Carl Froch threw the playbook aside last night in front of an adoring crowd in his hometown of Nottingham, England, putting the first loss on the record of IBF super middle titlist Lucian Bute.
Romanian born Bute had surprisingly left the cozy confines of his adopted province of Quebec to face Froch in the lion’s den of Nottingham Arena, which would soon prove to be a costly decision.
Initially it was an ugly, awkward affair once combat commenced with Froch and southpaw Bute both finding absolutely no rhythm and very little success.
By the second round, Bute had begun to uncharacteristically push Froch onto the backfoot and was trading sporadic hard shots with the local hero.
The third seemed to herald Bute’s taking control of the contest with his right hand jab and counter lefts until Froch discovered that the Montreal resident couldn’t take a flush shot.
Bute was suddenly hurt and resorted to clutching Froch in bear-hugs while “The Cobra” fought back with rabbit-punches.
Somehow Bute managed to get through the round on shaky legs but once again found himself at panic stations in the fourth as Froch stopped boxing and began to wing hurtful lead right hands and uppercuts with the Canadian transplant on the ropes.
Bute tried to stem the tide with booming left hands but these had little or no effect on Froch, who by this time smelled blood and was not going to let Bute off the hook.
The end came in the fifth with Froch savagely assaulting his rival on the ropes, which were the only thing holding Bute up, forcing referee Earl Brown to stop the one-way traffic at 1:05 of the frame.
Froch wins his third world title at super middleweight, adding the IBF belt to a trophy cabinet that already contains two WBC straps.
The Nottingham banger improves to 29-2 (21), bouncing back from a loss to Andre Ward in December while Bute falls to 30-1 (24), after experiencing defeat for the first time in his professional career.
The undercard saw Commonwealth super feather titlist Carl Frampton, 14-0 (9), of Belfast annex the vacant IBF Intercontinental belt by outboxing previously undefeated Mexican Raul Hirales, 16-1-1 (8), by scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109.
The lone success from the Americas was Quebec City light welter Pier Olivier Cote, 19-0 (13), who halted Englishman Mark Lloyd, 15-6 (3), in the fifth round of a scheduled eight while English light middleweight titlist Erick Ochieng, 10-1 (3), posted a ten round UD against AA Lowe, 10-7-1 (2), by margins of 98-92, 99-91 and 100-90.