Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bute Blasts Out Zuniga; A Look at the Super-Middleweight Picture

By Lee Payton

If there were any lingering effects from the from the 12th round of his last fight, Lucien Bute didn't let them show. He looked like his usual self in putting Fulencio Zuniga away in 4 rounds.

The Bell Centre was rocking for their super middleweight title holder as round one began. Things started out rather slowly, with Bute measuring his man and seeing what he brought to the dance.

Not too much happened over the next two rounds, but it was obvious that the home fighter was in command. Zuniga couldn't find the angle for his best punch, and was clearly the smaller man in the ring. I don't think he landed a single meaningful punch in the fight.

Round 4 was the end of things as Bute decided to come forward. He started to test a left to the body as a counter to the pawing right hands coming his way, and moments later he landed a smashing uppercut to the solar plexus of Zuniga.

The challenger was able to rise at the count of 9, partly because of his fighting heart, and partly because of a slow count issued by the referee, but he had nothing left. Bute went on the attack with flurries that overwhelmed his opponent, and the fight was called off at 2:25.

This was probably more of a televised set-up for a rematch with Andrade, who will be facing Vitali Tsypko in Montreal on April 4th. To Bute's credit, he said he would give the hard-nosed challenger a rematch down the road, so now it is up to the rock jawed Mexican to beat Tsypko.

Just a few thoughts on the super middleweight division...

I think most recognize Mikkel Kessler of Denmark as the top man in the division, and rightly so. He was second best to Calzaghe before the Welshman moved up, and he gave a good show when the two met in 2007.

That said, Bute has to be #2 until someone actually beats him.

I love 168 right now. You can hardly make a bad fight out of any of the top 10 guys around.

Let me throw out some juicy match-ups for you to think about:

Bute vs. Kessler I don't know where this would take place, but it's the Dane's straight right hand vs. the Canadian's athleticism and speed. Kessler isn't at his most comfortable against lefties, but his laser right is about the perfect weapon to deal with them.

Andrade vs. Bika Someone tell me this wouldn't be fight of the year. Andrade pressing and shaking off Bika's wide bombs for 12 rounds. Who's gonna give?

Taylor vs. Froch This one's happening on April 25th at Foxwoods. Taylor is an offensive machine with a boxer's mentality. Froch is the perfect foe to bring out the fighter in Jermain, because he doesn't give his opponents a choice. You have to fight him. I can't wait for this one.

Miranda vs. Lacy Alright so neither guy can get over the hump. Who cares? Throw them in a ring together and it's bombs away!

Green vs. Ward vs. Dirrell I'm ready to see what these guys are really made of. Who's for real?

Pascal vs. Codrington Two hard-punching fighters with athleticism and fire. The winner is back in the picture.

There is a lot of fun to be had at 168. Hopefully these guys can get in there and mix it up.

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