Bute's Lopsided Win Over Andrade Ends In Controvery

bute25.10.08 - By Paul Strauss, photo by Tom Casino/Showtime - The judges were forced to score a unanimous victory for Lucien Bute, but ringside commentators Steve Farhood and Nick Charles vehemently expressed their disgust with the referee Marlon Wright, who they felt stole the fight from Andrade. Specifically, they felt the referee did so by administering a Dempsey vs. Tunney type "Long Count". Not surprisingly, Andrade agreed.

In the post-fight interview Steve Farhood asked referee Wright point-blank if he thought his twelfth round actions cost Andrade the fight. Ref Wright responded quickly, " Andrade cost himself the fight by not staying in the neutral corner (as the rules require), and by not listening to my instructions to return to the neutral corner.."

The ref is from Montreal (the location of the fight), which Farhood and Charles made mention of during the course of the fight, and then again with greater emphasis at the conclusion. While the action was occurring, they commended Andrade for agreeing to fight Bute on the Romanian's newly adopted home turf, and further by agreeing to the selection of a referee from Montreal. The insinuation of a hometown decision was obvious.

Leading up to the twelfth and final round, it was obvious to all in attendance (and television viewers) that Bute was way ahead on points, so much so that Andrade needed a knockout to win. Bute (boo'tay), a southpaw, was faster than Andrade, and repeatedly would beat him to the punch, catching Andrade as he tried to capture territory with constant advancement.

The problem with Andrade was he led with his head and not a jab. Bute would catch him, sometimes with one or two punches, and other times with multiple punch combinations. Most of the time Andrade would just shrug off the light punches and resume the chase, but a few times it did appear that he was stung.

Once on the inside, Andrade would find himself in the clutches of Bute, or being spun off balance by Bute's right gloved hand pulling behind his head. Occasionally some of Andrade's punches would make their way to the target, whether it be the body or head.

Neither man appeared hurt during much of the fight, but Andrade claimed during the post-fight interview that he felt he hurt Bute several times, and as early as the third round. If so, Bute covered it up well.

Just the appearance of the two fighters gave the impression they should be in different weight classes. Andrade appeared much thicker, more rugged and powerful, which was indeed the case. He seemed increasingly more dangerous as the fight progressed, muscling and man-handling Bute as much as referee Wright would allow.

But, the question remained, could he get to Bute and negate the large point differential. By the eleventh round, it appeared Bute was reaching out to clinch, as he had previously, but because of extreme fatigue, he could not successfully grasp Andrade's arms to tie him up. Therefore, Andrade was finally able to inflict serious damage, albeit still with mostly glancing blows. But, the effect was obvious as Bute's body started getting bounced around a bit like one of those air inflated, sand bottomed toys. In other words, he had no legs.

By the twelfth round, Bute was stumbling around, totally exhausted. Andrade was infused with new energy at the vulnerability of his long sought after prey. He unleashed a torrid attack. Viewers knew Bute was in desperate straits, and wondered whether he was going to survive.

In the corner, Andrade was attempting to pummel Bute, and Bute was stumbling around like Otis on Friday night in Mayberry. The referee partially inserted himself, and at first Bute bounced into the ropes, and then caromed off and stumbled backwards all the way across the ring to the opposite corner. Andrade was in hot pursuit.

Andrade was desperately trying to land the finisher as the clock quickly wound down. Finally, he landed the big right hand that sent Bute to the canvas. Andrade was directed to the neutral corner, and the referee started to pick up the count, but after only tolling off a couple of numbers, he turned back to Andrade, and yelled at him to get back to the neutral corner. He yelled and pointed a couple of times, and finally when satisfied Andrade was complying, he turned back to continue with the count.

A slow motion rerun of the action showed that Bute appeared to have gotten up before the count of ten, but the delay in administering what was described as a "long count", took things to the bell. Farhood and Charles thought as much as twenty-four seconds passed, which conveniently brought things to the concluding bell. Consequently, Andrade was never afforded the opportunity to administer the obvious finishing touch. All he would have had to do was get close enough to Bute to blow on him and put him down and out for the knockout win. It didn't happen.

What did happen was close to a riot. Andrade's corner man immediately rushed across the ring to first verbally assault the referee, and then to push him (a couple of times). Andrade approached the referee, which I'm sure made Marlon Wright a bit nervous. Andrade stood in front of him, looking down into his face, and placed one gloved hand on each of the referee's shoulders. He leaned in, head down, and appeared to be pleading and consoling the official. Finally, he embraced the referee, and then stood back to await the forgone conclusion of the judges, which was a unanimous decision victory for Bute.

Strictly speaking this was not a "long count" in the sense of the famous one. Bute did appear to get up before the count of ten. But, the referee's actions delayed resumption of the action, and allowed Bute to make it to the bell, and the conclusion of the fight. The debate will undoubtedly rage on about the referee's actions. Was he technically correct? Did he cost Andrade the fight, or did Andrade cost himself the KO, assuming he could have knocked Bute down again? Opposing fans will be throwing barbs back and forth about this one until...........well maybe a possible rematch! It's a safe bet Marlon Wright won't be ask to referee.

Article posted on 25.10.2008

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