next March in Montreal.”

In order for Froch to still have his title by then, he will either need to squeeze in a title defense against Stevenson, or file for a waiver with the IBF.

“We have tremendous respect for the IBF and we have an excellent relationship with them,” Hearn said. “That is why we will ask for an exemption (after his fight with Mack). “If the IBF refuses, we will drop the belt and Carl will still fight Lucian. He is 35 years old… We want to fill the Bell Centre, and for that it must be a rematch against Bute.”

The IBF’s office in New Jersey was closed due to extreme weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy raging through the Northeast U.S. region and therefore was unavailable for comment. However, the concern might not be their response, as a waiver for exemption is considered a non-starter for Stevenson and his team.

“It's nothing personal, everyone has to protect their interests. We have no bitterness towards Froch and Bute,” GYM Promotions President Yvon Michel told TVA Sports. “However, I am convinced that both will not want to sign (to face Stevenson). We oppose the exemption.”

While a fight with Froch or Bute would prove far more lucrative, Stevenson’s team firmly believes the fighter has earned the right for his next bout to be for a major title. Such will remain the plan, no matter the opponent or circumstances – barring a major change of heart in the next couple of weeks.

“Adonis – as the mandatory challenger – would then fight for the vacant title against the highest ranked (super middleweight) by the IBF,” insisted Michel. 

Stevenson’s mind is elsewhere these days, mourning the losses of head trainer Emanuel Steward as well as his grandmother, who died earlier last week. His win over George came without Steward in his corner, as the Hall of Fame trainer was still hospitalized at the time.

In the event of a vacancy, Stevenson’s camp would go down the list of IBF-ranked super middleweights in facing the highest rated available contender sometime in early 2013. The next leading candidate at the moment is unbeaten super middleweight Edwin Rodriguez, who is coming off of a one-sided 8th round knockout over Jason Estrada in late September in his first HBO headliner.

None of that will take place until both Bute and Froch get their upcoming bouts in the books, both of which will air live in the United States.

Bute’s showdown with Grachev serves as Saturday night’s main event on Wealth TV, whose last boxing telecast was Stevenson’s win over George. Froch’s title defense against Mack headlines an independent pay-per-view in a special Saturday matinee edition.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by ddangerous on 10-30-2012

[QUOTE=Freedom.;12651616]Bute will beat Froch in the rematch.[/QUOTE] Man, that is a bold statement. I have nothing against Bute, but Cobra is the best super middleweight in the world besides Ward, and I think he's going to eventually pounce on Bute…

Comment by Cuban Linx on 10-30-2012

Carl Froch is a gentleman!

Comment by grape drink on 10-30-2012

I wouldn't be surprised if Grachev beats Bute.

Comment by D-MiZe on 10-30-2012

[QUOTE=rampant;12651858]Maybe, but Froch is a natural SMW not sure why he would want to move up to LHW nothing to prove and he's nearing end of his career. With regards to Cleverly, that name in the same sentance as Froch…

Comment by gingeralbino on 10-30-2012

Froch has said he'd consider rematching Bute at LHW or at a catch weight. But Bute is the only person he'd move up for

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (31)
Top Headlines DeGale Confident That He'll Beat, Expose Weaknesses in Golovkin Roach Admits: Crawford is NOT My Favorite Fight For Pacquiao Schaefer: I Couldn't Be Coming Back With a Better Fight Card Crawford To Face PBC Fighter Next? Then Pacquiao in 2017? Roach: Pacquiao is Too Big, Lomachenko is Not That Good Javier Fortuna vs. Omar Douglas Camp Notes Pacquiao vs. Lomachenko is The Fight Arum Wants To Make Most Terry Flanagan vs. Orlando Cruz on November 26, Motorpoint Roach: Golden Boy Protecting Their 'Cash Cow' From Golovkin John Molina Wants to Dethrone 140 Kingpin Terence Crawford Schaefer Explains Ringstar Business Model, PBC Relationship Roach Still Wants Pacquiao vs. Canelo: I Love That Fight! Parker's Promoter Still Pushing To Keep Ruiz Fight in Auckland Manny Pacquiao: I Need a Convincing Win To Prove I'm Still Here Scott Quigg Makes Featherweight Debut on Anthony Joshua Card Pacquiao vs. Vargas Lands on BoxNation Katie Taylor Inks Promotional With Eddie Hearn, Pro Debut Set Oscar De La Hoya: 2016 is Maybe The Worst Year For Boxing Roach: I Don't Think Andre Ward is The Fighter He Used To Be Video: Freddie Roach Talks Golovkin, Kovalev vs. Ward, More Manny Pacquiao, Freddie Roach Have Retirement Pact in Place Video: Justin Fortune Discusses The Heavyweight Division Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr: Sure, Why Not Video: Bob Arum Talks Schaefer, Trump, King, UFC, More Arum: I Would NEVER Do Pacquiao vs. Golovkin - It Was a Joke! Video: Manny Pacquiao Putting in Work For Vargas Title Clash Video: Freddie Roach on Thurman-Garcia, Lebedev-Gassiev, More Mason Menard's Fight Now Off Due To Bookkeeping Issue Molina Still Wants Danny Garcia Fight: He Has Holes in His Armor Video: Manny Pacquiao Talks Camp, Retirement, Vargas, More Demetrius Andrade Very Motivated as Jack Culcay Clash Nears Photos: Manny Pacquiao Putting in Work at Wild Card Gym Canelo Says The Ball is in Golovkin's Court: Accept The Offer! Ricardo Mayorga Crashes Into Taxi, Pursued For 200K in Damages Canelo Eager To Prove WBO Prez's Prediction of Mayweather KO Vences: A Win Over Casey Ramos Will Open A lot of Doors For Me Photos: Juanma, Vazquez Explode in Very Tense Final Presser Ustinov's Manager Expects WBA To Order Klitschko Title Fight Premier Boxing Champions Reveal Season 3 Schedule Helenius Faces Basile on 12/17, Chisora Rematch Eyed For March

Latest Active Forum Threads