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IBF champ Lucian Bute spends day training in preparation for weekend challenge

05/24/2012 06:56 EDT | Updated 07/24/2012 05:12 EDT
NOTTINGHAM, England - It could be described as the calm before the storm but IBF super-middleweight champ Lucian Bute had a quiet day Thursday as he prepared to defend his title this weekend against Carl Froch.

Bute used the day to hit the gym for a private training session in a modest section of Nottingham about 10 minutes from the city centre. Jean Bedard, president of Interbox and Bute's promoter, joked that the facility smelled a bit like a hockey locker-room.

Everyone in the fighter's entourage is anxious for the moment when the first punches are thrown on Saturday.

Bedard is aware that once the bout is over, he'll be getting calls from other promoters, which could result in a bout with one of Bute's other rivals, Mikkel Kessler, who will be attending the fight.

"Kessler might be an attractive option," Bedard said in an interview.

Bute himself isn't giving much thought to Kessler at the moment but Bedard, as a promoter, is focused on the next step because Bute will want to know what happens after the fight.

"On Monday, Lucian will want to know before going on vacation when he's starting again," said Bedard, who also heads the Cage aux sports restaurant chain. "He'll be continuing his quest."

Bedard said that quest is aimed at being recognized as one of the best boxers in the world, if not one of the greatest boxers ever. Those are big ambitions but not misplaced ones, the promoter noted, and were part of the reason the Romanian-born Montrealer accepted a less attractive purse than usual.

"He's motivated now by a lot more than money and fame," said Bedard, noting that's perfectly consistent with his own approach even if he has to take a shortfall sometimes.

"There are two ways of doing things — either you always fight as profitably as possible or you set a medium and a long term. Sometimes just taking a step back or making a sacrifice in income can lead you somewhere."

That somewhere can lead to a payday.

"Lucian is at a level where it's not about money," Bedard said, pointing out Bute wants to be known as the best fighter at his weight level. "To get there, you have to go through fights like Saturday's. He has to shown he's able to go outside, that he's willing to go up against the best available.

"We didn't necessarily have a lot of options for that, except to go back against guys who want to make a name at Lucian's expense. But Lucian is looking forward.

"To do this, he had to make a (financial) sacrifice but it's a calculated sacrifice that everyone is comfortable with."

There was a time a few years ago when Bute could have gone with an American promoter but he would have risked ending up with a less scrupulous boss. Instead, he stuck with Interbox and appreciated their decision to let him take on Librado Andrade and also defend his title in his native Romania as he did last year.

"It's really a partnership between us, we make the decisions together," Bedard said. "We're on the same wavelength. I know Lucian's goals and Lucian knows why he's in boxing. There are no lengthy discussions on the next step."

Bute is also serving as an inspiration to some of Interbox's other fighters, including Pier-Olivier Cote, a Quebecer who will take on Brit Mark Lloyd in one of the preliminary bouts on Saturday at the Capital FM Arena.

"I don't have idols but if I have an example at Interbox, it's Lucian," he said. "And he had a good model in Eric Lucas.

"Lucian is very focused in that he does, he's determined, he has goals, he trains hard, he really does, as he proved in learning French," Cote said. "He's a good example in all ways so the kids watching him can't go wrong in imitating a guy like that."

Bedard also said he thinks it's an advantage that Interbox is part of Sportscene Group, a diversified company, which is helpful when it comes to negotiations. The cold, hard cash is not always a key point.

"It's good for our boxers because it's not life-and-death when we're negotiating," Bedard said. "We look at the whole situation, how it can help promote the sport in general and fuel our other platforms."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had Cage aux sports and Andrade misspelled

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