A bad night for boxing: Librado Andrade: robbed of his KO win; Lucian Bute: dead man walking

By John Alutus - Lucian Bute vs. Librado Andrade, one of the biggest fights in Montreal for years, will mostly be remembered for the wrong reasons. Coming into the final round, Lucian Bute, the IBF Supermiddle Weight Champion, had won at least nine of the eleven rounds, frustrating Librado's Andrade and nullifying his usual relentless and very effective style..

Bute kept Andrade at bay with precise straight lefts, turned him with good footwork and controlled the ring, the distance and the pace of the fight very well. His efforts took their toll, as expected, and the seventeen thousands in attendance at Bell Centre looked worried as Stephane Larouche spurred Bute on with cries of "Do you want to be a World Champion? Then go out there and give it all you've got!", before the final round.

Into the twelfth, Bute was a spent force. His legs had no more spring in them. Instead of running from his opponent, Bute planted his feet and traded toe-to-toe with Andrade in the middle of the ring. He dug deep, giving his all, but Andrade had too much and got the better of him. With thirty seconds of the fight left, Bute was holding on for dear life, his head gone. Instead of taking a knee to buy some time, he continued to try and fight Andrade off him, desperately. Beaten, he stumbled across the ring to escape, bouncing from one side of the ring to another. Andrade pressed further, looking for the knockdown, finally dropping Bute near a neutral corner. Referee Marlon Wright, a resident of Montreal, like Bute, sent Andrade to the other neutral corner, turning his back on Bute. Within six seconds, showing great bravery, heart and strength of will, Bute was on his feet, resting unsteadily against the cornerpost, his arms stretched out for balance on the ropes. His head looked completely gone. The referee turned towards Bute; by then, he had counted to six. He then looked towards Andrade and sent him back to the neutral corner again. He insisted Andrade follow his order for the next five seconds. He turned again towards Bute and started counting from six again. With Bute still resting against the corner posts, his hands down, Wright got to eight and asked him to raise his gloves. Bute raised his gloves. The referee wiped Bute's gloves, turned towards Andrade and signalled that the fight should continue. Bute moved off the cornerpost, making a small step forward, the final bell sounded and the referee signalled the fight over, within two seconds of the restart of the fight.

In total, twenty seconds had elapsed from the moment Lucian Bute fell down to the end of the eight count. It was a very long count. When asked to justify the long count, Marlon Wright explained that Andrade had not followed his orders to stay in the neutral corner, attempting to gain an unfair advantage by taking a few steps towards the centre of the ring, which forced him to order him again to get back and stay in the neutral corner. Asked whether he thought his long count cost Andrade the win, the referee said Andrade cost himself the fight by not obeying his orders, forcing him to repeat them again until he was fully satisfied they were followed, giving Bute the extra couple of seconds he needed to beat the count. Bute would not have beaten the count had Andrade not gifted him those extra precious seconds, Wright said.

Even allowing for that explanation, why did the referee re-start his count from six and not from seven? Even with a twenty second respite, Bute still looked in no position to continue anyway. Was Bute helped by the referee who gave him a long count? Was he saved by the referee who didn't ask him to prove he could continue by ordering him to step towards him? Ultimately, he was saved by the final bell, whose ring stopped Andrade from going in for the kill one last time. The only fair decision would have been to wave the fight off and give the TKO win to Andrade, with a couple of seconds left of the fight, in my opinion.

There is no satisfactory explanation or excuse for the way referee Marlon Wright officiated, I think. In my opinion, he robbed Librado Andrade of his win, in the dying seconds of the fight. Bute fought bravely, showing great heart to beat the count, as every Champion would, in the defence of a title he slaved away for years to earn.

The true IBF super middleweight champion of the world is Librado Andrade. The IBF, as the most legitimate of the Big Four sanctioning bodies, should review the case, take appropriate actions where referee Marlon Wright is concerned, reverse the decision, hand over the title to Librado Andrade and order an immediate rematch in a neutral location, under an impartial, fair referee. Boxing fans across the world demand it!

After he recovers and has a chance to review the tape of the fight, Lucian Bute should prove his character and fair-play by demanding from his promoter InterBox an immediate rematch with Librado Andrade, under an impartial American or European referee, preferably in the USA. InterBox should try and placate the fury of the boxing fans throughout the world, incensed at the injustice that occured last night in Montreal, by honouring such a demand, whatever the cost. Canadian boxing fans have always cried foul when they saw their home fighters robbed abroad. Last night, they had to suffer the slap in the face of watching one of their favourite adopted sons get a home-cooked decision. True Bute fans, they'd much rather have seen him lose in the dieing seconds of a fight he clearly dominated than have his reputation sullied by a gifted win he didn't deserve. They took the robbery of Librado Andrade harder than most, tonight...

If InterBox and Lucian Bute do not agree to an immediate rematch against Librado Andrade, not only would the reputation of boxing in Montreal and Canada be irreparably damaged, but InterBox and Lucian Bute would lose the respect they universally enjoy. and the moral high gound that always made them local fan favourites. From the perspective of Bute, the fighter, the moral corrosion of the injustice that occured tonight might destroy him, if he wasn't allowed to try to prove he was a better fighter than the man who beat him tonight, win or lose. Until the rematch, for all his skill and bravery in the ring and his generosity and nobility of spirit and warm-heartedness outside the ring, Lucian Bute is no more than a dead man walking - a fate such a brave fighter doesn't deserve to be condemned to.

Do the right thing, IBF, Bute and InterBox! Do what is right for boxing and for everyone concerned!

Article posted on 25.10.2008

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