MONTREAL -- IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute's Irish challenger, Brian Magee, is by all accounts a humble and quiet man, and that's exactly why Bute's camp takes him so seriously.
Bute, of Montreal, will make the eighth defence of his title Saturday against Magee at the Bell Centre, and the champion's camp says silent types tend to make noise in the ring.
"(Magee) is a nice guy, but these silent-type of athletes tend to have a very high tolerance for pain," Bute's trainer, Stephan Larouche, told QMI Agency this week. "We're taking him very seriously."
Though no athlete should take an opponent lightly, Magee (34-3-1, 24 KO) is far from the top contender in the division. His biggest fight was back in 2006, when he was knocked out in the sixth round of a British super-middleweight title fight against Carl Froch.
Bute (27-0, 22 KO) is a 6-1 favourite against Magee and the Montrealer's aggressive, punishing style has led some observers to anoint him as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
The champion dismissed the hype during the final pre-fight news conference, saying the left-handed Magee is the best boxer he has faced in several fights.
"I watched several of (Magee's) fights and I'm not expecting a picnic," said Bute, whose match on Saturday will be the first of a three-fight deal with Showtime network.
"It's the opportunity of his lifetime, he has nothing to lose and he's not intimidated by hostile crowds."
Bute's camp pointed out that Magee was a 9-1 underdog against Denmark's Mads Larsen in his second-to last fight and knocked him out in front of a hostile crowd to retain his European super-middleweight title.
Bute, like many top Canadian boxers, prepared for his fight with a boot camp in Florida. He put in 120 sparring rounds against aggressive lefties.
"I'm in great shape," said Bute. "I'm going to put on quite a show on Saturday night."
TALE OF THE TAPE
Record: 27-0, 22 KO
Reach: 72 inches
Last Fight: Ninth-round knockout of American Jesse Brinkley
Hometown: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Record: 34-3-1, 24 KO
Reach: 74 inches
Last Fight: Eighth-round TKO of Armenian Roman Aramyan