Tag Archives: montreal

Montreal Iced Over~~Lucian Bute vs Jean Pascal

The NABF light heavyweight title Lucien Bute won from Denis Grachev in 2012 is up for grabs for the first “big” fight of 2014, Saturday, January 18th in Montreal at the Bell Centre. There’s no hometown advantage as both fighters enjoyed their greatest success there as very popular assimilated Canadians, Lucian Bute being from Romania and Jean Pascal from Haiti

Their biggest hurdles have been problematic setbacks that have knocked both from their prime form even though Pascal is only 31 and Bute only 33 years. Neither took much career punishment in the ring, yet how quickly they flamed out after being the toast of Montreal, now reduced to a squabble over the NABF bauble. The 37 year old previously unheralded ex-c0nvict Adonis Stevenson of Haiti has eclipsed the both of them in Montreal and in Ring ratings with a stunning year in 2013.

Who’d have thunk it two years ago?

Lucien Bute vs Jean Pascal

Lucien Bute vs Jean Pascal

 This will only be Bute’s 2nd bout at lightheavy after a long reign as the IBF supermiddleweight champ, 11-1, 8 KO in title bouts with a career mark of 31-1, 24 KO. He did not fight in 2013 after this May 2013 bout was originally rescheduled because of Pascal injuries and then rescheduled again. Whether Pascal can make it to the scratch line this time around on the fight date is unknown, but he still scrapes by with a #10 Ring ranking and amazingly #5 by Boxrec. Bute has dropped out of Boxrec rankings because of inactivity thanks to Pascal, yet amazingly hangs on to his #3 Ring ranking at supermiddle. Go figure since Ring will never be able to.

Pascal is the finer posing physical specimen,  yet woefully delicate with a distinct lack of stamina and pop. He’s 28-2-1, 17 KO for his career, yet never hurt much less knocked out a true world class contender in his five years at the top, 4-2-1, 1 KO overall in title fights. Somehow he managed to deck ol’man Bernard Hopkins twice early in their first fight before running around like a flapping headless chicken to let the uselessly flailing Hopkins back in the fight for a draw. Then he let the ol’timer whup him in the rematch that I will forever refuse to watch so as to save a modicum of respect for boxing.

So how much more disgrace can one fighter bear you might ask yourself?

Plenty more if Pascal plans on moving up to heavyweight as he made noises about, but such posing is what the French Canadians seem to be willing to pay for, so in that regard Pascal is a success. I wasn’t going to cover this fight because it will likely be so ugly as to defy polite descriptors, but since both were so popular in Montreal, there it is in a nutshell. Their suns are setting as they make one last run at a money fight.

Bute had a particularly shocking fall from grace when he was stopped after showing little punch resistance to big slugging Carl Froch as Bute did his best impersonation of a deer frozen in the headlights of a truck. He had been a long time Ring P4Per, an elite fighter scarcely needing to even break into a sweat from his compelling southpaw stance he was handling his competition so easily, but Carl Froch is cut from a different mold of the typical contender and former champions Bute had previously disposed. Bute had one good round where Froch absorbed the best he could throw, and then, poof, Bute folded and the damage was done, exacerbated by disgraceful British officiating as Froch and his promoter Hearns threw a party before the standing Bute had even taken a count by the referee.

I dare say a team of 8th graders could oversee a more respectable fight than the multitudes of n’er do wells running boxing these days, but 8th graders are legally frozen out of pro boxing.

Speaking of, I hear tell the curtains may be coming down on Montreal boxing, a shame if true. I’d surely think some youngsters must be in training to have a chance at such glory as has been fought for at the Bell Centre these past several years. Stevenson and the 25 year old David Lemieux look to have plenty more fights in them, so a stay of execution seems warranted for now.

Pascal and Bute are supposed to be dope tested by WADA whatever that means in the elusive world of ever changing testing parameters in the boxing and illicit drug testing cartel businesses. Bute should prevail against Pascal and could stage a title challenge at lightheavy this year, but he’s got to wrangle a decision from the forever fleeing Pascal, so who can say?

