Does Lucian Bute deserve a shot at the WBC 168lb title?
By Thomas Cowan: Although there has been no official confirmation from the WBC, it is widely believed that Lucian Bute will be fighting the winner of the WBC final eliminator between Sakio Bika and Nikola Sjekloca for the vacant title in his next fight, as long as current champion Andre Ward is still injured. But has Bute really earned a shot at the title?
Since losing his IBF title when Carl Froch demolished him last year, Bute has only fought once. That fight was against a hard-hitting Russian, Denis Grachev, who’s a decent fighter but not world class. Bute got the win but he looked completely drained of confidence and how one of the judges saw him winning 10 rounds is beyond me, I had him winning by one round. More to the point that fight was at light heavyweight meaning Bute hasn’t fought once at super middleweight since Froch knocked him out.
If one of the champions wants to make a voluntary defense against the Canadian, then that would be fair but to force the Bika-Sjekloca winner to face someone has had one unconvincing win at a different weight since losing his title is just stupid. Also, the WBC rankings show that Bute shouldn’t be the first in line for a title shot.
After the top 2 contenders Bika and Sjekloca, #3 is Edwin Rodriguez. Rodriguez is planning to fight at light heavyweight during 2013 because he’s taking part in a big money tournament in Monte Carlo, so that puts him out of the picture. Bute is ranked at #5, behind #4 contender James DeGale. DeGale is also planning to fight on March 23rd and if he wins, surely he should be getting a shot at the title before Bute. I’m not saying the Brit is better than Bute but he has worked his way up the rankings the 168lb rankings which Bute hasn’t been doing in the last year.
The only reason the WBC want lo let Bute slip the queue is that he has a bigger following in Canada than DeGale does in Britain. A bigger following means a bigger crowd and a bigger crowd means the fight will make more money, meaning the WBC will get a bigger sanctioning fee. Sad, but unfortunately that’s the way the sanctioning bodies work. No doubt the loser of the Carl Froch vs Mikkel Kessler fight will also be elevated to a ridiculously high ranking even if they get knocked out, purely because they both have huge support in their home countries, just so the greedy sanctioning bodies can line their pockets.