By Chris Cella
It’s been over two years since Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KO) has exchanged leather with a fighter beside Bernard Hopkins within the squared circle, and nearly 17 months of inactivity, but on December 14 in the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, the former WBC light heavyweight champion will return to action as he goes to battle against Aleksy “Ali” Kuziemski (23-4, 7 KO).
The fight is more or less a tune-up bout for the former belt holder, as he is set to fight in a rematch against Chad Dawson for the WBC championship, who he defeated to claim the title in 2010. The bout against Kuziemski is also to reestablish Pascal amongst the rankings since he lost position during his prolonged ring absence.
The former champion is eager for his return and anxious to get back in and fight for a title in 2013.
“After a few unsuccessful tries, I know that this time is correct,” said Pascal. “My training is going well, my health is excellent, and I started hurting my sparring partners in training. In 2013, I will be world champion, crushing anybody who tries to stop me.”
Since moving up to light heavyweight and capturing the WBC title in 2009, Pascal went on to successfully defend the belt three times before running into future Hall-of-Famer Hopkins. In their first bout they fought to a draw; in the second, only five months later, Pascal was outworked by the ring veteran and former undisputed middleweight champion, losing a unanimous decision.
The layoff has given Pascal time to get focused on the mission ahead of him: winning fights and raising the championship belt again.
At 30 years old, Pascal is still young in the game, and has not endured much punishment through the first 29 fights of his career, but December 14 will be indicative of what lies ahead.
He needs to not only go out there against Kuziemski and come out victoriously, but needs to do so in impressive fashion to regain his confidence and re-solidify himself as one of the top light heavyweights in the world.
Kumienski has nothing to lose in this fight against Pascal. He has lost two of his last four fights, and twice when he has battled for World championship belts, he has come up short. A game opponent, he has the chance to take advantage of Pascal’s inactivity and any timidness which may carry over into the ring, and pull off a huge upset.