What’s next for Jean Pascal?
By Simon Galipeau
So what’s happening with former WBC light heavyweight champion and former Olympian Jean Pascal? He’s coming of a pretty impressive win against fellow Canadian fighter Lucian Bute back in January and at the age of 31 years old; he’s still in his prime. Of course, Bute is considered to now be a shot fighter after his disastrous performance against reigning IBF and WBA super-middleweight champ Carl ¨The Cobra¨ Froch, but it’s still a win against a well known, former champion of the world. I mean, you can say all you want about Bute, but guys like Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev are prime example of guys that have not fought this caliber of opponent in their career and are both considered top fighters in the business.
So to get back on topic, what are the options next for the flashy Pascal? He is definitely too heavy to fight at 168 pounds now. In one of his latest bouts against little known Aleksy Kuziemski in 2012, Pascal struggled badly to make the weight at 175 where he tipped the scale at 181 pounds, so there’s no way he can fight at 168 with his muscle mass. So what can he accomplish at light heavyweight? If we take a look at the current champions, there’s nothing for him until 2015. Current WBA champion Beibut Shumenov, which would have been the perfect opponent for Pascal, is set to face ¨The Alien¨ Bernard Hopkins for a unification bout. And even after that one, which will see Hopkins probably break his own record for oldest champion, I just can’t see him giving Pascal a 3rd fight. Then, there is Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson. But both are already booked for april and may and it wouldn’t surprise anyone that a clash between those two will happen for the end of the year in a big, fight of the year candidate, clash.
Pascal has to stay busy if he wants to have, eventually, a big title shot, but where does he go from here? Juergen Braehmer? Isaac Chilemba? Karo Murat? These are the guys ranked in the top 10 of the light-heavyweight standings but are virtually unknown to everyone and they just wouldn’t help Pascal get back to the top of the mountain in any way. A rematch with Carl Froch? Maybe, but Carl is now busy preparing for his mega rematch with George Groves and after he loses to George (yea I just don’t see Carl escaping again from that one) there won’t be a lot to gain in that one except for pride. So without any opportunity left at 175 pounds, could he try the same move that Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew made by moving to the cruiserweight division? We can compare Pascal to Cleverly as both are good fighters but they are just outclass right now at light heavyweight and both always had issues making weight for their fights. The thing is, at cruiserweight, you need to have some kind of punching power to make it, and with only 17 KO’s in his career, I don’t see Pascal knocking anyone in that weight category. We can pretty much say the same thing for Britain Tony Bellew, as Vince McMahon would say: ‘he has no chance in hell’ of winning a championship belt at cruiserweight.
So yea only time will tell. As of now, the only things we heard from Pascal camp, following his fight with Bute, is that his home was searched by the police for evidence in a case of sexual assault and that he was cooperating with them as a witness…. Yep, that is not good press. We also heard rumors that Pascal might leave his manager Yvon Michel and Gym promotions to go fight in the U.S. but I’m not sure that this is a wise move as he is still not considered as a big money fighter in the states as where he can load the Bell Center here in Québec, Canada. I really think that he needs to book a match for this summer, even though it would be against a second-tier opponent, just to stay active. But unfortunately, he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place and I think that the move to cruiserweight might be one of his only remaining options to still make money and who knows, maybe capture another title.