Sharkie's Machine: Bute Blasts Zuniga in Montreal
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Mar 14, 2009) Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME  
On Friday the 13th in Montreal , IBF 168-pound titlist Lucian Bute (24 - 0, 18 KO’s) was back at the Bell Center , where he shined against his overmatched opponent, Fulgencio Zuniga (22-5-1, 19 KO’s). Bute was beating Zuniga to the punch in every exchange and finally landed a series of left uppercuts that finally sent Zuniga to the canvas. It looked like a low blow at first but the replay showed that left hand landing into the top of Zuniga’s stomach. After Zuniga barely beat a fairly slow ten count by the N.J. based Referee, Lindsay Page Jr., Bute finished Zuniga with a flurry of shots that saw the ref step between them, rendering Lucian Bute the winner by TKO 4. There was some interesting banter before the fight about how the Zuniga camp didn’t want Marlon B. Wright to referee this fight.

Zuniga has now lost two of his last three fights. He looked mighty small in the ring with Bute and was never able to land anything clean. Strategically, Zuniga didn’t think to clinch when he was in trouble and for that oversight, he helped make it a shorter night. This was a very good performance by Bute , who is really a good boxer. He’s got fast hands, great reflexes, mobility and ring generalship. Bute likes to drop his right hand in his stance and pop his quick jabs and follow up with combinations. He did it well against Zuniga and he did it well in his last fight, against Librado Andrade.

Though on the books, Bute won the Andrade fight by Unanimous Decision, after dominating most of the rounds from one through eleven; there was some serious controversy about how the fight ended. Bute was winded in the 12th, and Andrade jumped all over him, landing a big shot that staggered him to the other side of the ring, then, with five seconds left, Andrade cracked Bute with a punch that dropped him into the corner ropes and down.

The referee in that fight was Marlon B. Wright, who found a way to give Bute one of the longest “ten” counts in the history of boxing. Soon as Bute went down, Wright turned to Andrade and instructed him to go to a neutral corner and he waited as Andrade did so. By the time Wright started to count, I was already up to ten and Bute was already up, though looking extremely wobbly and unable of continuing. Though the final round was over before Wright’s 20 second long count was through, a fighter cannot be saved by the bell, not even the final round. That’s the rules. Wright let Bute stagger to his corner and the Judges took over. They gave the nod to Bute and while a win is a win is a win, for Bute , this had to be the most uncomfortable win of his career.

Anything short of a knockout was going to be a win for Bute against Andrade. But Andrade DID knock him out. At the least, Bute was not capable of continuing, which is normal grounds for being out by Technical Knock Out. Normally, the referee looks the fighter over to determine if he looks capable of continuing before letting him continue. A fighter may be up at the count of six but look so unsteady that a competent referee will wave him out by TKO. Fighter safety comes first. Andrade, in my soberest opinion, scored that TKO but didn’t get it because of hometown cooking.

After the Zuniga fight, the post fight interview involved more questions about the Andrade fight and whether Bute felt vindicated now. How on Earth could he feel vindicated winning a fight against someone OTHER than Librado Andrade? To his credit, Bute said that he knows Andrade is readying to fight Vitaly Tsypko in April. He said he hopes Andrade wins so they can have their rematch. This is great news!

Funny thing though, guess where Andrade is fighting Tsypko? The Bell Center in Montreal . Go figure!.

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