RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal: Focused on Bernard Hopkins

Exclusive interview by Mike “Rubber Warrior” Plunkett

“Right now I am focused on Bernard Hopkins – he is the target”. – Jean Pascal

Each summer I make it a point to update fans on the Canadian boxing scene. Going as far back as 2007 I had stated that big things were in store for Quebec’s Jean Pascal and that he was destined to one day win a major world title. In June 2009 he won the WBC light heavyweight title, a seeming fulfillment of that early promise, but it would be the next year, 2010, where he’d rock the boxing world; upending the highly favored Chad Dawson in a terrific battle before capping matters with a controversial majority draw with former two-division world champion Bernard Hopkins, a match which saw the future Hall of Famer twice on the canvas.

Arguably there is unfinished business where Dawson and Hopkins are concerned, but the fact remains neither fighter emerged from the ring with a win or with a title belt around his waist, and that Canada’s Jean Pascal was the common denominator in both situations. With a Hopkins rematch signed for May 21st, Pascal is but a high profile victory away from perhaps the biggest and most lucrative boxing event in Canadian history; a highly charged mega-fight with fellow Montreal fighter, IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute. It was a distinct and rare opportunity to talk with the current WBC/IBO light heavyweight champion, a man on the cusp of history, to discuss the high voltage year that was 2010 and to look ahead at what could develop in 2011.

MP: Congratulations on a fine campaign in 2010. You bested arguably two top ten pound-per-pound fighters in Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins. Can we expect even greater things in 2011?

You absolutely can expect greater things in 2011. I am not close to being satisfied with what I have achieved to this point, reflected in 2010.

MP: You defied the odds in your fight Dawson, using movement and quick flurries in the early rounds and rocking him to his knees with a hard right hand in the 7th. In the 11th he seemed to wake up, fiercely attacking you along the ropes before a clash of heads abbreviated matters. In the contracted rematch, what can we expect you to do with Dawson given that in the minds of some there is unfinished business?

I truthfully cannot think, nor anticipate what Chad Dawson will bring to our next fight. Right now I am focused on Bernard Hopkins – he is the target. Ask me this question again after we ink the deal with Chad down the road. One step at a time, I need to be patient and focus on the present challenge.

MP: After unifying the WBC and IBO titles and being named Ring Magazine light heavyweight champion, how were you received by Montreal?

I was received in Montreal and Quebec City, much the same as I was before those titles. We have a tremendous fan base in Quebec, and they support all of the champions. The Quebec fans love boxing and I think they really enjoy watching me – as evidenced in the turnout for my last fight. More generally, one belt or another does not define the unwavering support from fans in Quebec and from across Canada.

MP: The previous perception was that IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute was embraced by Montreal whereas there was a noticeably cooler attitude towards you. Has this shifted some post-Dawson?

Not sure whose perception that was, the Montreal fans have a history of supporting all of their champions, including Eric Lucas, Lucian Bute, and now me. This is not a competition between boxers in terms of popularity. I at least, am focused on developing as a boxer. As I continue to develop, I believe that the fans will be there with (and for) me.

MP: Bernard Hopkins, the former middleweight and light heavyweight champion of the world. You floored him twice in the 1st and 3rd with your speed and pinpoint punching. Later in the bout he seemed to be timing and out-landing you. You retained your titles with a majority draw despite the opinion many fans and media types that felt he controlled the last two-thirds of the bout. What happened?

You are correct, the early rounds went to me, and then Bernard started gaining his groove. He boxed an extremely intelligent fight and I made a few mistakes in my training and during the bout that have been remedied. I cannot talk to the particulars at this moment, unfortunately. Ask me again after this next fight.

MP: You are scheduled to rematch with Hopkins on May21st. What will you do differently?

I will fight a full 12 rounds from bell to bell.

MP: Is a mega-fight with Lucian Bute in Montreal a possibility for the latter part of 2011?

I cannot plan that far into the future with Lucian, right now he is signed with Showtime and I am fighting on HBO. Perhaps one day our paths will meet – that would be a good thing.

