NEW YORK – Unbeaten International Boxing Federation (IBF) Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute (27-0, 22 KOs) will make his eagerly anticipated first start since signing a multi-fight agreement with SHOWTIME Sports when he makes the seventh defense of his 168-pound crown against former European titleholder Brian Magee (34-3-1, 24 KOs), of Belfast, Ireland, live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on Saturday, March 19 on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. The telecast will begin with the rebroadcast of the March 12 action-packed SHOWTIME PPV® fight between World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Welterweight champion Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Mayorga.
Bute, who signed with SHOWTIME in November 2010, is one of the most talented pound-for-pound and popular fighters of this era. He has won all but one of his title defenses by knockout, including four consecutive victories inside the distance.
The immensely popular 31-year-old Romanian-born fighter lives in Montreal, where he routinely draws a sellout crowd. The 6-foot, 2 ½-inch natural lefthander, who has supreme counter-punching ability, speed and power, is coming off a ninth-round knockout of Jesse Brinkley on Oct. 15 in Montreal.
Bute won the IBF title from Alejandro Berrio in 2007 and made successful defenses against William Joppy, Librado Andrade twice, Fulgencio Zuniga and Edison Miranda. In his first appearance on SHOWTIME, Bute retained the IBF belt with a lopsided 12-round decision over Andrade on Oct. 24, 2008, in one of the most talked about final rounds of the last decade.
Bute, who is training in Miami for this southpaw vs. southpaw showdown, is not taking the Irishman lightly. Magee fought Super Six World Boxing Classic Semifinalist Carl Froch – a possible opponent for Bute in the near future – tough for 10 rounds before losing via knockout in the 11th in May 2006.
“Magee is an experienced boxer,” Bute said. “He has a good right hook, he's aggressive, he will never quit and he can punch. I can't underestimate him and I have to be well-prepared. I respect him as a fighter, but I fully expect to rain on his St. Patrick’s Day parade”.
“I'm ready for a long and tough fight. It was not an easy fight for Carl Froch, and I don't expect it to be for me either.”
While his immediate concentration is on Magee, Bute knows that, if triumphant, he will set himself up for several possible matchups on SHOWTIME, including what would likely be a highly anticipated showdown with the eventual winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
“Now I'm focused fully on Brian Magee,” Bute said. “But after March 19, I can set my sights on getting ready for the winner of the Super Six tournament.”
The 35-year-old Magee has not lost since 2006 and is also riding an impressive streak of four consecutive knockouts. Magee has won six in a row and nine of 10 since his loss to Froch.
Ranked No. 8 by the IBF, the 6-foot southpaw feels Bute is not looking past him.
“I don’t think (Bute) will take me for granted,” Magee said. “I think he will prepare for me like a champion. Without a doubt he’s the best in the division right now. He’s a hard fighter to have a plan against because he’s good at everything. He’s going to go back and go forward. He’s a very worthy world champion.
“He’s a lot trickier on his feet than Froch. They are similar in size but I think Lucian is better at speed and movement and boxing ability. I try to be a good boxer-fighter. I admire boxers who get in the ring and use their skill. I try to box and I think of myself as very determined. I always give 110 percent.”
The event is promoted by InterBox.
Steve Albert will call the action from ringside with Al Bernstein providing color commentary and Jim Gray serving as ringside reporter. David Dinkins Jr. is the executive producer of SHOWTIME Sports with Ray Smaltz producing and Bob Dunphy directing.