SAN DIEGO, January 17, 2014 – When you can get the attention of Canadian sports fans focused somewhere other than hockey, you know you’ve found something worth watching.
Saturday’s boxing showdown in Montreal between light heavyweights Jean Pascal and Lucien Bute is being called the “Canadian Championship,” and it’s got a lot to offer for fight fans south of the border too.
Le boxing bataille will be televised from what should be a sold-out Bell Centre of 20,000 plus screaming Canadian boxing fans on HBO at 10:15 p.m. Eastern Time.
Bute (31-1-0, 24 KOs), and Pascal (28-2-1, 17 KOs) are both immigrants who have made Canada their home. Bute is originally from Romania; Pascal is from Haiti. They are both former title holders, Pascal in the light heavyweight division and Bute as a super middleweight.
Bute was a rising star when he lost a lopsided decision in May 2012 to Carl Froch. Froch stopped Bute in the fifth round, dealing Bute his first loss. Bute won a lackluster victory over Denis Grachev, then had to back out of fighting Pascal last May due to a stress fracture in his hand that had never healed correctcly. He underwent surgery, and since his last fight he also got married. The reserved Bute says he’s eager to get back in the ring.
Pascal is as outgoing and brash as Bute is reserved. Pascal has been nothing less than confident, saying he intends this to be Bute’s last fight. Pascal has gotten assistance during training camp from former world champion Roy Jones Junior; Jones will be in Pascal’s corner instead of working his normal role as color commentator for HBO Boxing.
The stakes are high for this pair of fighters, not only because they are fighting for the admiration and respect of their countrymen in Canada, but because whoever wins will get right back into the mix in a newly competitive and exciting division in boxing. The winner stands a good chance to face Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, another Haitian born Canadian light heavyweight who was named Fighter of the Year by numerous boxing writers, including me. Light heavyweights Andre Ward and the exciting Russian Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev are also big factors in this division.
All the elements are in place for an exciting fight. Bute and Pascal are well matched, with neither heavily favored over the other. Pascal is a more powerful fighter but his conditioning is sometimes questionable. The X-factor is whether Roy Jones provided any advice that catches fire with Pascal. Bute may be suffering from ring rust and will be testing his refurbished hand for the first time. He has a lot to prove and he does well when his hometown fans are cheering him on.
If Pascal comes out strong and strikes early, it will be his best chance of winning. The longer the fight continues, Bute will take over and win a close decision. Whatever the outcome, Canadian boxing fans will get to enjoy having the spotlight on athletes not wearing skates for once, and show the world that not all the action in Montreal takes place on ice. Both fighters made weight, with Pascal at 175 pounds and Bute at 173.6 pounds.
In the undercard fight, Mike Perez of Ireland via Cuba faces Carlos Takam in a heavyweight contest. Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) will get into the ring for the first time after winning a 10-round decision over Magomed Abdulsalamov in November which left Abdulsalamov in a coma due to blood clot in his brain. He has been in a medically-induced coma until recently and will need to undergo extensive rehabilitation. Perez will be fighting wearing Abdulsalamov’s name stitched onto his trunks, and says he will donate part of his fight purse to Abdulsalamov’s family.
Perez will have to get by a hard-punching opponent in Takam, originally from Cameroon, who has won three of his last four bouts by knockout. Perez weighed 231.2 on the scale; Takam was heavier at 256.2 pounds. Fight fans, it’s a terrific way to start what is a promising year of fights ahead in 2014.
See Pascal vs. Bute and Perez vs. Takam on HBO Boxing Saturday, January 18, at 10:15 p.m. ET from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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