Maybe Pascal feels the pressure and makes a last stand for a classic encounter. There’s always hope in boxing land for a good fight, so let us hope for the sake of Montreal boxing they can break up this impacted ice flow.

The Timeless Travesties of Bernard Hopkins

Seldom have I seen modern legends shoot themselves in the foot more than the “alleged” Executioner, Bernard Hopkins. Only the incomparable Mike Tyson and then Floyd Mayweather Jr have done worse.

Yes, I am questioning the veracity of a soon to be 46 years old “Grandpa” as he is now promoting himself after stealing all that shimmers in Montreal and all that glimmers within Jean Pascal last night, ruining a fine comeback. After a very shaky start, Hopkins created yet another stink to his career by whining about the judging that denied him the history of being the oldest fighter to gain a major title that was Jean Pascal’s, the Ring, WBC and “vacant” WBC “Diamond” belt.

The Cards

The Cards

The only thing he has been “executing” in the ring are the rules of boxing and truth and integrity out of the ring. You have to go back some 6 years and 11 fights ago to find a stoppage on his record, an abysmal 9% knockout ratio. The irony of being knocked down twice in the opening stanzas by Pascal’s own identical 9% abysmal knockout ratio over his last 11 fights is a great irony passing over the dim noggins of the usual suspects whining over this fight.

Let’s not forget that Hopkins kicked off his whining early after the first knockdown caused by a Pascal right hand just behind the ear, a legal shot that the ref thankfully recognized.  

Before going further, I’d like to commend the referee, Michael Griffin, a Canadian as I understand. Canadian refs like all hometown refs have a terrible reputation, but his was one of the better efforts I’ve seen this year.

Looking at the record when his decline first begin, Hopkins has a 7 of 9 fights whine ratio starting with the Jermain Taylor series, 78%, so he’s WAY more adept at whining in the ring than “executing” fighters, which doubtless is the real root of his whining. His record in these fights is 5-3-1, 0 KO, so it ain’t Freudian rocket science to figure this is an ongoing middle aged crisis so common in American males as their physical veracity inevitably starts heading downhill.

The end result is a fighter who openly brags about butting open a huge cut on Winky Wright and then mugging him Philly style, yet never once entertained a rematch with Wright who many thought beat Hopkins, nor with Tarver who has a chillingly formidable rematch record, and now Hopkins is whining for a rematch in a fight he didn’t lose?

Has he no sense of shame, or has the magnanimity of being a modern day “legend” completely overridden his sense of honor? According to him, he never lost a fight.

I entered the Hopkins era as most fight fans probably do, willing to judge him with an open mind as I came more familiar with him, so I don’t regard these observations as prejudicial given the legend of the man and the time I spent catching up to the earliest part of his career. Nor will I bother with the host of problems I have with him in older days, since it’s his move to the “lightheavy” division that has boosted his career that he is currently whining about.

My Boo-Boo

My Boo-Boo

Again, make no mistake, I credit him for putting up a nice scrap last night, but the man simply has a swiss cheese number of holes to his “A game” these days to blindly ignore like run of the mill judges who are only accountable to highly subjective standards that give them a free pass to contradict themselves. Carl Froch, Adrian Dicanu and Chad Dawson gave Pascal much closer, more problematic fights than Hopkins did, and Pascal also faded down the stretch in those fights.

I’ve previously addressed the judging issue here after one of the umpteenth “scoring controversies” for any interested:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/boxing-101-how-to-score-ugly-or-mora-vs-mosley-the-no-win-non-fight-of-the-year/

I’d give anything if boxing could straighten out it’s officiating to make it a more visually credible sport, but instead we have the obnoxious Compubox and clones punching out equally dubious “punch stats” that only grow the cesspool and add to the controversy that sees Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions impugning the integrity of Canadian boxing.

Speaking of impugning integrity, it’s well know that Manny Pacquiao has a pending slander lawsuit against Floyd Mayweather Jr and Golden Boy Promotions, so what has Golden Boy done about claiming to clean up the sport of boxing with Olympic Drug testing? Hopkins is coming off a torpid performance against a career journeyman, Enrique Ornelas, and then a travesty against Roy Jones Jr, and now he’s stronger than a warm garlic malt in a championship fight after starting with 2 clean knockdowns on shaky legs?

