Lucian Bute stops Edison Miranda, and Sergio Martinez scores decisive win over Kelly Pavlik

lucian buteBy Paul Strauss: HBO scored big in two countries tonight. First, Lucien Bute proved he is a complete fighter. He can do it all. His loyal fans at the Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada couldn't be happier. He impressed them by coming out at the opening bell as the aggressor against a knockout artist like Edison "Pantera" Miranda. Miranda tried to establish that he had more than a big right hand, so he started the fight with movement and an attempt to establish a jab.

Consequently the first round seemed a bit odd, and nothing dramatic happened with the exception of one long left to the body of Miranda landed by Bute. He was the aggressor and was controlling the action, so the round went to him. But, it wasn't by a big margin, but it definitely was apparent that Bute was by far the faster of the two fighters.

In the second round, it became more evident that Bute was also the bigger man and had the greater reach. Bute clearly established a good distance for himself which enabled him to land his shots, and cause Miranda's to fall short.. Miranda's inability to land was already frustrating him in the second round, and he foolishly started dropping his left and taunting Bute to hit him. That was not a good move.

Early into the third round, Bute landed another very good left hand to Miranda's body. Later, he did the same thing. On both occasions, a foolish Miranda once again dropped his hands in a false bravado move to try and impress Bute, the judges and the crowd that he was not hurt. Everyone knew better, and once again it was a foolish move by Miranda.

Moments later, Miranda fired off a right hand that made glancing contact to the right forehead area of Bute. But, Miranda's follow through caused him to fall in and place him off balance, which enabled Bute to take advantage. First he did a little snap away move, taking a 1/2 step back. That allowed him to shift all his weight back forward and to launch a left uppercut that Miranda did not see. The punch landed flush on the chin, and Miranda hit the canvas after caroming off of Bute's legs, and then bouncing on the canvas. When he reached his feet, and stumbled again, and Referee Ernie Sharif stopped the action. The time was 1:20 of the third round, and Lucien "Le Tombeur" Bute retains his IBF super middleweight title.

Bute is now in an excellent position to sit back and watch the Super Six guys beat each other up, and then take on the winner. Any and all of the six ought to take serious note of this transplanted Romanian, who now fights out of Montreal. In addition to his excellent speed and mobility, he now seems to have found some pretty impressive punching power. He has all of the punches to make it work, so watch out to anyone contemplating a match with him.

Next, we move to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., for the Pavlik vs. Martinez battle. Kelly Pavlik was the favorite, but not by much. Fans and the experts wondered about Kelly's inactivity, and whether he would be at a level less than his best? There also were rumors about him having difficulty making weight; whereas Martinez, who is really a junior middleweight would have no problems making weight. Those same folks also wondered about Kelly's past difficulties with fighters who move and have good hand speed, but they still felt Kelly's power and strength would carry him through.

Kelly's fans were encouraged with the first punch of the fight. It was a Pavlik jab that landed. Good sign, right? But, that enthusiasm soon faded as Pavlik sustained a bad cut to the left eyelid, which seemed potentially to be the kind that gets a fight stopped. Referee David Fields did not make any mention of there being an accidental head butt, so right away Kelly was facing the possibility of being TKO'd.

The first round went to Martinez because of his speed, elusiveness and ability to beat Kelly to the punch with effective shots. The second round was more of the same. In fact, Sergio Martinez stepped things up by moving inside after slipping Kelly's jab, and landing several left hands. When doing so, he would be positioned to the left of Kelly's body, so Kelly couldn't get off any right hands.

It was also very evident by the third round that Kelly was not able to mount any kind of sustained body attack. That was due to Martinez good foot work, and also his speed which kept Kelly out of rthythm. Kelly's manager and trainer Jack Loew wanted Kelly to double up on his jab, and to mix up his punches by going up and down with them. That was easier said then down, because usually Martinez wasn't there to start anything. Loew also instructed Kelly to "......stop chasing the head." Kelly did step up the pressure a bit in the third and was landing a bit more, but the cut over the eye also started bleeding again.

After the third, Jack Loew told Kelly to jab to Martinez's chest. In the fourth round, Kelly did land a good counter left jab that bruised Martinez under his right eye. It seemed to bother Martinez. Kelly had a better round, but Martinez still did more and won the round.

