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Puncher from the Past: Jean Claude Bouttier

By Eric Armit
Mon, 26 Feb 2024

Born 13 October 1944 Saint-Pierre-la Cour, France
Died 3 October 2019 Gournay sur Marne, France

Weight Division Middleweight
Record: 72 fights (43 wins by KO/TKO), 7 losses 1 draw.
Titles Held: French and European Middleweight (twice)
Professional Career: 1965 to 1974
Defeated: Nessim Max Cohen*, Jacques Marty, Pedro Miranda, Stanley Hayward*, Juarez de Lima, Jo Gonzales, Pascal Di Benedetto, Tom Bethea*, Lonnie Harris, Carlo Duran, Raul Soriano, Bunny Sterling, Manuel Gonzalez*, Ruben Arocha, Fabio Bettini, Emile Griffith**, Antonio Aguilar, Joe DeNucci, Art Hernandez,
Drew With: Nessim Max Cohen*
Lost To: Juarez de Lima (twice), Nessim Max Cohen, Lonnie Harris, Carlos Monzon (twice)**, Kevin Finnegan.
* * Former/Future World title holder
* World title challenger
-1965 to 1968 scored 32 consecutive wins 28 of those in six and eight round fights and it was only in fight No 29 he moved up to ten round fights.
-1969 Nine fights. Was 6-2-1 losing to Juarez de Lima in April snapping Bouttier’s winning streak at 36 fights. Lost to de Lima again in September and drew with Nessim Max Cohen in October but ended the year with an impressive sixth round stoppage of Jacques Marty.
-1970 Seven fights. Was 6-1 beating Stanley Hayward and Juarez de Lima but Losing a split decision against Lonnie Harris in Los Angeles. He closed the year with a third round kayo over hard-punching Jo Gonzales who at that time had a 39-9-2 record with all 39 wins by KO/TKO.
-1971 Seven fights. Was 7-0 beating Pascal Di Benedetto to win the French middleweight title and Carlo Duran to win the European title and also knocked out Tom Bethea, Lonnie Harris and Bunny Sterling
-1972 Seven fights. Was 6-1. Scored four wins then in June .
challenged Carlos Monzon for the WBA and WBC titles but was floored in the sixth and retired after the twelfth. In December beat Emile Griffith who was disqualified for a low punch.
-1973 Five fights. Was 4-1. Beat Antonio Aguilar, Joe DeNucci, Art Hernandez and Alvin Phillips. In September lost on points to Monzon for the middleweight titles.
-1974 In March stopped Elio Calcabrini to win the European title. May lost the European title being outpointed by Kevin Finnegan. December floored twice and stopped by Nessim Max Cohen
Announced his retirement.

Bouttier was originally an apprentice butcher at the age of 14 and he started boxing at the age of 15, The French newspaper L’Équipe had him as Sportsman of the Year in 1971 and in the same year “Champion of French Champions” the first boxer since Marcel Cerdan in 1948 to win that award. He had built a big following with his wins over a variety of good level European and American opposition but it was the two Monzon fights that made Bouttier a national hero. They were both brutal contests with Bouttier’s game plan very simple “get in his face” and he did that no matter what punishment he had to take to do so. Bouttier was down in the sixth in their first fight and a couple of rounds later his vision was affected by a well-placed Monzon thumb (pre attached-gloves days) and he took a savage beating before retiring. In the second fight he was floored three times but never stopped taking the fight to Monzon. French actor Alain Deleon reportedly put up the money for the second Monzon fight. With his good looks even during his fighting days from 1971 and through to 2000 Bouttier was appearing in movies and TV series and created his own clothing brand. He founded the Paris Sainte-Germain Boxing Club and was Club President The club produced six French champions three European champions and world title holder before it closed. From 1985 he worked as part of the commentary team for the French TV Canal Plus who had the French rights to most big boxing events and Bouttier worked with Canal Plus for almost thirty years and remained a popular personality through to his death in 2019 .

About the Author

Born in Scotland, Eric Armit started working with Boxing News magazine in the UK in the late 1960’s initially doing records for their Boxing News Annual and compiling World, European and Commonwealth ratings for the magazine. He wrote his first feature article for Boxing News in 1973 and wrote a “World Scene” weekly column for the magazine from the late 1970’s until 2004. Armit wrote a monthly column for Boxing Digest in the USA and contributed pieces to magazines in Mexico, Italy, Australia, Spain, Argentina and other countries. Armit now writes a Weekly Report covering every major fight around the world and a bi-weekly Snips & Snipes column plus occasional general interest articles with these being taken up by boxing sites around the world. He was a member of the inaugural WBC Ratings Committee and a technical advisor to the EBU Ratings Committee and was consulted by John McCain’s research team when they were drafting the Ali Act. He is a Director and former Chairman of the Commonwealth Boxing Council. Armit has been nominated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame the past two years (2019 and 2020) to which he said, “Being on the list is an unbelievably huge honour.”

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eric Armit.

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