A cynic might further fan those flames by adding that Hopkins obviously has problems with “slick African-Haitian-Canadian-Montreal” boxers and would have just as much or more problems with “slick Whiteboy-Romanian-Canadian-Montreal” boxers.

See how easy that was? No wonder Grandpa Hopkins has moved from boxing to whining!

For the record, the 3 big fights I watched this Saturday, all my winners got shot to smithereens by the “judges.” I do score every fight that I watch according to the ABC rules to scoring fights, but I layer in a more objective science that allows me to identify most controversies by scoring close, indeterminate rounds as even, yeah, heresy! The more subjective guidelines used by the judges as I enumerated in my above link forces them to “pick” a winner in those “even” rounds.

How convenient!

Denis Lebedev clearly wasn’t credited for his vicious body shots that broke at least one of the super tough Marco Huck’s ribs, yet the stoic Russian preferred not to object  to the hometown decision, knowing that it’s rare to have a fight overturned and he might not want to anger any future judges with politically incorrect venting.

Pascal faded down the stretch as is his style, yet was not credited for his early dominance that greatly exceeded any of Hopkins few best rounds which should have put Pascal in a lead only overcome by knockout.

39 yr old Francisco Lorenzo made a fan of me for life by taking the Erik Morales fight on short notice and winning most every minute of every round and really taking it to another modern legend trying to reclaim past glory who only had one brief moment of success when he scored a flash knockdown. Morales is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions who need Morales available for the aging Juan Manuel Marquez if he cannot secure a fight against Manny Pacquiao.

It’s all about the Benjamin$ in boxing folks. That’s the history of prizefighting. Modern networks, promoters and ABCs control the Benjamin$, the way it was, is, and always shall be with spare exceptions.

Look for a much bigger promoted Pascal/Hopkins rematch in Vegas coming soon with the next Hopkins controversy being stewed up as we speak. He has been party to some of the worst stinkers of this era and means to add to his cesspool.

Montreal Shimmers As Pascal Glimmers, But Hopkins To Steal The Shine?

Jean Pascal is the latest shining star coming out of a golden era of Montreal fighters, and he means to risk all that glimmers against the aging ring legend, Bernard Hopkins, who can strip the shine off the Sun when his spoiling neurons are all firing in correct sequence.

The best action of this fight might well be the prefight quotes:

Hopkins:  “There is no magic trick to this. December 18 you are going to see me win this fight. Not just go the distance, but win by TKO or stoppage.”

Pascal: ”I went to high school and I had great grades. I went to college and I have my diploma. What I know about you is you’re dangerous and you’re deadly but you’re dirty. That’s three Ds, so you failed the class.”

For Hopkins the prize is becoming the oldest fighter, one month short of 46 years, to claim a stake to a major title with Pascal holding the WBC, IBO, and Ring belts with the glittering vacant WBC “Diamond” belt being tossed in for grabs as well.

Be a nice bounty of booty for the old man if he can pull it off, but the sad truth is that with respect for two notable exceptions, the old man hasn’t been all that for a fair number of years now. He’s coming off of a disgraceful travesty against Roy Jones and a torpid performance against Enrique Ornelas who at least managed to leverage his own loss to the ring legend into a title challenge to WBO supermiddleweight champ, Robert Stieglitz.

The notable exceptions where Hopkins wowed the boxing cogsnetti sufficiently to maintain himself in the always mysterious myriad of boxing rankings are a signature masterclass against middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik at a 170lb catchweight in 2008, and his lifting the Ring belts off an aging, bloated Antonio Tarver in 2006. He has steadfastly refused to face any of the legitimately ranked lightheavies in the division since he dethroned Tarver, and now he’s going against a prime aged one in Jean Pascal in the Lion’s own den.

