One of the world's top super middleweights is in action on Saturday in his adopted hometown of Montreal, as Lucian Bute puts his IBF crown on the block against Irishman Brian Magee at the Bell Centre.
Bute, 27-0 (22), has held the title for over three years since stopping Alejandro Berrio in 2007 and then holding onto it by mere seconds against Librado Andrade a year later.
The 31 year old native Romanian then tted himself by stopping Andrade in their rematch in 2009 and spent 2010 halting Edison Miranda and most recently, Jessie Brinkley this past October.
But Bute has never really mixed with genuine top tier opposition and that trend continues with the selection of opponent Magee.
Magee, 34-3-1 (21), is certainly a solid operator and the former IBO and current European champion will no doubt come to fight in his only major world title shot to date, but the 35 year old is without question the underdog here.
In this battle of southpaws, Bute will have almost all the advantages; height, youth, quickness, skill and punching power but Magee has definitely faced some experienced opponents and his challenge does present a tough test for the champion.
However, this one is Bute's fight to lose. If he remains focused at the task at hand and doesn't become distracted by some big matchups that could await him down the road, he should either win on points or produce a late round stoppage of the challenger.
There are a few interesting ten round bouts on the undercard as promising light middle Vanes Martirosyan, 28-0 (17), goes up against Bladimir Hernandez, 18-4 (16), super feather Benoit Gaudet, 23-2 (10), meets Adrian Verdugo, 17-3-1 (14), while super feather Viorel Simion, 12-0 (5), faces Pedro Navarette, 26-10-3 (15).
In eight round action, light welter prospect Piers Olivier Cote, 14-0 (9), scraps with veteran Michael Lozada, 37-7-1 (30), and bantam Sebastien Gauthier, 19-2 (12), tangles with Jovanny Soto, 31-9-1 (26).