Lucian Bute - Should He Now Enter The Pound-For-Pound Ratings?

by James Slater - Shortly after his hugely impressive, 4th-round stoppage of the super-tough Librado Andrade in November, I wrote how IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute should perhaps be looked at as THE best 168-pounder in the world. Not only had the Romanian-born southpaw managed to do what no other fighter ever had and stop the Mexican warrior, but he had also proved again his ever continuing improvement as a fighter.

Some fans agreed with me that the 30-year-old known as "La Tombeur" should be looked at as the premiere super-middleweight in the sport, while others still disagreed.. Well, what the Canadian-based talent with the 26-0(21) record did last night do Edison Miranda, in taking him out inside three-rounds, which is quicker than any other fighter ever has, certainly failed to make me alter my opinion any. Although Miranda has been exposed as a fighter who is not quite good enough to make it at world level, Bute's win was truly impressive in that he made it look so effortless. I really have to ask myself: with the power he is showing, the calmness he has, the variety (a great puncher to both body and head) and the sheer confidence his dominance has brought him, is there anyone out there at the weight who can defeat Bute?

Also, with his significant wins continuing to stack up (Sakio Bika, Andrade twice and the dangerous duo that is Fulgencio Zuniga and Miranda all being handed comprehensive defeats), the growing length of his title reign AND his continually growing skills; I have to also ask if Bute is a fighter now worthy of being ranked in the pound-for-pound charts?

I know no fighter should be ranked on potential, and it must be admitted that putting Bute among boxing's absolute best at a time when he has still to win his first mega-fight over a true great could be guilty of going too far; but should the past achievements of a fighter keep him in the pound-for-pound ratings? Look at Ring magazine's top-ten P4P and you will see Bernard Hopkins still in at #6. I'm not saying Bute should replace the future Hall of Famer who looked so faded last time out in winning on points over the also shop-worn Roy Jones, but shouldn't B-Hop, as great as he's been, drop out of the top-ten altogether? If he did, the fighters ranked behind him, in Miguel Cotto, Chad Dawson, Paul Williams and Celestino Caballero, would all go up a notch - leaving the #10 spot free.

Would you have any problem seeing the IBF 168-pound champ placed at the bottom of the pound-for-pound charts? We'll have to see if Ring magazine does choose to reward Bute (their #1 choice at among super-middleweights) for his win over Miranda (and all his other achievements) by juggling their P4P list somewhat. But, for what it's worth, I would rate Bute as a pound-for-pound operator right now.

Article posted on 19.04.2010

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