Exclusive Interview - Howard Grant Speaks On The Andrade-Bute Controversy

Lucian Buteby James Slater - Howard Grant, the trainer and corner-man of Librado Andrade very kindly took time out earlier today to speak with this writer about the highly controversial fight his boxer had last night in Canada against Lucian Bute. Surely all fans are aware of what happened in the IBF super-middleweight fight - how the bout looked to have been won in the dying seconds by a challenger who was behind on the cards, only for him to be denied a win due to a modern day version of "The Long Count."

Here, Grant gives his take on last night's events.

James Slater: Thanks for talking to me, Howard. Do you plan an appeal and to demand for a rematch?

Howard Grant: That's up to his [Andrade's] promoters, he's with Oscar De La Hoya, as you know. I think they will, yes. Because my fighter was not a local man he got robbed, everyone saw that. People have been calling me since the fight, telling me they can't believe what happened. Today's Saturday, it's the week end, but business starts again on Monday and I'm pretty sure an appeal will take place then..

J.S: Did you have any concerns about Marlon Wright being given the position of referee going into the fight?

H.G: I asked for four neutral officials, guys who are not from here, but we got one American judge, one British judge and one Canadian judge - and a Canadian ref. I've known Marlon since 1979, we are friends. But he went across all boundaries last night. He's tarnished our relationship and I won't ever be able to look at the guy the same way again.

J.S: What did you say to Librado going out for last round?

H.G: I told him he needed a KO. I told him he had to put this guy on his F*****g ass! And that's what he went out and did, but they stole the fight from us! How can we have lost when Librado got a KO victory? It just doesn't make sense. You know, I've been around boxing a long time and I've never seen anything like this before. I take nothing way from Lucian Bute. The kid fought a great fight last night but everything was against us. The ref never said anything to Bute when he was holding. Then he crossed all boundaries of fairness with the last round.

J.S: What did you say to Wright as you angrily approached him immediately after the fight had ended?

H.G: I pushed him a couple of times and I asked him what he was doing. I asked him what kind of incompetence was that!. He had to know that the bell cannot save you in the last round. Why didn't he ask Bute to walk to him to see if he could continue? But the thing is everyone in America saw the fight and saw what happened. They saw it but couldn't believe it.

J.S: Do you think you will get a rematch?

H.G: I hope so. Librado is the scariest guy in the 168-pound division though. If the IBF order a rematch Bute will have to take it. I'm not sure he'll want a rematch otherwise as we were not his mandatory. We really don't know how this loss will affect Bute psychologically. I mean, he was knocked out. Librado went out there and did his job. We knew he was behind on points - Bute fought a great fight - but he got the stoppage he knew he needed and they stole it from him. It just doesn't make sense. But I know Golden Boy, with Oscar and Richard Schaefer, have a lot of power and influence, so hopefully they can make a rematch happen.

J.S: What the referee has said in his defence is that Librado was allegedly out of the neutral corner and therefore he was following the rules by stopping the count and then re-starting it. What do you say to that?

H.G: Well, you took the words out of my mouth - allegedly. Librado was allegedly out of the neutral corner. I don't know, maybe he [the ref] was allegedly on the pay roll of the other fighter! But no, Librado wasn't in any way out of the corner. I mean, come on, he may have been a couple of steps from the ropes, it's a big ring. But there's no rule saying a fighter has to be on the ropes, with his back to them. No rule that says a fighter has to be leaning against the ropes when he's in a neutral corner.

J.S: The final thing some pro-Bute fans are asking is whether or not Librado would have had time to get back at Bute had the ref not delayed the count. Do you think he would have been able to finish Bute off in time?

H.G: If there hade been around ten seconds left in the fight and Librado had been allowed back at him, he would have killed the guy! He was out on his feet! If he'd gotten back up in the middle of the ring and they'd let the fight go on he'd have fallen back over. He was gone! The fight should have been stopped [as a TKO win for Andrade], because Bute was only being held up by the ropes. But if the fight had been allowed to continue with ten seconds or so left, Bute would have been badly hurt. Then everyone would have been asking why the ref didn't stop it.

J.S: Well, I understand you must be very angry, but thank you for talking with me. Librado deserves a rematch, he is some tough guy!

H.G: Thank you for the call. Yes, I'm very angry. But I'm so proud of Librado. He proved he is a fighter who is willing to die in the ring, that he is wiling to give his all. But when he wins by KO and has it stolen from him it's just crazy. The guy from ShowTime [Nick Charles] told me the count was over 20-seconds! Like I say, I've been around a long time and I've never seen anything like it.

Article posted on 26.10.2008

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