In the fifth round, Kelly continued to counter better with his left, rather than trying to load up with his right. He seemed to have Martinez flustered a bit, which kept Martinez from landing so many straight left hands up the middle. It seemed he was reluctant to do so, because he was getting caught with Kelly's left. Kelly also smartly was doubling up on his right hand. Specifically, when he would miss with the right, he would let his right foot slide forward to the southpaw position, and then he would throw the equivalent of a right jab that on occasion was landing. Even if it didn't land, it would throw Martinez off stride.

In the sixth round, there was a bit of controversy, because Kelly missed a left, and got his gloved hand hooked behind Martinez' head, pulling him forward and into a right hand. The right hand punch landed to the top off Martinez' head. At the same time the punch landed, the two fighters also got their feet tangled a bit. As a result, Martinez was off balance, and down he went. The referee felt he had no choice but to score a knockdown, because a punch had landed. So, that made it a 10-8 round for Kelly, and pulled him even in the fight. Now all of a sudden, Kelly seemed to be taking charge.

In the seventh round, Kelly continued with the pressure, and Martinez seemed to have tired a little. Kelly kept making the transition with the double right, and Martinez was clearly bothered by the tactic.

However, in the eighth round, Martinez turned things back in his favor when he once again managed to get in close with rapid fired lefts. This time he opened up a bad cut to Kelly's right eye. Like a true predator, he stepped up his attack. By the end of the round, Kelly's face was a mess.

Jack Loew tried to motive Kelly by saying, "You've got to fire!" Then he also quickly added, "Don't say it." The insinuation was that he didn't want Kelly to make any kind of comment about not being able to see, because if the referee or ring doctor heard that they might stop the fight.

Things continued in Martinez' favor, and Loew was forced to be truthful with Kelly in saying, "You're giving away these rounds." Martinez looked a bit tired, but he had a big rally to end the eleventh round. After the round, Martinez corner man said, "Keep hitting him you ass!" Meanwhile, Jack Loew told Kelly, "You've got to punch like never before!"

Martinez finished the twelfth round strong, and Kelly just didn't have enough left to make any kind of last ditch effort to score a knockout, He clearly was bothered by the bleeding coming from the cuts, especially the one above the right eye.

Even with the dominant showing of Martinez, there was still reason for doubt about what the judges' decision was going to be. After all didn't Martinez get screwed in his fight with Kermit Cintron? Didn't he deserve a decision over Paul Williams, or at least a draw? Consequently, there was still some apprehension in the air. There was no need though, because the judges came through with a good UD for Martinez. One judge had it 116-111; the second judge scored it 115-111; and the third saw it as 115-112, all in favor of Martinez.

Both fighters handled themselves with class in the post fight interviews. Kelly Pavlik made no excuses. He clearly stated that the cuts came from punches, and that the damage bothered him. He also credited Martinez with adjusting after his surge in the middle rounds, to once again take control. He said the he would like a rematch, as did Martinez. Martinez would also like to get a rematch with Paul Williams.

Martinez is now South America's newest hero. He not only has the WBC junior middleweight belt, but also the WBC and WBO middleweight belts. He can pick and choose from a good crop of fighters in both divisions. He has climbed some pretty amazing heights for someone who didn't get started in the sport until he was twenty years old!

Next week we move to another network and get geared up for the battle between Froch and Kessler. Froch is going into Kessler's backyard for this one, so advantage to Kessler in that regard, but you have to wonder if Kessler has completely recovered from the bad cuts and bruises his suffered in his fight with Andre Ward only last November.

That same night we can also expect some artillary from the heavy hands of Chris Arreola and Tomasz Adamek. I just hope Arreola has stayed away from the buffet line and comes in shape. There's no doubt he will be attacking, but Adamek has proven to have an excellent chin, so Chris might have to sustain his attack for a period longer than he would prefer.

Finally, there will be plenty of action in the battle for the interim WBO light middleweight title fight between Joel Julio and Alfredo Angulo. Julio has lost two of his last three, and Angulo seems to have gotten back on track after his tough loss to Kermit Cintron last May. Obviously, this is a very important fight to both men. With a win they can continue to stay in the victory column, and pick up a belt at the same time.

Good luck to them all.

Article posted on 18.04.2010

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