Lucian Bute returned to action after a 19-month layoff and a record of 1-2 in his three previous outings. Bute took on Andrea Di Luisa in the main event of a PBC card on NBCSN in front of a very pro-Bute crowd in his adopted home of Canada at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Bute started off with the jab, moving it up and down, but mostly up. He looked a little awkward in the first round. I’m not sure if it was ring rust on Bute’s behalf or my own lack of familiarity with the fighter who resides in Canada because I haven’t seen him fight since he lost to Jean Pascal in January of last year, not to mention he’s only competed 3 times in as many years coming into tonight’s fight.
I wouldn’t say that Bute was playing very safe, but he was cautious in the early going. That said, he was still getting tagged by the Italian Di Luisa. To his credit, Di Luisa was coming forward and letting his hands go. He was even initiating the action at times.
Bute’s offense was taking some time to fall into a rhythm. However, little by little Bute began using head movement and allowing his set up punches to actually count. But it would be a disservice not to mention the power shots themselves. It was hard to gauge how much power was actually behind them, but he was throwing them with a crisp snap and landing them with a consistent precision.
Heading into the 4th round, Bute was certainly in a grove and he was performing better with every passing minute. Not to overhype Bute’s game entirely, there were still plenty signs of ring rust and he certainly has some things to work on, such as his defense.
Di Luisa was able to land at certain times. One of those times came in the 4th and he started pressing a bit more after gaining some confidence. Bute stayed relaxed.
Still in the 4th, Bute decided his best defense was his offense as he fired multiple left-handed power shots from the southpaw stance, giving very little acknowledgment to any of his other punches. The brute force paid off as several left hands landed in succession, one of which sent Di Luisa to the canvas.
Di Luisa was able to make it back to his feet, but only so that he could receive a handful more left hands. The corner would eventually throw in the towel for their fighter’s sake after it seemed he’d forgotten how to avoid a left hand from a southpaw.
Bute looked impressive against a game opponent, but definitely not without flaws. The important thing is that Bute is back in the win column and moving on with momentum.