Almost two weeks following the unexpected tweet from Floyd Mayweather Jr. that negotiations for his May 4 fight were reaching an end with Devon Alexander, we now get another surprise curve ball hurled at us involving a potential Canadian super-fight between Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal. While the Mayweather incident may have likely been a negotiation tactic to put pressure on Robert Guerrero in order to lower his asking price, the reason behind the unusual timing of the Bute-Pascal announcement is perhaps more obvious.
Reports began swirling yesterday that a deal is in place for former IBF super middleweight champion Bute (31-1, 24 KO's) to fight former WBC light heavyweight titleholder Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KO's) on a date to be determined. Pascal promoter Yvon Michel has made it clear that plans are only in the infancy phase and acknowledged there are several variables that need to be evaluated before they can proceed.
No such variable is greater than that of the May 25 fight that has been scheduled between Pascal and WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (31-2, 17 KO's). The bout, a rematch of their August 2010 clash where Pascal won by an eleventh round technical decision after Dawson suffered a cut from an accidental clash of heads, was originally supposed to take place on March 9. However, it was postponed after Pascal injured his shoulder in a unanimous 10-round decision win against Aleksy Kuziemski on Dec. 14 and needed additional time to recover.
This was not the first time a scheduled fight was postponed due to a Pascal injury. The Canadian pulled out of a fight against IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud last summer after injuring his right hand. The circumstances surrounding that cancelation were equally bizarre as was the national conference call to promote the fight that was suddenly called off by email just moments before it had been scheduled to start.
A Twitter war ensued where Cloud accused Pascal of lying about a future rescheduled date with the champion. As it turned out, the fight was never rescheduled due to conflicts and Cloud wound up sitting out the rest of the year while Pascal made a deal with Dawson.
While there may be more of a public demand for Bute-Pascal, the manner in which this has been handled can be perceived as unprofessional and disrespectful. As Dan Rafael from ESPN.com points out, both fighters are finally poised to cash in on this mega fight before it goes sour given their current circumstances. The 32-year old Bute is trying to rebuild his career after getting annihilated by Carl Froch last May and Pascal can not stay healthy long enough to keep active as he hits 30 years of age. The general sense is now or never at the expense of a previously agreed upon deal with Dawson who was again willing to travel to Montreal, this time as reigning champion to defend his title.
As is often the case in boxing, it comes down to money. It is reported that Pascal would earn $700,000 to face Dawson compared to over $2 million for a Bute clash. Neither fighter prefers to venture outside the comforts of their home in Canada. Ironically, when they finally spread their wings, both lost to Carl Froch as visitors in the United Kingdom and will likely not put themselves in that kind of position again. A potential Bute-Froch rematch is expected to take place in Montreal and Pascal has never fought outside of Quebec since 2008 after his unanimous decision loss to Froch.
We shall see what, if anything, materializes from this latest pitch.
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