Cloud-Pascal bout on the brink

Even after his light heavyweight title defense was postponed, Tavoris Cloud remained at his training camp in Ohio and continued to work, believing his fight against injured former champion Jean Pascal would soon be rescheduled.

But Cloud looks like he's out of luck.

He and Pascal were supposed to fight Aug. 11 at Bell Centre in Montreal -- Pascal's turf -- in the main event of a major Showtime card, and a fight that I thought would be a helluva scrap. But in late July, Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) suffered a right hand injury in training and the bout was postponed.

The thought at the time was that the fight would be rescheduled for October. Pascal promoter Yvon Michel was targeting Oct. 13 at Bell Centre. But Showtime has a scheduling conflict, and the availability of other Showtime dates doesn't mesh with available Saturday night dates at Bell Centre or Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, another venue where the fight would draw a healthy crowd.

That means the fight probably will be called off altogether -- unless some other network swoops in to buy it, and that is unlikely.

"Doesn't look like it will be possible on Showtime this year," Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza told ESPN.com.

Besides a conflict on Oct. 13, Espinoza said Showtime also has a conflict on Oct. 27. Further, Espinoza said he didn't want to schedule a live card opposite Manny Pacquiao's next fight on HBO PPV on Nov. 10, nor did he want to air one Nov. 24, Thanksgiving weekend.

The later into the year the fight is pushed, the bigger the issues Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) will have, given that he has a mandatory defense against Karo Murat to take care of.

The one thing that might open up arena availability and make rescheduling possible is an NHL lockout. That development would mean the fight wouldn't have Montreal Canadiens games to contend with at Bell Centre.

Whatever happens, Michel told me that Pascal -- idle since losing the real world title in a rematch with Bernard Hopkins in May 2011 -- still would fight this year, even without Showtime on board. Michel could promote a less costly bout -- one featuring a cheaper opponent -- and make due with the gate and Canadian pay-per-view money.

"If it is not Pascal versus Cloud, Pascal will still fight in October against TBA," Michel said.