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Pascal: Bute is still fresh, while Froch isn’t the same fighter he once was

Carl Froch Jean Pascal Lucian ButeBy William Mackay: Jean Pascal doesn’t see former WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch (28-2, 20 KO’s) as being the same fighter he once was as he approaches his May 26th title challenge of IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (30-0, 24 KO’s) in Nottingham, UK. Pascal believes that the 34-year-old Froch’s many wars in the last couple of years has worn him down to the extent that he’s not the same fighter that beat him in their December 2008 fight.

Pascal told writer Gabriel Beland at “For two years, Carl Froch rubbed the best in his division: Andre Ward, Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler. Meanwhile, Lucian Bute remained on the sidelines. While Bute is fresh, Froch is worn by the boxers he’s fought wars against. It will not be the same Carl Froch as the one we saw against me in 2008.”

It’s difficult to disagree with what Pascal says. Froch has taken a lot of punishment in his Super Six tournament fights against namely Mikkel Kessler, Glen Johnson, Andre Ward, and to a lesser extent against Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham. The Kessler and Ward fights were especially difficult for Froch, because he was hit a lot in both of the fights in losing decisions. Froch was staggered by Dirrell in their fight in 2009, but other than that he didn’t get hit too often. But before Froch started the Super Six tournament, he had a couple of really hard fights against Pascal and Jermain Taylor, winning both of them but getting hit a lot by both guys.

All total, Froch had had four really tough fights against Taylor, Pascal, Ward and Kessler. Those were punishing fights and it wouldn’t be surprising that Froch might not be the same fighter he was back in 2008, because he’s had a lot of mileage put on him in the past three years. In contrast, the 31-year-old Bute has had only one tough fight in the past three years, his controversial 12 round decision win over Librado Andrade in October 2008.

Ignoring the controversial nature of Bute being knocked down in the 12th and being given what many boxing fans consider a delayed count, he was hit a lot in that fight and badly hurt. However, beyond that one bout, Bute has breezed through his last seven fights since then winning all of them without getting hit too often. These are the fighters that Bute has beaten in the last three years: Fulgencio Zuniga, Andrade in a rematch, Edison Miranda, Jesse Brinkley, Brian Magee, Jean-Paul Mendy, and Glen Johnson. Bute has clearly taken on a lot of weaker opposition and the closest thing that you could consider being to the upper echelon fighters in the division is his fight against 42-year-old Johnson last November.

Magree, Brinkley and Mendy may have been ranked high at the time that Bute fought them, but they’re arguably far below the talent level of guys like Froch, Kessler, and Ward. It’s no surprise then that Bute has very little wear and tear on him due to his fairly soft matchmaking during the past three years. However, even a slightly faded Froch is going to be more than a handful for Bute and it’s going to be really tough on him in this fight unless he can play keep away for 12 rounds by hitting and moving constantly in the way that he used to fight before started knocking guys out left and right in the past two years.

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