Jean Pascal (left) lost his light heavyweight title to Bernard Hopkins in 2011. (Rogerio Barbosa/AFP/Getty Images)
In what will be perhaps the biggest fight in Canadian boxing history, former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal will take on former super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute on May 25th, promoters of the event announced on Friday.
Neither Pascal, who is from Haiti, or Bute, a native of Romania, were born in Canada. But both have been living and training there for years and both routinely draw huge crowds in Montreal and Quebec City.
“This fight will mark an historic moment for boxing in Canada,” said Yvon Michel, Pascal’s promoter. “Emotions will be high and the memories will be engraved in the collective memory forever.”
Added Bute’s promoter, Jean Bedard, “This is the fight that everyone has been waiting for, even the casual fan. It was an honor to help finalize it. All parties were anxious to reach an agreement and now boxing fans across the World can expect a spectacular show on May 25th.”
Both Pascal (27-2) and Bute (31-1) need a big win. In 2011, Pascal lost his light heavyweight title to Bernard Hopkins. Injuries sidelined him for the next 18 months. Pascal returned last December, outpointing Aleksy Kuziemski. Pascal, 30, attended Hopkins's win over Tavoris Cloud earlier this month and declared his interest in a third fight with the 48-year old Hopkins.
Last May, Bute, 33, lost his undefeated record and IBF title in a knockout loss to Carl Froch. He returned to outpoint Denis Grachev last November in a very uninspired performance. Bute had the option to hold a rematch with Froch but instead elected to move up to light heavyweight to face Pascal.
According to promoters, the venue and television outlets will be announced at a later date.
-- Chris Mannix