Brian Magee (34-3-1, 24 KOs, IBF #8) spoke to members of the North American media today via conference call from his training camp in Ireland, where he’s preparing for his March 19th showdown at Montreal’s Bell Centre with IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (27-0, 22 KOs). Here’s what the mild-mannered, yet hard-hitting challenger had to say about Bute; a fighter who many, Magee included, consider to be the best Super Middleweight in the world.
On his training camp.
Everything has been good so far. My preparation has been hard. I’m looking forward to coming to Montreal. I’ve been there before, and I can’t wait to come back and visit the city. I’ve worked hard, and I can’t wait to fight in Montreal.
On fighting a southpaw as good as Bute.
I don’t think a southpaw wants to ever fight another southpaw, especially one as skillful as Lucian Bute. What you have to do in the gym is go through a game plan and hopefully stick to it. Southpaws are tough enough to handle, but I think they’re even tougher to handle for other southpaws. So it’s a tricky one. But it’s a style I’ll be working hard on.
Where does Bute rate compared to the rest of the super middleweight division?
Without a doubt he’s the best in the division. He’s such a skillful fighter. He’s a worthy world champion, and good at everything. He’s good at moving back and good at coming forward. And he’s a good counter puncher. He’s just a good all around fighter. He’s the type of fighter that I want to be. He’s not just good at one thing, he’s good at everything.
There’s no doubt about it, he’s a world-class fighter, and a worthy world champion.
Is Bute a more complicated fighter than WBC 168 lb champ Carl Froch (who Magee lost to via TKO 11 in May of 2006)?
Of definitely. His movement and his speed make him much trickier than Froch. They’re quite similar in size, but I think Lucian has the edge in speed, movement, and boxing ability.
Other than Carl being orthodox, they’re not unlike in stature and size. They’re both power punchers and fighters, and Carl is a good boxer and a thinker in there as well. So people do underestimate Carl’s boxing ability. But they’re very similar.
How would you describe your fighting style?
I’m tough, but I try to be a good boxer-fighter. I admire fighters who get in the ring and compete with skills, and not just go in there and fight. So I try to box and fight. But I’m a very determined fighter, and whenever I’m in the ring, I give 100%.
Is it possible that Bute and his camp see you as only a tune-up before bigger fights, and could they be taking you for granted as an opponent?
I don’t think he’ll take me for granted. He hasn’t gotten to where he is by taking anyone for granted. He’s the champion, and I expect him to prepare like a champion.
As far as being a tune-up, I think my last couple of fights people have thought that. When I went to Denmark to fight Mads Larsen, people thought that, and I won that fight. What people say doesn’t affect me at all. I’ve got a job to do, and I try not to listen to other people’s opinions. Every fighter wants to win every fight, and I’m no different.
(On January 30, 2010, Magee stopped Larson via TKO 7, in Aarhus, Denmark)
On the motivation of fighting in front of Bute’s adoring fans in Montreal.
(Pat Magee, Brian’s manager, no relation) We went to Denmark and fought Mads Larsen. He’s a superstar, the “Golden Boy” in Denmark, and Brian just pulverized him. I mean, he was all over him. And Larsen’s a southpaw also, let’s not forget. And a similar size to Lucian. So Brian is looking at this fight as a mirror image of what he did to Larsen, and he hopes to do the same to Lucian.
Do you expect a long fight?
(Pat Magee) Brian has the capabilities of ending this fight early or late. One of his great attributes is his stamina, and doing 12 rounds is not a problem to him. We’ve studied very closely Bute’s infamous fight with Andrade where he came apart in the last couple of rounds, and that’s very interesting to us.
At 35, is this your last chance to be a world champion?
Chances to fight for world titles don’t come easy these days. So if you’re a decent fighter like myself, it’s hard to get yourself back up there again once you’ve been beaten. It’s like a game of Snakes and Ladders. You can climb up a ladder quite quickly, but once you fall down, you can slide down a long way and you have to start again.
Hopefully I won’t have to find out. But I feel I still have my best in the tank yet. After March 19th, we’ll see what the future holds. But I see myself boxing for a few years yet.
What did you take away from that loss to Froch?
I’m glad Carl has had so much success after our fight. It really showed me the caliber of fighter I was in against.
I made the mistake in the 11th round, and I let myself get caught. It’s just a tough lesson in boxing that no other sport has. But I’ve dusted myself off, and I’ve clawed my way back, and now I’m fighting for a world title.
I learned a lot from that fight, and hopefully I can carry those lessons to victory.
Do you fear a hometown decision?
No matter what, when you fight abroad, you’re always going to have that in the back of your mind. The way I look at it, I just go in there, and do the best I can, and hope everybody else sees the fight the same way. I can’t worry about that until that night. It’s out of my hands.
Favoritism always goes to the local fighter, but I can’t worry about it until it actually happens.
Tickets for this InterBox March 19th Gala are available at the Bell Centre ticket office by contacting www.evenko.ca or dialing 1-877-668-8269, or by calling Club de boxe Champion at 514-376-0980.