20/20 Hindsight: How Lucian Bute Would Do in the Super Six, and Final Thoughts on the Guzman-Funeka Robbery

What a difference a year makes, eh?

I'm talking about the difference in Lucian Bute, who was fortunate to escape with a victory after getting knocked down late in the final round when he took on Librado Andrade last fall. He had no such drama this past Saturday, disposing of Andrade - a guy who says he actually enjoys taking punches - with a vicious body shot in the fourth round of their rematch.

There's much to like about Bute. He's got boxing skills, power and charisma, as evidenced by the fact that it reportedly took only an hour for folks in Quebec to gobble up all of the tickets to his most recent fight.

His performance also made me re-evaluate what a loss it is that he's not taking part in the Super Six World Boxing Classic against the rest of the world's top super middleweights. He supposedly was never asked, and though I didn't think it was a big deal a few months ago, perhaps it was a more glaring oversight than it first appeared.

Right now I'd like Bute to beat Jermain Taylor, Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell. Mikkel Kessler would be a stiffer test, but based on the form each man displayed this month, I'd lean toward Bute there too.

Would he beat Arthur Abraham or Andre Ward, each of whom looked sensational in his own way in the first stage of the Super Six? I don't know, but those would both be dynamite fights I'd gladly pay money to watch.

You could make a case that Bute is the top guy fighting at 168 pounds. BoxRec.com and Tim Starks at The Queensberry Rules already have.

I'm not sure I'd go that far just yet, but he's certainly in the discussion. Bute is definitely among the top six boxers in his weight class, so upon further review, it actually is a shame that he's not in the Super Six. Maybe he can take Taylor's place if/when he drops out...

My Final (And I Mean Final) Thoughts on Guzman-Funeka

I've already written extensively elsewhere on the decision handed down for the Guzman-Funeka fight. To sum up, I thought it was a horrible call to score only six rounds for the fighter that was coming forward, throwing and landing more punches, boxing at his preferred distance most of the time and, at least in the later rounds, displaying the more effective defense as well.

I don't often use the term robbery since scoring fights is so subjective (see: Froch-Dirrell), but it's fitting in this case. Several people hit me up on Twitter to point out that it was one Canadian and one American who turned in the 114-114 cards, while the second Canadian scored it 116-112 for Funeka.

Thanks for pointing that out, but it doesn't change the fact that even one 114-114 score was simply unacceptable. Nor does it change the perception that weird things seem to happen when championship fights are held in Canada. That might not be fair, but perception sometimes trumps reality, like it or not.

One additional observation: Funeka was very nearly the beneficiary of a bad call that would have won him the fight. Replays showed that the nasty cut near Guzman's right eye was opened by a clash of heads, not from a punch as the referee ruled. Had the cut stopped the fight, Funeka would have won because of that ruling.

Still, that was a judgment call that was easy to second-guess thanks to slow-motion replays. The judging was a lot harder to explain, and that's coming from someone who considers himself a Guzman fan and was rooting for him to return to top form.

He didn't deserve a draw. You have to feel bad for Funeka, who ventured to North America for the first time this year and fought his heart out twice, once making an argument that he should have won (against Nate Campbell) and once leaving no doubt he should have won.

Instead, he'll head back to South Africa with a 0-1-1 record in those fights and a bad taste in his mouth. I wouldn't blame him if he doesn't want to come back.

Posted by The Franchise


uatu said...

I personally like Froch over Bute.

Jayson Deuna said...

Ali Funeka versus Edwin Valero would be very interesting. I hope it happens.

uatu said...

Any fight with Valero would be interesting, considering we never get to see the guy, and it looks like we never will.

I don't even get my hopes up for Valero fights anymore.