The wait is over as we will finally see the two Montrealers that have been on a collision path from day one finally step into the ring with one another. Undoubtably, the promoters of both fighters have done a great job in keeping these two great fighters apart, both of them pursuing different, yet similar goals in winning World Titles, Lucian Bute, the former IBF Super Middleweight Champion (Won 31 (KO 24) + Lost 1) and the former WBC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jean Pascal (Won 28 (KO 17) + Lost 2) will fight this Saturday night.
After building a stellar amateur career boxing Internationally for Romania, which included a bronze medal at the 1999 World Championships, Lucian Bute moved to Canada to start his professional career after being courted by a big managerial team in Montreal back in 2003. Jean Pascal on the other hand, born in Haiti, grew up in Montreal and learnt to box in Canada. Pascal also built his exceptional professional career from a strong amateur background, including a GOLD medal at the Commonwealth Games and competing in the 2004 Olympic Games. It was this backbone of competing with the worlds best amateur boxers that planted the seed to the professional fighters that they eventual became.
On a personal note, I didn’t know Lucian Bute very well as an amateur, but when I look back at home videos that I took from International tournaments that I personally competed in Czech Republic and Germany, I see Bute hovering in the background with the Romanian team, I only wish I turned the camera more on to him, a future World Champion. On the flip side, I got to know who Jean Pascal was very well as an up and coming Intermediate boxer when he was just 16 years of age. While, I was on the Canadian National Senior Boxing Team, we had several training camps in both Sudbury, ON and Montreal, QC and Jean Pascal was always there as a junior training alongside us senior boxers. As a 16 year old welterweight, he was sparring with the welterweight and middleweight Canadian Senior Champions helping them prepare for the Commonwealth, Pan Am, and eventually, the Olympic Games.
I saw the talent that he had as a junior and used to comment to his coach all the time and tell him just how good he was, but the thing that stood out the most for me was that Jean Pascal was a good guy, a nice guy, I always liked him. I along with friend and teammate, Troy Ross would watch him box with the senior National Champions and look on as the senior champions attempted to take liberties with Pascal, hitting him as hard as they could, but when sparring one another, they’d pitter pat each other in order to save up energy to once again fire away at the younger future Olympian and World Champion. We didn’t like it and there was nothing we could do as it was something that the coaches needed to deal with, but the one thing that always stood out was the fact that the young 16-year-old Pascal always held his own and gave as much back to the much more senior and more experienced fighters.
For Pascal, I believe it was the years of training with the best that has made him the fighter he is today, similarly, Bute established himself as a great amateur and the crossover to the Professional ranks was natural. I experienced the training expertise that is based in Montreal as an amateur myself during training camps. Our camps were absolutely professionally run with the best strength, conditioning, and boxing coaches around, it is only natural that they have produced so many great champions out of that city.
As for this match, there is no doubt that I’m partial to Jean Pascal, I’d love to see him win on this huge HBO fight card, and there is no doubt that this could very well turn out to be the fight of the year. In 2012, Lucian Bute was on a collision path to fight the pound 4 pound top 3 fighter in the World, Andre Ward, until he was bitten by The Cobra, Carl Froch whom absolutely dismantled Bute in 5 rounds. In comparison, Jean Pascal had an epic war and fight of the year with Carl Froch back in 2008, losing a 12 round unanimous decision. Now, does this mean that Pascal will rollover Bute? I don’t think it does by any means, but I do think that just on that one fight alone, you might want to give the edge to Pascal. Bute has a bigger knockout ratio, but Pascal’s pedigree of well known fighters easily surpasses that of Bute.
Who knows what will happen Saturday night as styles make fights and Bute’s tall and long boxing style might cause immense issues for the shorter, more compact Pascal. Having said that, Pascal has that explosive power that might just bust through Bute and make memories of the Froch fight come back in a hurry!