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Badou Jack faces tough test in Jean Pascal on Saturday

Image: Badou Jack faces tough test in Jean Pascal on Saturday

By Robert Addams: Badou Jack (22-2-3, 13 KOs) will be attempting to take WBA secondary light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal’s title from him this Saturday night in their fight LIVE on SHOWTIME at the State Farm Arena, in Atlanta.

(Photo credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME)

Jack hasn’t won a fight since 2017

Former two division world champion Jack is on the wrong end of 30, and he hasn’t won a fight since his 5th round knockout win over Nathan Cleverly in August 2017. That was 28 months ago since Badou’s last win, and now he’s going up against a fighter that is seemingly rejuvenated in 37-year-old Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KOs).

On paper, it doesn’t look good for Jack. He’s facing a stronger, faster and more energetic opponent than himself in Pascal. Jack lost his last fight to Marcus Brown by a 12 round unanimous decision last January in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Badou cut BADLY in loss to Marcus Browne

Jack suffered a horrible cut on his forehead in round 7, and he had to fight with his vision obscured in the last five rounds of the contest . Although Jack blames his loss to Browne on the cut, it was more of a case of the younger fighter beating him with speed and power.

Browne dominated the fight from the opening bell, using movement, speed and his boxing skills to build up a big lead. Jack struggled against Browne the entire first half of the fight BEFORE he was cut.

Jack was embarrassed to lose to Marcus Browne

“It was a great camp, I was never sick, my conditioning is perfect, and I’m in top shape,” said Badou to secondsout. “Mentally and physically, I’m ready. It definitely won’t be an issue [Jack’s cut on his forehead he suffered in his last fight]. I was cleared in March, and I’m definitely good. It was embarrassing to lose to a prospect like that,” said Jack about his loss to the 29-year-old Browne.

“I’m not taking nothing away from him [Browne], but if you look at it, I got cut, and I couldn’t fight half the fight,” Badou said. “I couldn’t see, and he still couldn’t do anything, but I shouldn’t lose to a guy like that. Now I get the chance to get the titles back. We’ll see but, of course, I want to avenge my loss,” Jack said when asked if he wants to fight Browne after the Pascal fight,” said Jack.

Badou held the WBA ‘regular’ light heavyweight title from August to September 2017, but he vacated that belt. Had Badou kept the WBA belt, he would have had to defend it against Dmitry Bivol. Some boxing fans believe Jack vacated the title to avoid facing Bivol, who would have been a real problem.

Calling the 2012 U.S Olympian Browne (23-1, 16 KOs) a “prospect” sounds a little disingenuous on Jack’s part, as he was definitely not a beginner level fighter. Jack choosing to devalue Browne by calling him a “prospect” is probably a big reason why he lost to him. He should have seen Browne as a real threat to beating him, because this is a fighter that ticked a lot of boxes in terms of his game.

Badou not ready to say who’s next for him

“All my focus is on Pascal right now, and after that, we’ll see what’s next,” Jack said. “I feel like I’m the better fighter [than Pascal]. I believe in myself, of course, but I want to be the underdog. And I want people to write me off. I love it! Hopefully, I don’t know what the odds are, but I hope I’m the underdog.

“I perform better. I’m 36, we’re the same age. It’s the same thing,” said Jack on Pascal. “He’s been a pro longer than me. He might have more mileage, but we’re the same age. I just look young, but I believe I have what it takes to beat him. I know it’s going to be a tough fight. He’s a friend of mine. We’re boxing friends. This is business, but I believe in myself,” said Jack.

It’s unlikely that Jack will take his chances in a rematch with Browne if he wins the WBA title against Pascal. Assuming Jack wins the WBA belt, he’ll probably choose to sit on it and milk it against beatable opposition, and not take a risky fight. The old and depleted Sergey Kovalev would be an obvious choice for Jack, but it’s questionable if that match can happen.

Boxing fans would obviously like to see Jack fight one of these guys:

  • Artur Beterbiev – IBF/WBC champ
  • Dmitry Bivol – WBA Super Champ
  • Marcus Browne
  • Saul Canelo Alvarez
  • Sergey Kovalev
  • Anthony Yarde
  • Callum Johnson
  • Joshua Buatsi
  • Jesse Hart
  • Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramírez
  • Oleksandr Gvozdyk

Some of those fighters would have a good shot at beating Jack, as they’re all talented. Kovalev can still punch at 36, but his stamina and chin leave a lot to be desired.

Jack says he’ll be a 5-time champion after beating Pascal

“The thing about boxing is you never know what’s going to happen, and you can never overlook nobody,” said Jack. “That’s why all my focus is on Pascal, and then we’ll see what’s next. ‘And the NEW three time champion of the world,'” said Jack when asked what he envisions for the Pascal fight. “It’s supposed to be five-time [champion]. Unofficially five, but three-time, I’m fine with that,” Jack said.

“All of the close decisions I’ve had in the past, everyone who watched those fights knows that those were wins. Saturday night I’m going to win and there will be no doubt,” said Jack. “Marcus Browne is a southpaw and he’s more evasive. So it’s hard to compare. “Pascal is a tough guy and I expect nothing less than a tough fight.”

Browne didn’t beat Jack by being evasive. He beat in every department in their fight last January, and it wasn’t a close fight. The judges scored it for Browne by the scores 117-110, 116-111 and 119-108.

Jack is obviously counting his fights against former IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson as wins. Those two fights were scored as a draw, but a lot of boxing fans felt Jack did enough to win both.

You have to go with what the judges decide rather than stepping into the make believe world of what could be. The reality is, Jack failed to do enough to impress the judges in his fights with Stevenson and DeGale, and so didn’t get the win.

Gervonta Davis vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa will be headlining Saturday’s card on SHOWTIME at the State Farm Arena, in Atlanta. The two sluggers will be squaring off in battling for the vacant WBA ‘regular’ lightweight title. Pascal vs. Jack will set the table for this fight in what should be an exciting night of boxing for fans.

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