by David P. Greisman
This past Saturday’s doubleheader involved two super middleweight title fights that were ostensibly setting up a unification bout between the winners. That seems to be where we’re still headed. James DeGale defended by picking up a unanimous decision over Rogelio Medina, while Badou Jack retained with a draw over Lucian Bute in a fight that observers felt Jack deserved to win.
DeGale and Jack will now negotiate to meet later this year. And Bute, who has faced both, wants whoever comes out on top.
“I’ll go back to the gym and face the winner of the unification bout,” Bute said afterward. “My two fights against those guys were really close and I deserve to face the winner.”
Bute put up a good fight but fell short against DeGale last November, losing a unanimous decision.
Now that he’s faced both men back-to-back, Bute was asked who he thinks will win should Jack and DeGale go on to face each other. Bute was diplomatic with his answer.
“If they fight each other, it's a 50/50 fight," he said.
Bute is now 36 years old and is 32-3-1 with 25 KOs. He is nearly four years removed from the day he was, well, removed from his world title. A world title reign that began in 2007 continued for nine successful defenses over the next four years, ending in May 2012 with a fifth-round stoppage loss to Carl Froch.
Since then, he’s topped the then-undefeated but otherwise limited Denis Grachev, had a 14-month layoff, lost to Jean Pascal at light heavyweight, come back down toward super middleweight for a win over lower-tier Andrea Di Luisa, lost to DeGale and had the draw with Jack.
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]