QUEBEC CITY — Rumors of Lucian Bute’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Before his hometown fans, Bute delivered a spirited losing effort against Jame DeGale, who overcame deep bruising and bloody cuts to take a hard-fought unanimous decision.
DeGale delivered on his promise to start fast by testing Bute’s chin with straight lefts and rights hooks. The challenger responded with his patented punch, the southpaw left uppercut to the body, to keep DeGale honest and at times backpedaling. Errant butts also opened cuts around both DeGale’s eyes.
The scoring difference would be the consistency and variety of DeGale’s offense. The champion used nimble footwork to go in and out with debilitating shots and hooks upstairs. This limited Bute’s responses to isolated pockets when DeGale took breathers on the ropes.
The last two rounds featured dramatic back and forth action with the crowd pushing Bute through DeGale’s thunderous body shots.
The final scorecards were unanimous for DeGale (117-111 twice and 116-112). DeGale is now targeting a unification matchup with WBC titlist Badou Jack for April or May.