Brian Magee given a big chance to prove he’s the real deal
Pat Magee felt like Santa Claus when he could confirm that Brian Magee would be fighting the man many experts believe is the finest 12st fighter on the planet, Lucien Bute.
As revealed in the Belfast Telegraph last week, Magee will travel to Montreal for a March 19 showdown with Romanian-born Bute, the IBF super-middleweight champion.
It may be a well worn cliche, but in this case ‘dream fight’ perfectly sums up this opportunity for 35-year-old Magee.
“A win here and I’m into life changing money, you’re a millionaire overnight,” said southpaw Magee, who will be banking an undisclosed career-record purse.
When Magee steps through the ropes for his moment of destiny in the Bell Centre, it will be 12 years almost to the day he made his professional debut and the timescale wasn’t lost on the likeable Lisburn-man.
“It’s been a long hard road to get to this point, I’ve certainly had some ups and downs along the way, but getting this chance now is perfect because even two or three years ago I wouldn’t have been ready for this.
“I feel now that I have the chance of a lifetime to fight the best super-middleweight in the world at a time when I’m in the best shape of my life, I’m more of a real fighter and I’m ready to go and grab the title.”
Magee had long been lined up for a mandatory title clash with WBA champion Dimitri Sartison and that would have provided him with a better than even chance of becoming a world champion but when manager Pat Magee offered him Bute, Brian jumped at it.
Magee added: “I knew that going to Germany to try and beat Sartison was always going to be very hard. I’ve been hard done by before in Germany when I lost a European title fight and you just know it’s going to be very hard to win there.
“Of course Bute is a harder opponent than Sartison, but this is such a much bigger fight, bigger pay-day and I’m facing the best super-middleweight in the world.
“Some will probably say that Carl Froch is the best in the world, but I think he probably just pips Froch.
“I’m twice the fighter I was when I fought Froch for the British title. A re-match with him would be a great fight if I can come through against Bute.
“Not many Irish fighters get the chance to face the very best in their division.
“I’m also now rated highly in the main governing bodies and the Ring magazine has me at number 10. That’s special in itself, when you see yourself right up there with the very best of the super-middle division.
Bute-Magee will be screened around the World by Showtime television, who have been staging the highly lucrative and audience-grabbing Super Six tournament. The winner of it will be known next year with Froch the favourite and it is expected that the winner of Bute-Magee will go on to face Super Six king.
Bute's matchmaker Don Majeski, who failed to lure WBA and WBO champions Dimitri Sartison and Robert Stieglitz into the ring, said: “Magee's a live fighter. He wasn't picked because there are 10 better. He wasn't picked because he's the easiest. He's the best available who doesn't hold a belt.”
Magee added: “It’s going to be a great occasion because I think the arena holds 15,000-plus so the atmosphere is going to be electric.
“I would have loved to have fought for the world title at home, but this event is so big I knew that I would have to travel.
“That doesn’t bother me because I travelled to Denmark and won the European title and I’m sure I’ll get a fair crack in Canada.
“I’ll probably go out at least a week in advance of the fight to make sure that I get settled and get used to the environment.
“Nothing will be left to chance and we’ll have our game plan for the fight. Bute doesn’t seem to have many weaknesses, but we’ll have to find some!”
The supporting bill will feature the IBF super bantamweight champion Steve Molitor defending against Takalani Ndlovu. They have previously met twice with Molitor winning both times.
Super middleweight Edison Miranda, also a possible opponent for the main event, also features.