Butler vs Cook fight mirrored by despicable actions from the crowd
There are few moments in sports greater than a title fight, with each fighter risking a belt and title in the spirit of competition. Add to that, the inter provincial rivalry of Ontario and Quebec – Butler vs Cook, and you’re sure to have fireworks – and fireworks is exactly what was had.
Undefeated Montreal native Steven “Bang Bang” Butler met equally undefeated Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook in the ring at Bell Center Saturday night in a bout that both fighters will remember Butler vs Cook for years to come. For good and for bad. What should be a story about a great fight; and it was a great fight, will ultimately be mired in controversy due to the despicable actions of a few members of the crowd.
Butler and Cook came out swinging to start the fight, with Butler seemingly getting the better of the exchanges. The two men traded ferocious combinations and thunderous punches that had the crowd roaring and on their feet. It looked as though Butler was going to earn a victory early in the fight, but the wily veteran kept it together and weathered the storm. As the bout went on, tempers slowly began to boil. On a few occasions,† Cook seemed to land late blows when the two were clinched and by the end of the fifth round, referee ?name? had to separate the two following the bell. The rivalry was proving real, belts and undefeated records at stake. Butler was starting to slow and Cook sensed it. Perhaps Cook, being nine years the senior of the young twenty-one year old, used his experience to get into the head space of Butler, and if so, it worked.
At the pinnacle of the seventh round, Cook caught Butler with a beautiful right over hand punch, sending him crashing to the canvas. Butler got to his feet but the referee decided to end the bout, much to the dismay of Steven Butler, and to the ire of the crowd. Cook raised his arms in victory, and was bombarded by missiles thrown from the crowd. Beer cups and bottles, an ice bucket struck Cook in the back of the head at the same moment the enraged Butler hit Cook. The champion went down and was pounced upon by his manager for his protection as chaos broke out. Fights erupted in the crowd between the two fan factions while the ring itself was swarmed by fighters and officials. It was a disgraceful end to a fantastic fight and card.
Two arrests were made following the skirmish and four people, including two security agents, were injured. One women was escorted to hospital by ambulance, after a vodka bottle that was thrown towards the ring fell short, striking her on the head and leaving her badly cut.
It was revealed during the follow up press conference, that Butler felt the stoppage was unjust, coming at the three minute mark of the three minute round, and that he would have fully recovered between rounds. Perhaps so, but the referee has a duty to protect the well being of the fighters, who nearly never know when to stop – it just isn’t part of a fighters mentality. His manager, Camille Estephan believed Butler’s actions were the result of an energy dump. Cook and his crew arrived shortly after the departure of Estephan and victorious combatant, Simon Kean, and had some very choice words for Steven Butler. Obviously emotional, Cook took aim at the actions of Butler and his fans, calling them classless among other things. When asked about a rematch, Cook said “I don’t think Butler deserves a rematch after what he did. Let him with two or three more fights and we’ll see” before adding that he would love to fight again in Montreal but not against Butler, due mostly to the actions of the fans.
In the penultimate fight, the former heavy weight Olympian from Trois-Rivieres, Simon Kean, looked great in his dominant decision victory over American Avery Gibson. It was the first time Kean had gone the distance in a professional fight, as his seven previous bouts had all ended by knockout. Kean is a mountain of a man, at a towering 6’5″ – and looks to have a very bright future ahead of him. He controlled the pace of the fight and picked his spots well, landing heavy hands on the resilient American. It was hinted at†, that Kean could be added to the May 11th card in New York, which features David Lemieux versus Curtis Stevens in the main event. Another fight to look forward to see is Lucian Bute take on Eleider Alvarez on February 24th in Quebec City ñ the winner will face the might Adonis Stevenson. Local fan favourite Francis Lafreniere is also scheduled to duke it out against Florida’s Marcus Willis, for the vacant WBO NABO middleweight title.
Feature caption: Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook is struck by water bucket
Photos and story By: Kieron Yates – mtltimes.ca