By Luke Furman
Following Saturday's big fight, the critics attacked IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, who struggled to win a close twelve round decision over inexperienced Denis Grachev at Montreal's Bell Centre. In May, Bute was stopped in five rounds by Carl Froch of Nottingham. An unexpected person has come to Bute's defense. Former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal, often viewed as Bute's domestic rival, is defending his countryman's performance.
Pascal, like Bute, suffered his first career defeat against Froch in Nottingham. Pascal and Froch went to war for twelve grueling rounds at super middleweight, and Froch was awarded the decision.
Pascal knows the road is not easy to return from your first career loss.
"I take my hat off to him. It was not easy, but I know what he went through. It is not so easy to judge from the outside [looking in]. Returning from his first career defeat, his confidence was not at its maximum and his reflexes that were not sharp as they usually are," Pascal told QMI Agency.
"Yes, it surprised me to see Grachev last twelve rounds, he's a tough guy. This is a guy that Lucian normally would have beaten in six rounds. In the twelfth round, I am convinced that we saw the real Lucian, and he will be like that in his next fight. His reflexes came back towards the end of the fight."
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org