By Eric Thomas: NABF light heavyweight champion Lucian Bute (31-1, 24 KO’s) is ready to defend his title on Saturday night against Jean Pascal (28-2-1, 17 KO’s) in what should be an exciting fight at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Bute has been out of action because of an injured hand in 2013, and it’s taken him a little bit longer than he expected to get back in the ring.
Bute has totally healed and he feels 100 percent ready for this match-up. He’s seen a lot of Pascal’s fights over the years, and knows exactly how to beat to him. On Saturday, Bute will show whether he can actually do that.
“I feel great, 100 percent with both hands,” Bute told the Montreal Gazette. “I’m staying focused for my fight, my strategy. There’s nothing to stop me. Nothing! I’m very confident. I’m very strong. I’ll be the winner.”
Pascal is going to test Bute’s chin early and often to see if he can hurt him the same way that Carl Froch did in his 5th round TKO win over Bute in May of 2012. There’s no question that Bute was hurt early in that fight, and he made a major mistake of backing up to the ropes and trying to fight Froch from that vantage point instead of using movement to keep out of range of the British fighter’s hard punches. Other than the Froch and Librado Andrade fights, Bute had gotten through his entire pro career without being hurt by his opponents. But in both of those fight, Bute chose to stand in front of them and slug. He can’t do that with Pascal if he wants win the fight. If Bute does decide he wants to slug it out with Pascal, then he needs to wait until the 2nd half of the fight when Pascal tends to tire out a little. That’s where he might be able to get to him.
For Pascal, he’s got to get to Bute quickly by using his hand speed and power early in the fight. Pascal can’t let Bute get to the 2nd half of the fight because the chances increase that Bute will be able to take command of the fight due to his superior stamina and box his way to a decision. Pascal’s not as good a boxer as Bute, and that puts him in a position where he’ll need to knock him out early in the fight or else.