MP: Is there anything you’d like to say to all of your fans across Canada?

I thank you for inviting me to talk to my fans. I love Canada – no better place to live in the world. I just want to thank my fan base and also promise them that the best of Jean Pascal is yet to come.

Jean Pascal
Division: Light Heavyweight
Professional Record: 26-1-1, 16 KO’s

Date Opponent W-L-D Location Result

2010-12-18 Bernard Hopkins 51-5-1 Quebec City, CA D MD 12
WBC Light Heavyweight Title
International Boxing Organization Light Heavyweight Title
2010-08-14 Chad Dawson 29-0-0 Montreal, CA W TD 11
WBC Light Heavyweight Title
International Boxing Organization Light Heavyweight Title

2009-12-11 Adrian Diaconu 26-1-0 Montreal, CA W UD 12
WBC Light Heavyweight Title
2009-09-25 Silvio Branco 59-9-2 Montreal, CA W TKO 10
WBC Light Heavyweight Title
2009-06-19 Adrian Diaconu 26-0-0 Montreal, CA W UD 12
WBC Light Heavyweight Title
2009-04-04 Pablo Daniel Zamora Nieva 22-5-1 Montreal, CA W KO 5
vacant WBO Inter-Continental Super Middleweight Title

2008-12-06 Carl Froch 23-0-0 Nottingham, UK L UD 12
vacant WBC Super Middleweight Title
2008-01-11 Omar Pittman 15-3-1 Hollywood, US W UD 10

2007-12-07 Brian Norman 15-5-0 Montreal, CA W UD 10
NABF Super Middleweight Title
NABA Super Middleweight Title
WBO NABO Super Middleweight Title
2007-10-06 Esteban Camou 22-3-0 Montreal, CA W KO 3
2007-08-03 Kingsley Ikeke 23-2-0 Montreal, CA W UD 12
NABF Super Middleweight Title
2007-06-08 Christian Cruz 12-7-1 Montreal, CA W TKO 10
WBO NABO Super Middleweight Title
vacant NABA Super Middleweight Title
vacant NABF Super Middleweight Title
2007-03-10 Lafarrell Bunting 16-2-1 Montreal, CA W UD 12
WBO NABO Super Middleweight Title

2006-11-18 Jermain Mackey 11-0-0 Trois-Rivières, CA W UD 12
WBO NABO Super Middleweight Title
2006-09-30 Lucas Green Arias 11-1-0 Montreal, CA W TKO 6
vacant WBC Latino Super Middleweight Title
2006-06-23 Darnell Boone 10-5-2 Montreal, CA W UD 10
vacant TAB (Trans America Boxing) Super Middleweight Title
2006-03-11 Melroy Corbin 11-3-0 Montreal, CA W TKO 5
2006-02-25 Eric Howard 11-10-1 Gatineau, CA W TKO 2

2005-12-10 Martin Desjardins 5-5-1 Montreal, CA W TKO 7
vacant Canada Super Middleweight Title
vacant Canada – Quebec Boxing Council (CQB) Super Middleweight Title
2005-11-19 Gerardo Soria 13-6-0 Sherbrooke, CA W TKO 4
2005-10-29 James Crawford 40-11-2 Gatineau, CA W TKO 3
2005-10-15 Jesse Sanders 12-3-2 Montreal, CA W KO 1
2005-09-10 Ricardo Kellman 5-1-0 Montreal, CA W TKO 2
2005-07-13 Homer Gibbins 42-11-0 Montreal, CA W TKO 2
2005-06-18 Donnie Penelton 13-162-5 Montreal, CA W TKO 2
2005-03-03 Eddie O’Neal 6-6-2 Montreal, CA W UD 4
2005-02-12 Jesse Londo 1-0-0 Montreal, CA W KO 1
2005-02-03 Justin Hahn 1-0-0 Montreal, CA W TKO 2

Advertise Now On RSR

Purchase Boxing Interviews Of A Lifetime

Pre-Order the Horror Thriller FAMILY SECRET Now!

Leave a Reply