Pretty Enough For Now

Pretty Enough For Now

Pascal is quite the surprising choice given that Hopkins turned down big money against Danny Green to fight a Roy Jones coming off a devastating 1st round knockout loss to Green. Hopkins may not be all that anymore, but he’s still got a cagey predator’s mind and he sees what I see, huge holes in Pascal’s style that can be exploited.

It also helps his risk/reward decision making process that this is about the last big money option left to him, and it fell into his lap, so why not?

Let’s take a look at the weaknesses of Pascal that Hopkins means to exploit, but first we should acknowledge Pascal’s strengths, that of being prime aged, durable, strong, quick and talented with a fiery fighter’s heart. In short, a handful for anyone in the ring.

In Pascal’s only loss against Carl Froch, he fought in bursts and became visibly fatigued as the fight progressed, lacking any consistency. Froch pulled away by fighting a steady, disciplined basic boxing plan that piled on the points at the end. That fight was closely contested as were his fights against Diaconu and Dawson, meaning that Pascal has yet to show any significant class that would vault him over his peers. Most recently, he was quite fortunate to get an opportune hometown Technical Decision ruling at a point where Dawson had Pascal hurt yet again and ready to go.

Pascal’s style of using great bursts of activity combined with his helter skelter ring movement and skittish jumping about that left him fatigued and off balance are all targets to be zeroed in on by Boxing Judo Grandmaster Hopkins. One could almost envision him orchestrating Pascal to leap through the ropes to bung up his previously dinged up shoulder on the arena floor ala Kermit “The Froggie” Cintron.

Hopkins means to use that shoulder injury and lack of balance as fulcrum points to yank his shoulder out during the inside fighting and pop his signature flash right hand to send the off balanced Pascal tumbling to the canvas for scoring knockdowns. Typically Hopkins slows the fight to his pace by use of the “walk-around”, getting the other fighter to follow him around which he controls by flash right hand counters and then resting on the ropes in the defensive mode, soaking up opponent energy.

Pascal will be forced by the home venue and the advanced age of Hopkins to be the aggressor, but it remains to be seen if he can fight a controlled, consistent fight plan with some nuance to offset the spoiling Hopkins tactics. It could be an easy fight with a good chance for a knockout such are his natural physical attributes over Hopkins, or it could be another classic Hopkins stinker, the choice is Pascal’s.

Hopkins has stated that he will knock out Pascal, but Hopkins ain’t the Archie Moore legend he fancies himself as, barely able to ding a bag of popcorn these days, so it would be a slap in the professional face of Pascal if he allows the old man to clown him.

Can Pasqual man up to the unenviable task ahead, or is he just another pretty boy sporting some shiny baubles for ol’ Gollum to steal from him?

Que sera, sera, what will be, will be, so we shall see what we shall see, que sera, sera…..

Contender Star Brinkley Gets Shot at Lucian Bute

This October 15 on a low key Friday evening in Montreal, Canada, former Contender star and current IBF mandatory Jesse Brinkley gets a shot at Lucian Bute’s IBF crown.

Bute is the top ranked Ring and Boxrec supermiddleweight, a Romanian transplant fighting almost exclusively out of Montreal. His style is of a slick, quick, savvy southpaw not likely to lose any rounds against the overachieving Brinkley who has rebuilt his career the last 4 yrs in solid fashion to get to this point.

Jesse Brinkley with hair

Jesse Brinkley with hair

I hate to see a fine, popular, salt of the earth type of fighter get blown out of the water with little effort as is likely to befall Brinkley, but sometimes in the real world, nice guys lose, and there are no better fighters than Bute for him to lose to.

Brinkley will probably be pumped to the gills for this opportunity of a lifetime and he earned every minute that it lasts. It will be quite the experience for him in Montreal, one that he can pass on to the grandkids one day.

With some good luck combined with spot on timing, maybe Brinkley will land a few stingers on Bute and create some highlight footage for himself before succumbing to the inevitable.

Lucian Bute

Lucian Bute

There are of course much bigger fights for Bute in the grand future queue of things since he recently signed a lucrative contract with HBO.

