Bute got off to an overly cautious start but was able to sharp-shoot the Russian born Grachev who now calls San Diego home. A clash of heads between the southpaw Bute bouncing back across the ring in the second, holding his left eye that would require stitches after the fight, a definite sign of what lay ahead was not going to be easy. Bute used the ring well in the early going but even as he was threading the needle with some well placed left hands to the body in the fourth, Grachev was beginning to force the hometown fighter to the ropes with some hard right hands of his own.
The next round was the best by Grachev and what may be of the most concern for Bute moving forward. Grachev not only was able to force the hometown fighter to the ropes and land some solid right hands, right hands that definitely had an effect, but Bute had little that he could stem the tide with. It wasn’t Froch all over again but it wasn’t hard to see that if a more skilled opponent was on the other end, Bute could very well look like he was run over by a freight train.
There was little sting in his punches to keep his opponent at bay as he lay on the ropes, but more worriedly he could not tie up Grachev effectively for any length of time letting his opponent to easily break free with the chance of furthering the damage. To his credit, Bute did well surviving some of the right hands and was eventually able to come back against the American based fighter. But the rate of exchange between the greenback and a British pound-ing are considerable, and the floor is still open to discussion whether what Bute showed Saturday will be enough in a rematch.
Many of the things Bute’s trainer Stephane Larouche was looking for going into the fight failed to materialize before the final round, a twelfth round where Bute opened up all the stops and just lay a beating on his opponent, the round that Bell Centre fans had been hoping for all night. But the fighter who was supposed to have utilized his jab more, be a lot busier and throw more punches failed to materialize for much of the evening.
“Grachev is a guy who has been receiving every type of punch,” said Larouche referring to the fighters days as kick-boxing champion. Legs, kicks on the stomach, the head, knees. He was a kick boxing champion. We were expecting that left uppercut to the chest or body wasn’t going to hurt him bad, but it would slow him down. But we told Lucian to be ready for a long long night. This guy was going to walking on you all night long, he’s got nothing to lose, he’s not that fast, he’s not that strong, but he’s a heavy handed guy who keeps his composure and I think Lucian tonight was very conscience of everything in there.”
Larouche also made it very clear that Froch indeed was still the plan moving forward. “This is the reason Lucian is back. He’s not back to rebuild his record with another twenty more wins. He has to step back and be even better against Carl Froch and I’m sure he’s able to do that. You’ve seen how he is and what he did in the last round, this is who he is and what he can do. Getting ready for a guy like Carl Froch you need somebody who will stand there in front of you with a good chin, who’s going to put pressure on you. If you’re not strong enough and do not recover from your last loss, we may be telling you this is the end. But he won this fight. He won one punch at a time, one minute at a time and one round at a time. When he may of taken a round off, he always came back with a good round after that. But we know that the best guys in the world will be better than this.”