What’s Next for Jean Pascal?
by Hans Olson
“Tavoris Cloud is old stuff. It’s an old story. He can’t get a fight with anyone! Don King is too difficult.”
The frustration from Jean Pascal (26-2-1), the former Light Heavyweight Champion of the World, is apparent.
When you’re the biggest ticket-seller, with the most personality, and have the most exciting style in the division…you can understand why Jean Pascal has the upper-hand in negotiations. Jean Pascal wanted to fight IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud (23-0) in December. HBO loved the idea of the fight. Fans everywhere loved the idea of the fight. Don King wanted more than what seemed to be reasonable. King was requesting future options on Pascal during negotiations, something laughable considering the hard work and financial investment Groupe Yvon Michel has put into promoting Jean Pascal from the ground up over the last number of years.
“I’m telling you Tavoris, you need to change your promoter,” continued Pascal. “If you do not change promoters…you won’t make money, and you won’t be on TV!”
Tavoris Cloud is an exciting action fighter, and a champion at that. The problem is, his name value doesn’t hold up in the grand scheme of the division, something Jean Pascal feels is important. “He’s a champion also, but we’re only talking about Pascal, Dawson, Hopkins.”
So let’s talk about Dawson and Hopkins.
Last weekend, we all know what happened at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. “Bad” Chad Dawson (31-1) earned a somewhat dubious TKO victory over Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins (52-6-2). Both fighters were at fault, and the ending left a bad taste for all who paid to see it. I asked Jean what he felt about Dawson/Hopkins.
“Honestly, like…it’s really hard to tell,” said Pascal. “Of course, we saw a foul. Dawson dropped in and pushed him. Dawson did the same thing with me in round-8 during our fight. So that’s not new with Dawson. Hopkins? Maybe he was faking, maybe not. But listen guys, he’s 46. He’s an old man so we have to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
After the fight against B-Hop, Dawson was quick to call out Jean Pascal, the only man to have defeated him in his professional career.
So who does Jean Pascal want?
“Chad Dawson wants me! I don’t need Chad Dawson, I beat him up already! I know he wants me. I want Hopkins. I want Hopkins because he beat me once. A real close fight—I thought I won the fight, but it was a close fight…let’s do it again!”
The confusion surrounding the actual champion in the division continues. As of right now, Ring Magazine hasn’t recognized Chad Dawson as the champ. They’re waiting for the California State Athletic Commission to rule one way or another in December. The WBC on the other hand, has already reversed the in-ring call by declaring the bout a technical-draw, thus rewarding Bernard Hopkins by allowing him to keep his belt.
Another titleholder in the division is Beibut Shumenov (12-1) who holds the WBA’s version of the championship at 175. A Pascal/Shumenov fight has also been discussed.
“Shumenov, we gave him an offer to come to Montreal but he wants to fight in the States in front of 1,000 people,” said Pascal. “Come to Montreal and let’s make some money! I know he’s rich, he doesn’t need money—but at least I don’t want to fight in a quiet empty stadium! So you have to come to Montreal.”
Shumenov has now been mentioned by numerous outlets that he’s in negotiations to fight Hungary’s Zsolt Erdei (33-0) in late December. Erdei had also been on the short-list of opponents for Pascal.
So what can we expect from Jean Pascal next?
“I want to fight as soon as possible. I’ve been in the gym for a while right now. We just need to find an opponent right now.”
Whomever it is better expect to come to Quebec.
And they better expect a fight.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson