Super-middleweight Brian Magee’s brave attempt to dethrone WBA super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute (28-0) was unsuccessful when he lost by TKO in the 10th round of their fight at the Bell Center in Montreal on Saturday night.
Magee (34-4-1), from Lisburn, Co. Antrim, held his own early in the bout, but once the champion found his range with the left hand body shots Magee was in trouble.
Bute knocked him down three times over the course of the fight with punishing blows to the mid-section (one was ruled a low blow but on replay looked like a good body shot), but the Irishman kept on getting up to fight back.
However, one perfectly placed left uppercut put him down again in the 10th, and referee Pete Podgorski saw enough and waved off the fight.
"I gave it everything," said Magee, according to the Montreal Gazette. "He's probably the best guy I've ever been in with, very solid, compact and smart.
"I thought he'd go to the body again. I didn't think it would be an uppercut," was how the 35-year-old explained the end of the fight. "It's not so bad having a loss on your record against the best in the world. He's a great champion."
In other news, Matthew Macklin (28-2, 19 KOs) has a new assignment after the opportunity to fight Winky Wright fell through after the American pulled out due to injury.
The 28-year-old Macklin will fight Khoren Gevor (31-5, 16 KOs), an Armenian-born, German-based fighter, on April 16 at Manchester's M.E.N. Arena on the undercard of Amir Khan’s WBA light welterweight title defense against Derry native Paul McCloskey.
Gevor, a former European champion, is a respected campaigner in the 160-pound division and has had three unsuccessful tilts at a world title during his career. The 31-year-old lost to WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm in 2009, was knocked out by IBF champion Arthur Abraham in 2007, and lost his last fight to WBA super middleweight Dimitri Sartison in July 2010.
Macklin’s manager Brian Peters is delighted with the new challenge, and revealed that the winner of this fight could be in line for a world title challenge.
“Obviously we were gutted when Wright pulled out but this has worked out much better for us,” he said, according to the Sunday Mercury.
“Gevor is a highly respected performer and the fight has been recognized as a WBA title eliminator. A win for Matthew and he will be one step away from his dream.”
Macklin, who is now trained by Freddie Roach, has always maintained that he needs to be challenged in order to produce his best. Gevor is no pushover, and the added carrot of a world title challenge should be enough for him to perform at a high level.
The card in Manchester on April 16 will have a very Irish flavor to it. As well as McCloskey trying to defeat Khan and Macklin now fighting Gevor in a title eliminator, Dublin lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (5-0) has officially been added to the card.
The Los Angeles-based, Roach-trained fighter has no opponent confirmed as of yet, but he is already training hard for what will be his European debut as a professional.
Super bantamweight Willie Casey’s challenge to WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (8-0) was over within a round when was TKO’ed by the Cuban. Casey (11-1) took the fight to his opponent in the early exchanges, but when Rigondeaux connected with a crushing left to the body, the Limerick man was in serious difficulty. He was knocked down three times before referee Stanley Christodoulou stopped the fight with 2:38 gone in the round.
"I'm fighting for a world title after 11 fights. Was it too soon for me? I don't think so. I think it was the right time for me. It was just unfortunate that I got caught. It was either him or me. It was me tonight,” said Casey after the fight.
"If another big fight came along next week I'd jump back on the bike again and take it again. Without a doubt. Without even hesitating. I'm in this game to try and box people and fight people and do the best I can.”