Injured Bute pulls out
Lucian Bute has been forced to pull out of his fight with Jean Pascal on May 25 because of a hand injury.
- Related Content
Southpaw Bute (31-1-0) suffered the injury while training in Florida and will need surgery this week to remove bone fragments from his left hand.
"I am very disappointed by this injury. I have never been in better shape," a disappointed Bute told ESPN.
"My preparation was ahead of schedule until late last week. The fans that paid high ticket prices to see me in action against Pascal deserve to see both boxers at their best. Unfortunately, I would be far from my best in my present state.
"For my own good, I have to take the advice of my doctor and (will) undergo this operation. I feel very sad for the fans."
The light-heavyweights had attracted a sell-out 21,000 crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal and the winner had been touted as a potential opponent for Britain's Carl Froch.
Pascal is also gutted the fight will now not take place - but he still hopes to be in action on May 25, the same night Froch faces Mikkel Kessler in London.
"I was so excited when I met with the media last week," Pascal said from his Las Vegas training camp. "I thought that I was in the best shape of my life and very optimistic about my fight with Bute.
"We now need to start over but I am a professional. I know that these things happen and I think that sooner or later, we will both be in the ring to settle our differences. And I would like to add that I would still fight on May 25; I am ready to face anyone."
Bute held the IBF super-middleweight title until he was stopped in five rounds by Froch in Nottingham a year ago. He rebounded with a shaky win over Denis Grachev in November.
Pascal lost his WBC light heavyweight belt to veteran Bernard Hopkins in 2011. He returned from a 19-month absence to defeat Aleksy Kuziemski in December.