Can a former champ get some respect? To hear the way critics and fans are describing Jean Pascal’s chances tomorrow when he faces feared puncher and (WBA, WBO, IBF) titlist Sergey Kovalev, you’d think the man nicknamed “The Krusher” was facing an Friday Night Fights last-minute replacement and not a former linear light-heavyweight champion.
Admittedly, Pascal’s career has been treading water since losing the title to Bernard Hopkins back in 2011. But unlike most B-Hop victims, Pascal perservered, starting with a high-profile win over fellow Canadian Lucian Bute last year. After failing to goad Adonis Stevenson into a fight, Pascal has settled on the next best thing in Kovalev. Read how Pascal plans to shock critics and fans come Saturday night.
KnockoutNation: Let’s get right to the prevailing narrative of this fight. Most critics are expecting you to take a beating and possibly get knocked out because you fade late in fights. How do you answer that analysis?
Pascal: Like Roger Mayweather says, those people don’t know s### about boxing! If you look at my career, I only faded in one fight and that was the first one against Bernard Hopkins. People don’t realize that I was sick and injured in that one. Otherwise, I’ve always been in great condition. And the reason it caught up to me in that fight is that I throw all my punches with bad intentions. I’m not a fighter that will just throw 800 jabs.
KnockoutNation: Styles makes fights, but why did Kovalev have such an easy time with Hopkins compared to your two fights against him?
Pascal: The Bernard Hopkins that Kovalev faced wasn’t the same one I fought four years ago. There is a big difference between being 44 and nearly 50 years old. Your body and stamina changes. Just look at Bernard now. You can’t win a fight throwing less than 200 punches.
KnockoutNation: Your were supposed to get rounds in your last fight, but that backfired with Roberto Bolonti going down from that foul in round two. Do you still believe he was faking that injury?
Pascal: I knew he was faking. I didn’t put power on that shot. I thought I was supposed to be fighting a boxer, not a soccer player or Oscar-worthy actor.
KnockoutNation: Despite this fight being for the three belts, Adonis Stevenson is still the linear and WBC champion. Does a win put you in the driver’s seat regarding any further negotiations?
Pascal: That guy is a disgrace to the sport. It’s a waste of my time to even talk about him. Belts don’t define champions — champions define the belt. A lot of guys have them (belts) but they are not warriors. I want to be seen as a warrior. This is not my job but my passion.
Kovalev’s WBO title and the linear title are my old swag. After [beating] Kovalev, I can get any challenger.
KnockoutNation: Your drug testing request to Kovalev went unresolved. Is this is concern in the back of your mind that you may be getting in there with a feared puncher that has an illegal advantage?
Pascal: I’m disappointed in Kovalev. They agreed [to the testing but then] wanted to choose the agency even after I’m paying. I used the same protocol in 2013 with Lucian Bute and took 10 tests. Why am I the only one doing random testing? It’s a shame.
History-wise, doping has been a culture in Russia for years. Look at the Rocky 4 movie. Yes, it’s a movie but there’s some truth in there.
KnockoutNation: You know you’re a massive undergdog. You’ve fought punchers before, but never one like this…
Pascal: Kovalev looks like he can knock a grizzly bear out. True, he doesn’t have a lot of flaws. Along with power, he has decent speed and defense. But nobody’s perfect. I beat Chad Dawson when he was undefeated and the linear champion. I will prove to you and everyone else why I am the best.