Andrade gets the shaft in Montreal; Bute retains title in controversial fashion

Lucien ButeBy Evan Young, Lucien Bute managed to controversially retain his IBF super middleweight crown over teak tough challenger Librado Andrade despite being knocked out in the final seconds of the 12th round at the Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada on Friday night.

Referee Marlon Wright was the conduit that caused the bizarre result we got. You see, Andrade flattened Bute several seconds before the final bell and Wright issued a wacky long count that saved Bute from a sure KO loss. Bute did rise before a 10 count but was completely gone and was being held up by the ropes. Wright never asked Bute to come forward to check his condition. If he had, I donít think Bute could have remained upright. The Unified Rules of Boxing provide that no fighter shall be saved by the bell in any round and even though Bute was up, he wasnít in any condition to continue and should have been ruled as such.

This long count was prompted when Wright vigorously barked at Andrade to return to a neutral corner. Andrade was reasonably situated in the corner but Wright wasted time by starting his count all over again. Bute never really recovered during the count but at about the 24 second mark Wright wiped Buteís gloves and then the bell rang, ending the fight.

Bute was certainly ahead in the scoring but that should have become a moot point once he was dropped and unable to continue. Wright even admitted that he would have stopped the fight against Bute if Andrade hadnít disobeyed him. But that doesnít fly because he was in the corner and never approached Bute during the count. It was a terribly wrong call that stole a deserving fighters dream (for now) of becoming a champion.

And that wasnít the only way Wright aided Bute. Andrade is a very strong fighter and is quite dangerous on the inside. As such, ever time Andrade got close; Bute would immediately grab Andrade and force an entanglement. Andrade, wanting to fight, tried to push Bute off to free his hands so he could punch. But instead of warning Bute not to hold, Wright would continually admonish, and shove back, Andrade for pushing off and trying to fight. It was utterly ridiculous.

In many venues an argument could be made to take points from Bute for such overuse of the grab. Bute finally got a warning in the 11th for holding but at that point Bute was beginning to fade and the warning, in my view, was a disguise to give Bute a chance to get a few unimpeded breaths. Wright should be forced to watch the fight with respected boxing officials and explain his over officious actions to Andrade throughout this 12 round fight.

The fight itself was contrast in styles and ability. Bute showed great speed, intelligence and athleticism while Andrade showed fortitude, his own improved skills, tremendous conditioning and a super human quality to absorb punishment. Bute got off to a good start and seemed to grab the first 3 rounds. But Andrade began finding the mark in rounds four and five when began to land effective body shots and hooks and uppercuts to the head.

To me it looked like Andrade was going to be able to take over the fight but to Buteís credit he ratcheted up his own intensity and successfully thwarted much of Andradeís effectiveness with clever boxing in rounds 6 through 10. Bute was even credited with a knockdown in the 10th round. Again, that was another bad call where Bute pushed an off balance Andrade down where Wright naturally ruled a legitimate knockdown. What a charlatan.

Anyway, in the 11th round Bute began to show some signs of fatigue as Andrade, whether effective or not, never stopped putting pressure on Bute. Andrade was told he was going to have to do something dramatic in the final round and was determined to carry out that mission. Andrade pressed forward and began landing some telling blows. Bute was doing his best to survive and hold but his energy was depleted. Andrade kept coming and with about 30 seconds left in the round he landed a bludgeoning assault. Bute tried to hold but Andrade broke free and landed two more heavy shots that had Bute backpedaling across the ring on what was left of his legs.

With about 12 seconds left Andrade missed a bomb that would have prevented the controversy we now have and Bute slinked and backed to another section of the ring. Andrade followed in dogged pursuit and landed the bomb he was looking for; a right hand that dropped Bute in a heap in the corner. Bute got up at about the ďactualĒ count of 8 but was defenseless and finished as he leaned back against he ropes for support. This is where the non sense happened that I describe above.

Andrade, who is one of the most genial and likeable fighters outside of the ring, took the events that transpired against him with amazing grace. Sure he thought he won and he expressed that but he didnít complain or gripe, displayed great sportsmanship to Bute and even hugged and cajoled with the referee. Think of that. The man that cost you a world title and possibly millions of dollars and Andrade simply rolls with it moves on.

Zab Judah, and many others, could learn something about restraint from this man. As Iíve been following Andrade for the past several years, he strikes me of a guy that has a certain zest for life and doesnít let disappointing events affect his mindset. His superb demeanor and great attitude towards everyone and everything is unshakable and rock solid even by the most the most egregious events - such as this contest.

Andrade fights with great intensity but it is not fueled by emotion or anger. Before this contest with Bute, they traveled on a press tour and became friends and to my understanding had thoughtful and meaningful conversations. Not many people could display this level of detachment or maturity to engage an opponent in that manner when inevitably they are going to battle in a physically brutal way. But Andrade is an unusual cat that should be celebrated by boxing aficionadoís or anyone that appreciates the amazing depth and introspection of this athlete.

I donít hold ill will of Bute in this fiasco. He did the best he could with his own substantial abilities against a man with different, but also amazing attributes. Both men fought their best and have pledged to remain friends outside of the ring. I expect that to be the case even if they do see each other inside a boxing ring again.

Logically, this ďlossĒ will not really hurt Andradeís boxing prospects. Most people think he won the fight and people have been vocal about it the world over. He has a great style, in and out of the ring, and he will most certainly get another title shot in the near future. Many people seem to like grinders that may not have amazing speed or natural talent but are as tough as nickel steaks and keep on moving forward. I love guys like Andrade and Margarito that are near impervious to punishment and just walk through guys. I find that preferable to the athlete like Bute who has the speed and skills but isnít built for the grind like Andrade. Thatís just me and I know many disagree. I canít help but think that Andrade was born 25 years too late when 15 rounds were the championship distance. Who could beat this guy in a 15 round fight?

Article posted on 28.10.2008

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