Future dates at 168: Bute, Lacy, Taylor, Kessler, Froch, Pascal, Andrade, More

Lucian ButeBy Rizwaan Zahid: Mikkel Kessler of Denmark, Lucian Bute of Montreal by way of Romania, Carl Froch of England, Jean Pascal of Montreal by way of Haiti, Librado Andrade, Jermaine Taylor, Jeff Lacy, and the list continues.

Former champions and current champions are all in the most underrated vision currently. I can’t personally remember when there was such international talent in one division. With all these fighters either having fought recently, or will be fighting in the next few months, 2009 looks promising and exciting for the super middleweight division.

Lucian Bute recently retained his title with a 12 round decision over Librado Andrade. I won’t go into the controversial ending, because it has already been covered extensively by nearly every boxing website or columnist. What’s next for Bute is still a mystery. He does have an optional defense for his next fight followed by a mandatory defense. Andrade’s trainer Howard Grant said they will file a protest with the IBF when he was a guest on TSN’s “In this Corner”. If an immediate rematch is not ordered it is likely that Andrade will be in the top three challengers for Bute, and with his power and chin, it is likely that we may see a rematch between the two sometime next year.

Carl Froch will be fighting at home, when Canadian Jean Pascal flies in to fight Froch for the vacant WBC super middleweight title, vacated by Joe Calzaghe. Although both are undefeated it is pretty clear that Froch has fought the better opposition. Pascal was rumoured to be fighting Edison Miranda after the two had many heated exchanges at the end of last year and the beginning of 2008. However, that fight never materialized. The only recognizable name on Pascal’s record is fellow Canadian Kinglsey Ikeke; however Ikeke, a former title challenger, had been inactive for nearly two years and at the age of 34 was a shadow of his former self. Either way, the winner of this fight, is expected to have more lucrative fights down the line. Pascal could have an all Montreal fight with Lucian Bute, and Carl Froch could have a cross Europe fight with Copenhagen’s Mikkel Kessler.

Kessler’s still considered to be the #1 in the division even after his loss against Joe Calzaghe. An exciting power punching fighter like Kessler is always bound to draw attention, especially after the devastating knockout over the tough, but limited Danilo Haussler. Mikkel is considered by most to be the best of the division, despite having fighting mostly in Europe. If he is to gain international recognition though, he will need to secure a big popular fight, or at least have an American event sometime in the upcoming year.

Two men who have that American audience are former champions Jermaine Taylor and Jeff Lacy. Both are recognizing this fight as a make or break for their careers. Jermain recently admitted that after the 2nd Pavlik fight, he contemplated quitting boxing. However he has decided to come back in the 168 pound division to try and start his second reign as champion.

Lacy on the other hand may be the quickest fighter to go from being considered the unstoppable force to a washed up fighter. Lacy was walking over nearly every opponent until he fought Joe Cazlaghe; in what was Joe’s coming out party. Although Calzaghe had been undefeated and very much recognized in Europe, he did not have this same recognition in America, and it his destructive performance over Lacy which gained him that recognition. Lacy was supposed to hammer Calzaghe with his big power shots, however 12 rounds of leather gloves in the face caused Lacy’s eyes, mouth and nose to be cut and swelled up. Since then Lacy has been unimpressive to say the least. The “hammering puncher” as he was once known, has not had a knockout in nearly three years, this one being against a shaky chinned Scott Pemberton. Even this granite chin that he had has shown to be a questionable theory. He was knocked down against Calzaghe, and was wobbled several times in his last fight against Epifanio Mendoza. Many will agree that Lacy was lucky to escape that fight as a winner, since many thought Mendoza did enough to secure a decision victory.

Two or three years ago both were considered to be the best America has to offer. Now they are fighting for their careers, literally. Jermaine has the better boxing skills, and this should work in his favour, and if he is able to use that jab, he should be able to easily beat Lacy.

Jermaine is a very marketable fighter, since h has that American audience, one of the few on here who does. A big fight could be with him and Mikkel Kessler, or perhaps with him and Edison Miranda.

The always colourful Edison Miranda is in the super middleweight division now, and after his last loss against Arthur Abraham he is definitely looking to get back on the win column. Ironically, he had called out Jermaine Taylor before he was knocked out by Kelly Pavlik, who knocked out Jermaine a few months later.

Yes many of these fighters are coming off of losses, or recent losses, or are relatively untested. But what makes this division so intriguing, is that there are a lot of questions as to who the number one fighter actually is among all these international fighters, and there’s only one way to answer these.

It’s fight time.

Article posted on 15.11.2008

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