–Southpaw challenger Lucian Bute was busier over the first four rounds, coming forward behind good head movement and finding the mark with left hands and crosses over the retreating Badou Jack’s stiff jab. Bute absorbed an occasional counter or lead right from Jack, who increasingly targeted a slight third-round cut, caused by an elbow, over Bute’s right eye.
–A disciplined Jack had the edge in close quarters over the middle rounds, landing cleaner blows behind his highly-held defense. Rounds were highlighted by a head-swiveling fifth-round left hook that forced a Bute clinch, a sixth-round left to the head and piercing uppercuts up the middle to close a hotly-contested seventh.
–With the crowd chanting his last name, a reenergized Bute dictated the action over the last three rounds, finding seams in Jack’s defense with a sustained attack up the middle despite a swollen right eye.
Who wins the battle of fragile psyches between Badou Jack and left-handed former titleholder Lucian Bute?
That was a looming question entering Saturday’s 168-pound clash at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C., where the champion Jack took on the veteran Bute, with each boxer being four fights removed from stoppage losses that threatened to send their careers into a tailspin.
In the end, it was neither Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) nor Bute (32-3-1, 25 KOs) who emerged victorious, as the two battled to a controversial, 12-round majority draw in a war of wills.
Nicknamed “The Ripper,” the 32-year-old Jack seemed to do enough to win, but when the decision came down, one judge scored it 117-111 for the champ, while the other two had it 114-114.
Jack retained his crown with the draw to set up a title-unification showdown with fellow champion James DeGale later this year. In Saturday’s co-main event, DeGale won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Mexican challenger Rogelio Medina.
A 36-year-old Romanian-born Canadian who was coming off a unanimous decision loss to DeGale, Bute lost the first three rounds on two cards. But he won the fourth round across the board by coming forward behind good head movement and finding the mark with left hands and crosses over the retreating Jack’s stiff jab.An elbow from Jack in Round 3 opened a slight third-round cut over Bute’s right eye, but his corner kept it under control.
Jack regrouped and was more disciplined during the middle stages of the fight, when he landed cleaner blows that included a head-swiveling, fifth-round left hook that forced a Bute clinch; a sixth-round left to the head to go with an even-handed head and body attack; and piercing uppercuts up the middle to close a hotly-contested seventh.
However, with the crowd chanting his last name, a reenergized Bute won each of the final four rounds on one card, while taking Rounds 10 and 11 on another. He got back in the contest by dictating and finding seams in Jack’s defense with a sustained attack up the middle despite a swollen right eye.
Bleeding from the mouth with 55 seconds left, Jack got a brief respite as his corner repaired tape on his right glove. But when the action resumed, Bute appeared to get the better of the action, opening a cut over Jack’s right eye in the final moments.
After the fight, Jack admitted he was hurt by a final-round body shot, but was nonetheless dejected with the decision, believing he had clearly done enough to get the decision.
- Jack vs Bute