Jean Pascal: “Hopkins Made Me Become Better”
by Hans Olson
After a career stretch in which he fought seven times in just over two years, Jean Pascal took a much needed rest. Jean has not fought since his close decision loss to Bernard Hopkins in May, but he’s itching to get back into action. In all likelihood, fans will see his return sometime in 2012s first quarter.
“I think it’s going to be a good year,” Pascal told Boxing Insider over the weekend. “It’s going to be a good year because the two fights that I had with Hopkins brought me a lot of experience. Now I’m a more complete fighter. I’m going to be smarter in the ring also. I know what to do in special situations and stuff like that. I guess Hopkins made me become better.”
Although Jean would love nothing more than another crack at the 46-year old champ, it’s unclear how things will shakeout between Hopkins and Chad Dawson, who, back in October had an ugly mess of a “fight” that was eventually ruled a “No-Contest.” Dawson—the man whom Pascal had previously defeated to earn the division’s lineal championship—was originally given a TKO victory over Hopkins. In the fight itself, Hopkins, claiming a shoulder injury, could not continue after a strange sequence where he was promptly thrown to the canvas by Dawson after creating his own foul by lunging onto him. It’s unclear if Hopkins and Dawson will fight again.
Last week, the WBC ordered a rematch between Hopkins and Dawson, “believe it or not.” I asked Jean if he thought the fight would actually happen. “I don’t think so,” said Jean, acknowledging the disinterest of all parties involved in that rematch.
If not Hopkins or Dawson, there are many options for Jean Pascal. There are of course the titleholders, IBF champ Tavoris Cloud; WBO champ Nathan Cleverly; and WBA champ Beibut Shumenov. Zsolt Erdei, who was slated to face Cloud on New Year’s Eve before an injury halted those plans, would also be an attractive option.
The WBC however, has ordered a fight between Pascal and undefeated Ukrainian, Ismayl Sillakh, who is rated #2 by the WBC.
“He’s a good prospect,” said Pascal. “But he’s not among the elite fighters right now like Hopkins, Dawson, and myself. I think he’s still too green to me, no disrespect. If the WBC wants me to fight him, I have no problem.”
“That will be a great fight,” smiled Pascal.
Then again, I’m not sure it’s possible for Jean Pascal be involved in anything less…
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson