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Pascal faces Bute in a battle between guys fighting for relevancy

Jean Pascal Lucian ButeBy Dan Ambrose: In a battle of aging Canadian based fighters just trying to stay relevant, Jean Pascal (28-2-1, 17 KO’s) will be fighting NABF light heavyweight champion Lucian Bute (31-1, 24 KO’s) on Saturday in a fight that will be shown on Showtime from the Bell Centre, Montreal, in Canada.

Both guys don’t have a lot of defeats on their resumes, but they’ve been kind of forgotten about by boxing fans due to their time off from boxing from injuries. Pascal only fought once in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Bute didn’t fight at all last year, and in his two fights in 2012, he looked like a shot fighter. Froch stopped Bute in the 5th round in May of 2012, and then Bute had a lot of problems in beating fringe contender Denis Grachev in November of 2012.

Bute, 33, wisely chose to move up to the light heavyweight division following his knockout loss to Froch, but that still doesn’t change the reality that he’s an older fighter in a division that has two knockouts in Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev that will likely make easy work of Bute when the time comes for him to fight one or both of them.

Pascal stopped fighting good opposition after his loss to Bernard Hopkins in 2011, and he also stopped fighting on a regular basis. Pascal is still relatively young at 31, but it’s difficult to picture him as anything more than an aging fighter playing out his string. He has a good chance of beating Bute, but only because Bute is looking completely shot now. But Pascal’s chances of beating Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev are almost zero, if he even agrees to ever fight one of them. Hopkins already showed that he has Pascal’s number in their two fights, so there’s no point in Pascal fighting him again.

There’s really nowhere for Pascal to go even if he gets past Bute, because he’ll lose to Stevenson and Kovalev, and one gets the sense that he’s not eager to fight either one of them.

In Pascal’s two fights since his Hopkins loss in 2011, he’s beaten Aleksy Kuziemski and George Blades. That’s all that Pascal has to show for 2012 and 2013. Two wasted years for him, and now he’s fighting a past his best Bute on Saturday. Even if Pascal wins, he’s pretty well boxed in terms of his career choices.

Pascal can either continue to fight unknown guys like Blades and Kuziemski or he can get it over with and face Stevenson and Kovalev and take what will likely be back to back knockout losses for him. I can see Pascal choosing the easy route of selecting little known guys or fighters that have lost a few steps that the Canadian fans are familiar with.


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