Promoters don't always take the same chances that other sporting entities such as UFC do during an American holiday weekend.
Perhaps that is why the fat cats at HBO and Showtime elected not to televise "No Easy Way Out: Bute vs. Froch" on Saturday afternoon. Instead, unless your cable or satellite company carried the EPIX network, fight fans would need to watch the fight online on EPIXHD.com. Some decisions made by those in charge are a bit incomprehensible.
HBO didn't carry the fight. Still, they'll bombard your email inbox with advertisements and reminders to view the colorless and exacerbating bamboo shoots under the fingernails that is a Wlad or Vitali Klitschko bout. It may be anyone's guess why Showtime also gave the bout the cold shoulder roll. In all likelihood, it boils down to dollars and cents.
Showtime hit gold with its recently concluded Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament. The round robin style engagement was eventually won by American Andre Ward. Saturday night, undefeated IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (30(24)-0) faced the second place finisher of the Super Six, Carl "The Cobra" Froch (28(20)-2).
For whatever reason, Bute did not take part in Showtime's pugilistic masterpiece. He patiently stood on the sidelines and racked up win after win to his own credit and declared himself ready to face the overall winner of the tournament. If there has been any further criticism of the Romanian cum French Canadian Bute, one of the most glaring would be his hesitance to fight anywhere outside of Quebec.
In fact, Saturday's contest which took place in Froch's hometown of Nottingham, England was only the sixth time that Bute has professionally boxed anywhere other than Montreal or parts of Romania. Anyone who watches professional soccer, rugby or boxing is well aware of the frenzied and wild nature of British fans, so commendation galore should be shown to Lucian Bute.
The online telecast should have been wrapped in a tamale and catapulted in the direction of HBO and Showtime. While the usual suspects attempt to saturate your senses in an attempt to get you interested in an upcoming bout, EPIX succeeded with flying colors with their pre-fight coverage. As opposed to the commonplace "this is why you should watch" approach, boxing fans were instead treated to a case of "this is why we watch".
A highly effective picture was painted to the credit of both Froch and Bute during a brief and magnificently crafted video preview. Absent was the sadly habitual accentuation normally shown to promoters and other individuals who don't come remotely close to actually setting foot into the ring. Showtime has for some reason given far too much attention to someone else in Froch's life. Easy on the eyes, but murder on the ears once the bell sounds.
The bell sounded at the Capital FM Arena and Carl Froch gave a performance for the ages. Bute must have stolen something out of Froch's garage because he got a whipping that he'll never forget....just as soon as he's able to recall the evening. The crushing right hand which met Bute's chin and beckoned him to check out the lighting pattern of the arena ceiling was the coffin's nail in the fifth round.
Perhaps it was a bit of trepidation that killed the cat because it certainly wasn't curiosity. Where was this Froch when he fought Andre Ward? Although Bute showed that he has a remarkable chin and the intelligence to wrap up his opponent when hurt, one can only take so many bombs upstairs before the body goes into fallout mode. The look on Carl's face when he threw everything he could muster at Lucian.
Boxing needed this....as a sport and as the pastime that it still has the fortitude to be. No naughtiness in Nottingham tonight.....and no long (very long) count to rescue the guy from Romania.
Will Froch still take Bute out to dinner now?