His nickname is “Le Tombeur,” which in French means “The Heartthrob.” There are worse nicknames to be saddled with. Right, Chuck “The Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner? For Lucian Bute, the native Romanian who now makes his home in Montreal, it’s three fights in Canada that set his heart aflutter for his Greatest Hits.
3 vs Glen Johnson, November 5, 2011, at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City
Johnson was a 42-year-old longtime contender fresh off a close, tough fight with Carl Froch when he took on Bute, who was undefeated at 29-0 and 11 years younger than Johnson. Those miles of road took their toll.
Bute pounded Johson for 10 rounds en route to a near-shutout at 120-108 twice and 119-109 on the judges' scorecards.
“It was an easy fight for me,” Bute said, full of understatement. “Glen Johnson had good experience. He fought good names. He fought Roy Jones, but in this fight I dominated every round.”
2 vs Alejandro Berrio, October 19, 2007, at Bell Centre in Montreal
Bute’s first title fight came on the heels of an eliminator win over Sakio Bika in June 2007. That win set him up to take on Berrio in Bute’s adopted hometown of Montreal.
It looked like Bute was en route to a comfortable decision. Then he dropped the exclamation point on the whole fight, stopping Berrio midway through the 11th round with a head-snapping combination to a clearly shell-shocked Berrio, who was trapped in the corner.
“It was a very important fight, to be the world champion,” Bute said. “When the referee stopped the fight, my mind reeled: ‘Wow, I’m the world champion!’ I caught him two times with a right hook, then a good left hand. After the second left hand, it was ours.”
1 vs Librado Andrade, November 28, 2009, at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City
In October 2008, Bute took on Andrade, a tough Mexican fighter with only one loss on his résumé against 20 knockouts. Bute, again fighting for the home fans in Montreal, won a one-sided decision to stay unbeaten.
The fighters met in a rematch the following year, and Bute was eager to prove the first win was no fluke. If there were any lingering doubts, Bute erased them in the fourth round when he put Andrade on the ground twice—the second time causing referee Benjy Esteves Jr. to wave the whole thing off.
“I did it great with the control, the power,” Bute said. “I had everything in my hands. I caught him with a right hook in the fourth round, then a left to the body. It was a beautiful stoppage for me.
“In the first fight, he put a lot of pressure on. I had to stay with him a little more. It was good for him. He liked to fight inside. He likes to fight close to his opponent. The second time I used my jab, my distance, I used my legs.”
To get ready for Bute vs Andrea Di Luisa on Saturday night (NBC Sports Network, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), make sure to stay tuned to our fight page.