That was unprecedented for a Montreal centric fighter, but the notion is to feed off the excitement of the Montreal crowd and eventually lure Bute in to Las Vegas for a superfight against the winner of the Showtime Super Six tourney, or at least one of the drop outs.

He also has another IBF mandatory, the undefeated Frenchman Jean Paul Mendy who fights out of Paris that should be a natural fit in Montreal or even Paris.

The biggest option would be to move up a division to challenge the very popular newly crowned Ring Champ, Montreal lightheavyweight Jean Pascal. 

HBO would be all over that fight in a heartbeat, doubtless the biggest Canadian promotion ever put together and a geniune modern day superfight. First things first, however, so Bute has to take care of at least one of his current mandatories in the here and now that can be quite treacherous for a champion with stars and dollar signs clouding his focus.

Brinkley vs Bute

Brinkley vs Bute

Gonna be a fun night that also sees two more popular Romanian transplants fighting out of Montreal, Adrian Diaconu and Ionut Dan Ion back in action, so tune in if you have the chance.

A Spritzer With Your Nightcap, Sir

A Spritzer With Your Nightcap, Sir

A Passing of the Torch, Dawson vs Pascal

A rare fight between Ring’s divisional #1 and #2 takes place this Saturday which has all the markings of the traditional passing of the torch of one generation to the next generation on several different levels, not the least being the venue in Montreal, Canada.

The Torch

The Torch

Bad Chad Dawson squares off against local favorite, Jean Pascal for a chance to pick up his old WBC belt.

Dawson won his first title with an excellent performance in lifting Tomasz Adamek’s WBC crown off him 3 years ago, withstanding the highly regarded Adamek’s trademark knockdown and late surge in Dawson’s signature fight. He has since swept the longtime grizzled veterans of the division, Glencoffe Johnson and Antonio Tarver in a classic series of fights where he also picked up the IBF and IBO titles for those who keep a bauble count.

Bad Chad Dawson

Bad Chad Dawson

Dawson has done everything that has been asked of him within reason, yet remains flying under mainstream America’s radar, thus needing to go into Montreal’s lion’s den to lift his old WBC belt off Pascal in a sign of the times for American boxers.

The winner will also pick up Ring Magazine’s lightheavy belt, vacant since Joe Calzaghe retired a few years back.

Jean Pascal picked up Dawson’s old WBC belt last year in a rough tough fight against Adrian Diaconu and has since defended it twice, hanging on with a separated shoulder in the even tougher rematch against Diaconu in his last outing. The Dawson fight represents a comeback from shoulder surgery and rehabilitation, 8 months of ring rust which could perhaps be crucial to the outcome of the fight.

They are otherwise fairly equally matched in ages, Dawson 28 yrs to Pascal’s 27 yrs, and bouts with Dawson being a perfect 29-0, 17 KO, 182 rounds to Pascal’s 25-1, 15 KO and 171 rounds.

Dawson, however, has been at the top longer with more quality rounds against ranked contenders and champs than has Pascal. Dawson is a fundamentally solid boxer/puncher out of the southpaw stance with good height and speed, and if that weren’t enough advantage, former lightheavy champ and now trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad has been directing his training.

Jean Pascal

Jean Pascal

Pascal has to overcome his shoulder surgery and ring rust, but his advantages will be some speed of hand and foot, his hometown, and an unorthodox somewhat freewheeling style that makes fighting him difficult. Dawson will be the best boxer and best fighter he will have faced by a long shot, so Pascal will have to show more discipline and and a better gameplan than he has shown in past efforts.

Should be an interesting clash of styles with the flashy, emotional Haitian transplant Pascal picking up plenty of energy from the Montreal crowd who really get behind their fighters which may well draw out the safety conscious Dawson into some dramatic exchanges with some unseemly brawling that fight crowds love to see in their warriors.

Finally, the new Ring champ will be a young tiger for the first time in ages.

I predict a wide Dawson unanimous decision, but if Pascal has something in reserve he has yet to show in his career, he could sneak in with a dramatic hometown decision with a best effort.

Should be a good’un and could be the start of a much needed series, so there you have it.

Who wants it?

Who wants it?