By Dave Spencer/Fightnews Canada
It was a question that was answered before it was even asked. Seeing a tanned and relaxed Lucian Bute emerge in a pair of flip-flops and shorts as he welcomed the media to his palatial Miami estate that has been home since mid-February, it becomes very clear, very quickly why the Montreal boxer has decided to go south to prepare for his upcoming April 17th IBF championship bout versus Edison Miranda.
“Since I’ve become world champion my life has changed in Montreal. I walk on the street and everybody wants to talk to me, my phone is always ringing, it makes it hard to focus on my training and focus on my preparations. I came to Miami just to focus on what I have to do to get ready. It’s all hard training and relaxation, good food, watch video of my opponent and work on strategy.”
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Bute showed the assembled media who made it to Florida a bit of both sides of what makes this his second training camp in the Sunshine State so special.
The relaxation and the hard work.
During the day the IBF super-middleweight the assembled media were witness to a grueling 90 minute workout which began innocently enough with some light shadow boxing and intensified through banging a tractor tire with a sledgehammer until finally culminating with some rapid weight lifting in the gym. By nightfall Bute was entertaining all, ordering the ‘Bang-Bang Shrimp’ off the menu of an upscale South Beach eatery overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Trainer Stephane Larouche believes that the first trip to Florida for the rematch with the rugged Librado Andrade paid huge dividends and that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. That first trip had Bute sparring against 17 year veteran Glenn Johnson a former world champion of 65 fights. “Johnson comes forward all the time and it’s hard to back him up,” said Larouche. “Lucian did ninety rounds with him and every day was a fight. He gave it all every single day. Everyone around would stop training and watch. Every session was a good experience and every day we would come back to the house and talk about it. We could see the results right away.”
Helping the champion prepare this time round is the man he captured the title from in 2007, Alejandro Berrio and Randy Griffin, a former two-time world title challenger who has been sparring with Bute at various times since 2004. “He’s always prepared and always very strong,” said ten-year pro Griffin. “He has way more experience now, he’s more muscular and hits harder to the body and he’s a better thinker. You can feel the difference in there.”
Strength and conditioning coach Andre Kulesza may not feel the strength in the ring but has been both measuring it and constantly working on improving it ever since Bute arrived in Montreal in 2003.
“He has exceptional capabilities of cardio-vascular recovery,” said Kulesza “One of the best I’ve ever trained and I’ve trained eight world champions. “He’s a good learner is very efficient. When he learns something, he does it so well and doesn’t burn much energy so we always have to manipulate exercises because he adapts so well and it becomes too easy for him. He always cool and uses his brain, but when you’re calm you can think and if you’re tired you can’t think as quick.
“He’s very quick, agile, and well coordinated.” Kulesza said the goals of cardio have already been met. “We want to get his heart rate to drop to 120 to 130 within a minute after performing twelve rounds and we’re already at this level. So he’s going at about 195 and dropping to 120 after one minute.
“After his first fight with Andrade, he wanted to come back very strong, he was highly motivated. We made significant progress last year and it’s been scary how his progress has been. He’s not the same fighter at all when he won the title, usually when you win a title they’re happy and don’t train so much, but he did the opposite. He said ‘This is my business and I have to protect it.’”
Clearly if this is Bute’s business, then business is good. “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished,” Bute told Fightnews. “I’ve achieved my dream of becoming world champion and now I want to beat everybody in the division.”
Adding fuel to the fire was a trip to the Boxing Hall of Fame last summer. “I saw all the greats, Marvin Hagler, it was special. It’s something I would like to achieve one day when everything is done.”