By Dave Spencer
As he roams across the canvas in a near empty gym, former world champion Lucian Bute is dwarfed by a shadow that looms over the entire ring. Every jab, every power punch, there is an omnipresent presence dominating the landscape of this concrete bunker that has produced its fair share of world champions and is hoping for its first two-time champion as Bute makes his first step back from a devastating loss to Carl Froch this past spring and enters the Bell Centre ring this Saturday making the first step towards redemption against undefeated Denis Grachev (12-0-1 8KO) in a bout that can be seen on WealthTV and WealthTV.com.
That presence is one of Bute himself, a huge stadium sized banner brought back from his native Romania and one that dwarfs the ring and is almost symbolic of how big the affable southpaw had become.
For thirty fights, things were good. Very good. Full houses, premium cable television, nine title defenses, a definite ‘vedette’ or star in his adopted homeland of Quebec. For thirty fights, he was….huge. Banner sized huge. Then it came crashing down in a hurry against Froch who was initially viewed as a consolation prize after not being able to secure an Andre Ward fight.
“The damage is done,” Bute tells FightNews, Carl Froch won that night. I know I can do way better than this. I don’t want to put pressure on myself, I just want to be like Lucian Bute used to be which is throw punches and win fights.”
The mantra for Lucian Bute and his Interbox team in the past has always been, ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ After the Froch fight, every detail is being examined inside and outside the ring. “I’ve cleaned my head of a lot of responsibility,” Bute said reflecting on the loss. “It’s not an excuse but I’ve got to just concentrate on my performance. When the fights were smaller, I could do everything myself,” he said referring to all the responsibilities that come along outside of the ring. “When things get bigger and bigger, it’s a major difference,” said Bute who manages himself.
The results didn’t show it as Bute was not only winning but winning impressively, but there were concerns that were not properly addressed according to trainer Stephane Larouche. “In the process of Lucian’s title defenses, with things going well, even if we had some problems in camp or preparation, when the results are good you’re happy and you don’t point fingers at everything you do. You always try to improve all the time but you don’t go back for a new recipe all the time.
“But we realized in the process that Lucian was for three or four fights throwing less punches every fight. Every output of punches was lower and lower. We noticed that, but at the same time, he kept winning. So was it maturity? Was he picking his punches with more accuracy? In the beginning (of his career), he was throwing 100 punches a round and it was too much. The middle was perfect. But then he was throwing less and hesitating more. We believe that things happen for a reason though and Lucian believes that will make him a stronger fighter, a better fighter. I think we’re even a stronger team now and the link is more solid. There is that much more attention to detail.” Continued…