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Lucian Bute vs. Andrea Di Luisa tonight on PBC on NBCSN

Lucian ButeBy Dan Ambrose: Tonight boxing fans will get a chance to see former IBF 168lb champion Lucian Bute (32-2, 24 KOs) take on Italy’s Andrea Di Luisa (17-2, 6 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round bout on Premier Boxing Champions on NBC Sports Network starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. The fight will be in the light heavyweight division.

It’s going to be interesting to see how well the 35-year-old Bute does in this fight because he’s facing a guy that he should be able to dispatch without too many problems if he brings his A-game. The problem that Bute has had is he’s looked gun-shy since his knockout loss to Carl Froch three years ago in May of 2012.

That loss really seemed to unnerve Bute, because ever since that time he’s fought like he’s afraid to get hit solid by his opponents. Bute has only fought twice since that loss in beating Denis Grachev by a 12 round decision in 2012, and then not fighting at all in 2013.

Bute came back in January of 2014, and lost a 12 round decision to Jean Pascal. Bute didn’t throw many punches in that fight, and he appeared to be afraid of getting hit. Bute should have been ready for what he would be facing when he took that fight, but he looked like someone who wasn’t up for it.

While Bute blames his inactivity on injury problems in the last three years, it is hard believe that his various injuries have limited him to just two fights during that time. There’s got to be some kind of other issue that is slowing Bute down and causing him to stay out of the ring much of the time.

Bute weighed in at 170bs during the weigh-in on Friday. His opponent Di Luisa weighed in at 169.6lbs.

Bute, 35, doesn’t belong at 175, and if he tries to make any kind of impact in that weight class then I see him getting knocked out repeatedly. Bute’s only chance, such as it is, will be for him to go after one of the super middleweight champions like Arthur Abraham, James DeGale or Badou Jack. Bute in his prime was probably good enough to beat all three of them without any problems, but it’s unclear what this version of Bute can do against one of those guys. Jack would seem like the most vulnerable of the three because he’s been stopped in the 1st round in the past by Derek Edwards as of 2014. But Jacks is also a good puncher, and he puts a lot of pressure on his opponents.

If he can stand up to Bute’s shots, then it’s going to be bad for Bute. Abraham would be ideal for Bute because he’s sow on his feet and he does a lot of covering up. Bute could likely pick him apart using a hit and move technique.

Bute can’t afford to wait too much longer before getting another shot at a world title because his age is advancing, and it’s likely he’ll continue to have injury problems as he gets older. Bute is supposedly healthy for this fight against Di Luisa, but you can’t say what will happen in the future. Bute may start suffering injuries again and lose years at a time with his career. I would be very surprised if Bute is able to stay healthy long enough for him to get a world title shot.

In the undercard, No.3 WBC light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez (17-0, 10 KOs) will be facing #14 WBC Isidro Ranoni Prieto (24-0-3, 20 KOs). This is Alvarez’s first fight where he’s facing a contender that has a chance of winning. Alvarez is getting up there in age at 31, and he can’t continue to waste time fighting weak opposition for too much longer.

His promoters need to find out whether he’s got what it takes to be a world champion, because if he doesn’t, then they need to focus their energy on finding someone that does have the talent to win a world title babying Alvarez with mismatch after mismatch in order to keep his unbeaten record. They’re not doing him any favors with the soft match-making because he’s going to be in for a huge shock when he gets inside the ring with the likes of Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev and Artur Beterbiev.

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