By William Trillo
Photo: Robert Lévesque
If there is one thing no one will question it’s that Lucian Bute wants to become a World Champion again. The former 168 pound IBF champ has had a couple of bumps in the road recently but with the spark of trainers Howard and Otis Grant, Lucian has remained a relevant and top contender. Tonight in Quebec City Bute will take on the undefeated Eleider Alvarez. The winner of this fight has all but been promised a shot at Adonis Stevenson, the WBC Light Heavyweight champ, who like Bute and Alvarez, fights out of Montreal. With the Grant’s in his corner Bute is one step away from seeing his chance to rise to the top come true.
I had a chance to speak with Howard Grant and he is brimming with confidence as he and the team are ready to take center stage in Quebec City tonight.
On training camp Grant said, “Lucian is good, he is very positive. This is the best training camp we have had so far. He is confident and very upbeat. We had five or six guys to spar with…everything has been good.”
As if he would need any extra motivation, Grant noted that Bute has had some extra incentive to get geared up for this big match tonight, “The last week or week and a half Lucian has been on fire in the gym with his sparring. Alvarez has said a few things, that this is going to be Lucian’s last fight and that he is going to knock Bute out. But, you know Lucian doesn’t worry, he does his work, you know how he is, he doesn’t cut corners. Lucian is a bit of a slow starter but if Alvarez comes out fast and is too over confident he might get hit with something and he could go to bed right away. Lucian is strong and we didn’t have any problem with weight. Everything has went as planned and we expect him to come out on top come Friday night,” stated Grant.
As I have mentioned in the past, the Montreal fight scene is for real. Grant’s account of how tonight’s fight came to fruition is a testament to that reality. “Alvarez is good, he’s strong and he is undefeated, he is # 1 at 175 pounds. He was supposed to fight Stevenson but who knows what happened there? We as a group were not expecting this fight to happen because Pascal was offered the fight. But Pascal talked himself out of it thinking he was the A-side and so this just happened. It was an easy fight to make. Alvarez was coming to our place sparring with my fighter Dario Bredicean. Alvarez trainer Marc Ramsey is a good friend of mine, they have been to our place many times. There is nothing personal between us, no animosity, but at the end of the day it all comes to business, and that’s exactly what this is,” shared Grant.
It should come as no surprise that with all things Adonis nothing is etched in granite. The talk of tonight’s winner getting a crack at him is far from a done deal according to Grant. “The fight with Adonis for the winner is not finalized; right now I think it’s just a verbal agreement. Adonis is supposed to fight someone this spring. It was supposed to be Joe Smith but as we know that fell apart. Adonis has to beat whoever it is. Lucian is going to beat Alvarez and then maybe these guys can meet in the summertime or in the fall. But I am not jumping the gun here; we are focusing on Alvarez 100%,” Grant stated confidently.
One thing is for sure, the boxing fans in Quebec are loyal to their own and although Bute has had his share of struggles he still may be the most popular fighter in the Province. Grant noted, “The people here in Quebec have always been very supportive of Bute. Promoter Yvon Michel says he expects upwards of 10,000 people but I think there will be more than that because of Lucian’s popularity. They like Bute… in fact they love this guy. If there was any doubt I saw it at the public workout this week, the people here appreciate Lucian a lot.”
In closing Grant quickly and confidentially stated his thoughts on Bute’s training and eventual outcome for tonight’s fight. “Great training, great sparring, his weight is good and he is very confident. We’re gonna win Friday night, and that’s it!”
This will be a great night in Quebec City and when the bell rings for the Main Event you can rest assured that the electricity in the building will be more than buzzing. Look for a hard fought battle that will see Bute come out on top.
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