by David P. Greisman
Lucian Bute was one more round away from victory — at least according to the official scorecards.
Most observers had Badou Jack clearly winning over Bute this past Saturday in Washington, D.C. Yet two judges had it a 114-114 draw, while the third judge had it 117-111 for Jack.
Bute feels he did better later on in the bout and wishes he had found his groove earlier.
“I wanted more. I tried to give more,” Bute said afterward. “I started a bit later in the fight, just like against [last November’s fight with James DeGale]. After the 5th round, I let my hands go. I regret not starting doing it a bit sooner.”
CompuBox stats show Bute cranking up the pace beginning in the fifth. He threw 43 punches in the first, 41 in the second, 52 in the third and 58 in the fourth, but then had 70 in the fifth, 83 in the sixth, 70 in the seventh, 71 in the eighth and 73 in the ninth.
And the final three rounds brought even more volume: 87 punches thrown in the 10th, 102 in the 11th and 107 in the 12th.
“He started a bit slow but we finished strong,” said Bute’s trainer, Howard Grant.
Otis Grant, the brother of Howard and another member of Bute’s team, felt the same way:
“Lucian is in good shape. We know he has a lot in the tank. From the seventh round, we were encouraging him to push the pace, push the pace,” Otis Grant said. “We see that Badou takes the lead; he’s not the same fighter when you pressure him and he’s going back. He [Bute] only really started pushing around the 10th round. He closed. Badou was a bit tired at the end of the fight, too. if Lucian started pushing a little bit earlier the result might be a little bit different.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]