Lucian Bute was once an undefeated super middleweight world titleholder fast making his mark on boxing.
From 2007 to 2012, Bute held a title and made nine successful defenses while becoming Quebec’s most popular fighter. He drew sellout crowds in both Montreal and Quebec City, and the sky seemed the limit.
But that was then. This is now. Now he is a struggling fighter trying to knit his career back together at age 36.
He's simply not been the same since that night in Nottingham, England in 2012 when Carl Froch pummeled him, knocked him out in the fifth round and took his belt.
Including that bout, Bute is just 2-3-1 in fights at super middleweight and light heavyweight. The draw -- a gift for Bute -- came in his last fight against Badou Jack in a super middleweight world title bout in April. After the fight, Bute, a native of Romania who gained Canadian citizenship a few years ago, tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug and has not fought since because of a suspension.
"I have to win for my future and for my family. I will give everything Friday night. My time has come and I will make the best of it."Eleider Alvarez
He will get back into the ring and try to pick up the pieces when he faces light heavyweight mandatory title challenger Eleider “Storm” Alvarez in a 12-round all-Quebec showdown on Friday night (Integrated Sports PPV, 8 p.m. ET) at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City.
If the bad stretch has stripped Bute of his confidence, he does not sound that way.
"I am really, really confident going into this fight,” Bute said at this week’s final news conference. “I respect Alvarez. He is the WBC No. 1 ranked contender in the light heavyweight division. He is undefeated, but my best moments as a professional boxer came here in Quebec City and I am sure it will be another one of those moments Friday night. And it will be a spectacular fight for the fans.”
Said Howard Grant, Bute’s trainer: “He had more energy in this camp than in the ones for James DeGale and Badou Jack. He had good sparring also and he will be ready Friday night."
"I respect Alvarez. He is the WBC No. 1 ranked contender in the light heavyweight division. He is undefeated, but my best moments as a professional boxer came here in Quebec City and I am sure it will be another one of those moments Friday night. And it will be a spectacular fight for the fans."Lucian Bute
The winner of the bout is expected to get an eventual shot against light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs), also of Montreal.
Alvarez (21-0, 10 KOs), 32, a Colombia native who has adopted Montreal as his home, has been Stevenson's mandatory challenger since late 2015 but the fight has been repeatedly delayed. A win over Bute (32-3-1, 25 KOs) would be the biggest name on his record.
"I have to win for my future and for my family,” Alvarez said. “I will give everything Friday night. My time has come and I will make the best of it."
It does figure to be an entertaining fight with serious career implications for the winner and loser.
“Eleider Alvarez said that he is ready to die in the ring and he means it,” promoter Yvon Michel said. “Lucian also is ready to do whatever it takes to win Friday. We have two fighters, two true competitors, who will give everything and leave everything in the ring Friday."