A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Pascal wins convincingly, Stevenson next?
Former WBC light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs), desperately in need of a signature win, beat former IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (31-2, 24 KOs) last Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal in front of more than 20,000. The fight was a long-awaited ‘Dream Match’ between two of Canada’s most celebrated boxers in recent memory. Maybe the fight was worth more had the two fought three-four years ago. Maybe Bute might of beaten Pascal, but one thing is certain, it was good to see Pascal-Bute share the ring after many recent disappointments.
Pascal and Bute (mainly Bute), was the premier face of Canadian boxing. Pascal’s rise and Bute’s longtime success as IBF 168-pound champion, drew the attention of both the American press and U.S. network giants HBO and SHOWTIME.
The night Pascal defeated Chad Dawson proved to be significant turning point in his career. Pascal overcame fatigue to box the fight of his life. In his first fight with Hopkins, Pascal scored two knockdowns and appeared to be headed toward a unanimously convincing victory against Hopkins, but barely escaped with a draw. In May 2011, Pascal lost his title to Hopkins in a rematch in which Pascal looked confused.
Losing the title to a 48 year-old Hopkins was very troubling and upsetting for Pascal and his followers. Not only did it put Pascal off-track, but he would have to dos something significant to get people to believe in him again. Pascal was respected, but taken lightly for allowing himself to be dormant for the majority of the 24 rounds (two fights) with Hopkins.
While Pascal was trying to save his faltering career, Lucian Bute, then IBF super middleweight champion, and perhaps one of the greatest fighters in Canadian boxing history, was suddenly on the downside of his career
Bute fought almost his entire career in Canada. He won his world title there and reigned for more than – years. The one time Bute traveled outside the country in defense of his world title, he was destroyed in astonishing fashion by WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch. It was the type of beating that took Bute’s ability to take punches and sustain a tough, hard-fought battle away.
Pascal and Bute desperately needed a significant victory. They needed to position themselves in a position where one signature victory will matter. One big win will lead to an eventual word title shot. One more victory will resurrect one career that may still have an active life left in the fight game. Why not match Pascal vs. Bute, a fight that all of Canada clamored about for years.
Unfortunately for Bute, it is Pascal that will move on to a world title shot.
Bute simply got old and is increasingly weary of engaging on any level. Pascal, who worked with former unified WBC/WBA/IBF light-heavyweight, IBF super middleweight, and WBA heavyweight champion Roy Jones, Jr., was too slick, too fast, and overwhelming strong to Bute. Pascal was aggressive, fast, and took risks against a guy that became a shell of his former self. Bute, however, did have his chance, one final opportunity to win the fight in the twelfth round. Bute hurt Pascal with a right hand and that had him seriously hurt in a corner. Pascal was nearly out on his feet, as Bute kept applying pressure. Pascal did a great job of surviving until the final bell.
The official scores read: 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112.
Up next for Pascal, more than likely, is WBC light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson in another all-Canadian fight. Stevenson may not sustain the level of success that Bute had through the years, but he can surpass Pascal. In seven months as a world champion, Stevenson already has three world title fights underneath his belt. Stevenson knocked out Chad Dawson in 76 seconds to claim the WBC light-heavyweight title in June 2013. Stevenson knocked out Tony Bellow and Tavoris Cloud, a former IBF light-heavyweight titlist in two separate defenses.
The success that Pascal and Bute had fighting in front of soul out Canadian audiences created opportunities for Stevenson to display his concussive knockout power. Pascal and Bute both had their time at the top. Stevenson may be the most exciting light-heavyweight champion since Roy Jones, Jr. Maybe even Antonio Tarver to a certain extent.
Stevenson is a much bigger puncher, a pressure fighter, a relentless man inside the ring. The two fought in the amateurs and Pascal won both fights. The professional game, as we all know, is a lot different. Stevenson is much too strong for Pascal.