Montreal stars Jean Pascal, the former light heavyweight champ, and Lucian Bute, a former super middleweight titleholder, are gearing back up for their showdown, which was rescheduled for Jan. 18 (HBO) at Bell Centre.
The fight was originally scheduled for this past May 25, but was postponed after Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) suffered a serious hand injury preparing for the bout and needed surgery.
A frustrated Pascal (28-2-1, 17 KOs), who had not fought since December 2012, took an interim bout waiting for Bute and knocked out George Blades in the fifth round on Sept. 28.
Then Pascal went all conspiracy theorist in his remarks when the rescheduled date was formally announced recently.
“I have been waiting for this fight for years,” Pascal said. “I believe my opponent's team conspired to postpone the fight in an attempt to demoralize me. Believe me, it did not work. On Jan. 18th the ring will be too small for the both of us. Bute will not be able to hide. I will expose him.”
Bute got knocked out by Carl Froch and lost his super middleweight belt in May 2012 and returned for a very shaky decision win against Denis Grachev in November. Bute will have been out of the ring for more than a year when he faces Pascal and is moving up in weight for the fight.
Bute didn’t bother to respond to Pascal’s accusations, simply saying he would be ready for the fight that looms as perhaps the biggest in Canadian history.
“I will arrive to the ring very well prepared. This is a fight that I wanted,” Bute said. “I am going to have fun on Jan. 18th, and so are the majority of Quebecers present at the Bell Centre.”
InterBox’s Jean Bedard, Bute’s promoter, is just happy that they are finally ready to go with a fight years in the making.
“Our fans have waited a long time for this,” said Bedard, noting that 15,000 of the roughly 20,000 tickets available already have been sold. “Both boxers are ready, so believe me, nobody will regret the wait.”