How do you make up for a wasted year—and then some? By wasting the other dude in the ring with the kind of sweat-spraying left hands that make eyes black and opponents blue.
Coming off a 19-month layoff due in part to a back injury, Lucian Bute's return to the ring Saturday night at the Bell Centre in his adopted hometown of Montreal was as short as his hiatus was long, as he Hulk-smashed an outgunned Andrea Di Luisa (17-3, 13 KOs) for a fourth-round technical knockout.
Fighting out of his native Italy for the first time, Di Luisa had no answer for Bute’s ceaseless movement and much more accurate punching (Bute landed at a 41 percent connect rate, while Di Luisa found home but 17 percent of the time).
Though it took awhile for Bute (32-2, 24 KOs) to get going, once he did, the former 168-pound champ, who’s now campaigning at 175 pounds, blazed like paper on fire.
In Round 3, the southpaw began getting to work in earnest, hammering Di Luisa with beautiful left uppercuts that begat ugly winces from his opponent.
The following round, Bute caught Di Luisa with a wicked left hand that had Excedrin written all over it, sending Di Luisa to the floor. Di Luisa beat the count, but his corner had seen enough.
They threw in the towel shortly after the fight resumed as Bute was swinging as freely as a PGA vet on the driving range.
The towel was red, appropriately enough, as Bute had become a raging bull by that point.
“I’m back!” Bute bellowed afterward, his words and his fists equally exclamatory.
Eleider Alvarez decisions Isidro Prieto in fun, freewheeling fight
In a battle of two undefeated 175-pound South American fighters, Alvarez (18-0, 10 KOs) slickly outboxed Prieto (24-1-3, 20 KOs) to win a unanimous decision.
It wasn’t easy, though.
Prieto, a former mason, possessed the power of a man with bricks for hands, hammering Alvarez with wild overhand rights, staggering him late in Round 1 and almost sending Alvarez down to the canvas for the first time in his career in Round 6.
But despite throwing almost twice as many punches as his opponent, Prieto was outclassed much of the night as Alvarez controlled the distance and landed his shots much more accurately.
After Prieto’s blockbuster Round 6, he seemed to tire, sloppily attacking Alvarez with limited effectiveness as his opponent smartly countered, picking his shots astutely and landing at will.
Alvarez looked like a marksman blasting clay pigeons.
Alvarez’s precision punching and superior hand and foot speed enabled him to pull out a wide decision victory (117-111 on all three judges’ scorecards) in what was a fun, fast-paced scrap.
For full coverage of all the action in Montreal, visit our fight page.