Photos by Sumio Yamada
LUCIAN BUTE KO10 BRIAN MAGEE
Brian Magee gave it a good try but Lucian Bute was predictably on too high a level in Saturday’s 168-pound championship bout in Montreal. Bute now heads towards a meeting with Mikkel Kessler that will be another huge event in Quebec, where the Romanian fighter has a superstar-like status.
Bute, in his first fight since signing a multi-bout deal with Showtime, looked the part: tanned, athletic, confident and ever dangerous.
Many years ago, the late Chris Finnegan told me what it was like boxing Bob Foster. He said it was like boxing “with a loaded shotgun against your head”. I think it must be something like this for someone boxing Bute.
Even when Magee was having good moments in the all-southpaw fight — and Bute wasn’t having it all his own way — I felt that at any time the Irish challenger could get caught and hurt.
Bute fights like a boxer who knows he has the power to get an opponent into deep difficulties with one punch, and he is constantly trying to lure the other man into making an error of judgement, moving his upper body, feinting with his shoulders, always poised to unleash the left hand that is such a deadly weapon.
Down three times from left-hand shots to the body in the first seven rounds (with one knockdown wrongly ruled to have come from a low blow), the tough and game Magee gathered himself for one more rally, and I thought he had a good round in the ninth.
Unfortunately for Magee, though, his defence was not quite as tight now, perhaps because he had been slowed by the body blows, or maybe because he was feeling mental fatigue from having to concentrate deeply for every moment against such a threatening opponent, and by taking the fight to Bute, and trying to land heavy punches, the challenger was leaving himself open to getting countered. Sure enough, in the 10th round, the unceasingly alert Bute got the opening he had been seeking, timing the oncoming Magee for the beautifully delivered left uppercut that ended the fight.
Magee was just seven minutes away from at least having the satisfaction of lasting the distance — but when a fighter’s defences have begun to erode, seven minutes against a boxer who punches as fast and as hard as Bute can seem like an eternity.