Conquering the Light Heavyweight Division: Jean Pascal Shocks the World
I hadn’t heard of Jean Pascal before his last fight. But one thing is for sure, I’m always worried about an American boxer fighting in Canada. That’s not to say that judging might not always be fair, but I do know that American boxers fighting outside the US against a hometown favorite somehow get one (or two) cards that are questionable.
If Dawson were to win, it would have to be by KO. Finally, I heard one commentator make a casual reference to Roy Jones, JR. So, Jean Pascal is being compared to Roy Jones, JR., and an American boxer fighting in Canada. Throw all this together and it makes for a great fight. Pascal is now a viable contender in the light heavyweight division, but for my sake, and all RSR readers, here’s my take on Pascal.
Originally born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the 27 year old Pascal calls Quebec home. From 1998 through 2004, Pascal was an amateur champion and in 2001, he joined the national boxing team.
In 2005, in an interview, he named his favorite boxer as Roy Jones, JR. Before the fight, HBO Commentator Emanuel Steward stated that Pascal can be compared to Jones, JR., minus the speed, but definitely plays to the crowd.
As the fight progressed, I observed that Pascal does not quite have Jones’ athleticism or speed, as his somewhat orthodox style can be switched to southpaw, although awkwardly. Pascal has a tendency to take a few moments off in a round, looks a little clumsy, and doesn’t quite hit in a flurry. Pascal can definitely take hits, but he can’t count on the one big KO punch, and the tendency to relax can get him into trouble.
Pascal’s current record stands at 26-1, 16 KO’s.
Since 2009, he has successfully defended his WBC Light Heavyweight Title four times. Against Dawson, he also earned the International Boxing Organization light heavyweight title. However, a little tidbit, and an important side note to Pascal’s heart and is truly a boxing warrior.
Pascal first earned the WBC Light Middleweight title back in 2009 when he defeated Adrian Diaconu in 12 rounds with a unanimous decision. But Diaconu could not be counted out when the two went at it for a second time later in December 2009. Pascal suffered a dislocated shoulder in the second bout with Diaconu with the shoulder being popped back into place. Pascal went on to win the fight against over 12 rounds. For Pascal to fight injured and to have his shoulder popped back into place says a lot about Pascal’s determination and fight mentality.
With his relatively young career, Pascal did suffer a loss before his 2009 success. Back in December 2008, Pascal went up against Carl “Cobra” Froch for the then vacant WBC Super Middleweight title.
It was the last time that Pascal has ever fought out of Canada. It was also yet another example of Froch staying in England and not much to my surprise, Pascal lost over 12 rounds with a unanimous decision.
To recap the fight against “Bad” Chad Dawson, Pascal at times, did lack energy to finish the fight. Against a quicker, more skilled fighter, Pascal will have to rely on something more than a single KO and well timed punch that would connect. If forced to box tactically in order to win round, Pascal may have a lot of 12 round bouts in his future with a lot of decisions at the hands of the judges. And, should he ever decide to fight out of Canada, he will have to improve. It’s never a good idea to leave fights to the judges, but Pascal has, in his last four fights at light heavyweight, left his bouts to scorecards.
Although Pascal did call out for a KO against Dawson, the fight did end with a TD over 11 rounds. At Jim Lampley’s observation, the judges of the bout were relatively inexperienced with a tendency to judge the punches being thrown rather than landed. In the critical championship rounds, Pascal showed a vulnerability to his fighting style – a lack of energy and defense.
Dawson had Pascal in the 11th round with a well-time left uppercut that had Pascal wobbly at the knees. Pascal was stunned but Dawson failed to pounce and it was enough time for Pascal to recover before the rest of the round. Dawson suffered the cut from the headbutt and the bout was then called.
Keep in mind that Pascal is still developing and improving. He does not have the athleticism or quickness of Jones, JR, but that could easily get better with his current skill set. He needs to work on his stamina, show more energy to the judges that he’s got control of a fight.
In the Dawson fight, I didn’t really get a sense of ring generalship because Pascal did fight all over the super-sized ring. A fighter cannot win a fight by staggering throughout the ring waiting for the round to end. At certain moments during the fight, Dawson’s outstanding technical skill overshadowed the roars of the crowd, but Dawson remained tentative. Pascal barely worked through rounds after taking punches. Dawson had a 3 inch height advantage against Pascal. And, Pascal will have problems when he faces fighters taller, bigger, and more technical.
It was mentioned that within a weight division, there are only four fighters that matter: Tavoris Cloud, 21-0, 18 KO’s, IBF Light Heavyweight titleholder; Juergen Braehmer, 36-2, 29 KO’s, WBO Light Heavyweight titleholder; Beibut Shumenov, 10-1, 6 KO’s, WBA Light Heavyweight titleholder; and finally, Pascal. So, on the horizon for Pascal, he keeps good company with all three light heavyweight titleholders.
Pascal will be up to any challenge, but there is one possibility that Canadians would love to see happen. During the broadcast, the spectators included fellow Canadian, Lucien “Le Tombeur” Bute. Bute has been fighting at 168, but may possibly move up to light heavyweight. For now, Pascal needn’t worry about his future just yet, he just needs to get better and ensure his place at the top of the division.
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