Lucian Bute’s tune-up fight: Could he actually lose November 3?
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Nov 1, 2012)
Lucian Bute
Lucian Bute hears the whispers.

His chin is suspect, they say.

He’s overrated, they add.

Bute (30-1, 24 KOs) returns to the ring this Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montréal, Canada, for the first time since Carl Froch systematically destroyed him last spring in Nottingham, England.

Yes I know, “systematically destroyed” is a very dramatic couple of words, but that’s exactly what happened. Bute resembled a house of cards as Froch knocked him from pillar to post. He hit the deck in round five. A few seconds later, with Bute hanging on the ropes, the referee stopped the fight.

Froch’s domination stunned many in the boxing world. Bute’s expression screamed utter disbelief. Had he bought into his own hype? Or, did he just have a bad night?

''People ask how it happened, but it doesn't matter,'' said Bute to ''The damage is done and now we're looking forward.”

Bute’s opponent is Russian Denis Grachev (12-0, 8 KOs). The 30-year-old Grachev was cruising under the radar until he stopped NABF light heavyweight champion Ismail Sillakh in eight rounds. The prognosticators said that Grachev would lose to the rising Sillakh.

The memo never reached Grachev. Knocked down in round three, he battled back to stop Sillakh in the eighth stanza. Grachev is confident he can knockout Bute as well.

''I'll put a lot of pressure on Bute and he won't be able to handle it,'' Grachev said. ''That's my style, I can't fight different.”

A win by Bute sets up a rematch with Froch in Canada early next year.

''The only opponent in my head is Grachev,'' Bute said after a workout. ''This is a very important fight.”

Bute, 32, won the IBF super middleweight title in 2007. He defended the belt 10 times, until running into a very motivated Froch.

Bute's trainer Stephan Larouche is confident his man will find a way to win Saturday.

''He's against the wall and he feels it. And (Grachev) is a guy who is going to test him.''

Can Grachev test Bute? Maybe for a few round rounds, but the feeling here is that the former champion will outbox his aggressive opponent.  A late stoppage wouldn’t be a surprise either.

Follow and visit John on Twitter:!/johnboxing1

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