“If I lost tonight, I would’ve announced my retirement.” – Carl Froch
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND — Carl Froch shocked boxing critics and notched the biggest win of his career with a fifth round TKO of previously unbeaten Lucian Bute Saturday night (May 26).
From the first round, Lucian Bute had notanswer for Froch’s inside work. Froch stunned Bute early with a lead right hook, forcing a clinch. Bute continued coming forward, but Froch kept enough distance on the backfoot to make Bute’s right jab fall short. Froch landed a left hook inside, but Bute ended the round well with several straight lefts.
Bute started the second with two straight lefts that halted Froch’s attack. Froch responded with flush right hooks inside, again causing Bute to hold. A thudding left jab greeted Bute on the outside. Froch brushed off a solid left hook and wobbled Bute with a left-right hook combination.
Both men landed hard shots in a frenetic third round. Bute looked to be bouncing back after connecting early with a counter right and straight left.
Those punches would be Bute’s last significant offense as Froch took over after hurting the champion with a flurry of hard hooks. Bute briefly taunted by raising his arms. Froch retaliated with more hooks that drove Bute to the ropes.
Froch added right uppercuts to his hooks around and through Bute’s guard. This scenario would be repeated three times on different sides of the ring to close out a dominate round that could have been scored 10-8 for Froch.
The one-sided punishment Bute received on the ropes continued in the fourth with a stoppage only being prevented by the bell. The beating reached its apex in the fifth with Froch again trapping Bute on the ropes and hurting him badly with an assortment of left hooks and straight rights. The latter shots did the most visible damage of snapping back Bute’s head. The champion sagged down on the ropes, causing referee Earl Brown to initiate an eight count.
Froch’s camp believed the fight had been called off and started to celebrate in the ring. The official TKO would not come until Bute’s cornerman stepped into the ring and advised the referee their man was finished.
Made a big underdog by bookies and most boxing critics, Froch believed his abilities had been underestimated in the wake of his December decision loss to Andre Ward.
“I was here tonight to put right to wrong,” said Froch in his post-fight interview. “I came in this ring more determined than I ever came before… Tonight I was very switched on and focused.”
If invoked, the immediate rematch clause mandates the return bout to take place in Canada.
Like a lot of people, it’s time for me to eat crow. I picked Bute by unanimous decision. Although I expected Froch to do well inside, I was shocked at how easily he got there repeatedly. Once we saw Froch couldn’t be hurt by Bute, the fight was essentially over. Froch’s game plan was excellent; he nullified Bute’s jab and body punching, and never let Bute off the hook any time he hurt him.
You can forget a rematch. Bute’s team would have to be sadistic to let this beatdown get repeated before Bute’s fans in Canada. And yes, that is what would happen. Bute showed nothing to indicate Froch wouldn’t run through him again.
The night belongs to the man from Nottingham.