On Friday night at Montreal's Bell Centre, Lucian Bute took another step toward his dream bout against one of the world’s best fighters in the super middleweight division.
Since his debut in 2003, Bute has been fighting his way up from a no name in his division to the current IBF Super Middleweight Champion. Showtime Inc. believes that Bute is on brink of becoming one of the best in boxing. They made a deal with Interbox, the promotion company that represents Bute, to broadcast every one of his fights. The 29 year old, Romanian fighter has come a long way.
Interbox decided to stage Bute’s third title defense on Friday the 13th in May. His opponent was Fulgencio Zuniga from Colombia, who came into the contest with 19 knockouts in his 26 fights as a professional. Bute's defense against Zuniga, who is ranked 10th by the IBF, was a voluntary selection.
The fight lasted only four rounds. "Is there any doubt now over who is champion?" said Bute.
After an uneventful opening round, the southpaw champion began landing straight lefts in the second and rocked Zuniga with a combination in the third.
Early in the fourth, Bute landed an uppercut that put Zuniga on the floor, and after he got up, Bute chased him around the ring, landing power shots until American referee Lindsey Page Jr. stopped the bout at the 2:25 mark.
There was concern before the bout about how Bute would react after suffering the first knockdown of his career in the final round of his last defence against Librado Andrade, but Bute was never hit hard by Zuniga in this one and didn't have a mark on his face.
Andrade, who now calls Montreal home, was also in attendance at the fight. In his last title defence, Bute won in controversial fashion against Andrade as Bute was knocked down in the 12th round but interference from referee Marlon Wright insured a victory for Bute and Interbox.
Now for Bute, a list of possible contenders emerges. Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor are possibilities, but the most realistic bout involves a rematch between Bute and Andrade.
It would make one hell of a fight.