Pascal pumped for his long-awaited return to the ring
Published Monday, December 10, 2012 5:21PM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 10, 2012 7:40PM EST
Montrealers have been active on the international boxing scene in 2012, but one of the sport's best fighters and greatest entertainers has been in the shadows for the past 19 months.
That’s all about to change.
Forced to deal with two separate injuries, boxer Jean Pascal was forced to cancel a pair of highly anticipated fights, but the former WBC light heavyweight champ is healthy once again and ready to step back in the ring.
Pascal ( 26-2-1, 16 KOs) will face Polish fighter Aleksy Kuziemski (23-4-0, 7 K Os) at the Bell Centre Friday night.
“I had a good rest. Maybe a little bit too long, but it happened and I’m ready to rock the world,” he said.
The match is a transition fight before the 30-year-old former world champion squares off against WBC world champion Chad Dawson in the spring.
Pascal said he’s not worried about having a second fight already lined up.
“There is no danger because for me, on fight night, I’m not thinking about anyone else. I’m not thinking about Chad Dawson, I’m thinking about Aleksy Kuziemski, then after Friday night, I’ll think about Dawson,” he said.
Due to injury, Pascal hasn't fought since May 2011, when he lost his WBC light heavyweight title in a rematch with the legendary Bernard Hopkins. While rust could be a factor, the experience gained from his showdowns with Hopkins could outweigh the jitters.
“I'm going somewhere that I haven’t been, so of course I’m a little bit nervous, but because I went 24 rounds with Bernard Hopkins, I’m going to use that experience on Friday night,” he said.
Pascal’s trainer, Marc Ramsay, sees a bright future for the boxing star.
“We have a lot of possibilities and options for the future, but for right now to be honest we’re really focused on this fight. We’re happy to be back, and we’ll be at the top very soon,” he said.
Boxing promoter Yvon Michel says Pascal is a great fighter to have back in the ring, because he draws an audience.
“We he fought Hopkins on Showtime, he drew a record number of viewers on Showtime in ratings, and he did the same when he fought on HBO, so he has an impact not only here,but worldwide,” he said.
With the light heavyweight division in need of talent and personality, the timing couldn't be better for Pascal, who proudly brings both qualities.
“That weight class is a good weight class, but for a while it’s been missing some flavour, and I’m ready to bring that flavour back,” he said, quipping, “The chocolate Quebecois flavour.”