The frustration continues for IBF light heavyweight beltholder Tavoris Cloud, whose trainer, Al Bonani, claims that ex-titleholder Jean Pascal is balking on a fight that HBO wants for December or January.
But if one Canadian doesn't face him, Cloud might get a shot at his countryman, Lucian Bute.
Al Bonani believes that Pascal (26-2-1, 16 knockouts) is trying to bypass the hard-hitting Cloud (23-0, 19 KOs) in favor of a matchup against WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov (12-1, 8 KOs).
Pascal's promoter, Yvon Michel, could not be reached.
"Here's the problem: Cloud-Pascal is made, and HBO wants to buy that fight. HBO was talking about either December or January," said Bonani. "But the problem is that Pascal and his people are backing out. They want to fight a WBA champ who is 12-1."
Pascal was dethroned as WBC beltholder in May by RING champion Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs), who will defend against Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) on Oct. 15.
"They don't want to fight Cloud. It was the same thing with Chad Dawson. We had a contract to fight Chad Dawson and he fought Antonio Tarver in a stinker," said Bonani. "Then rather than fight us after that, he fought Jean Pascal. We then had an agreement to fight Pascal, and he chose to fight Bernard Hopkins."
Bonani also confirmed a report on BoxingScene.com that the handlers of IBF super middleweight titleholder Bute (29-0, 24 KOs) have approached Cloud concerning a potential match up.
"We were contacted by Bute's match maker, Don Majeski, and I referred them to [Cloud's promoter] Don King," said Bonani. "But they asked me if we would fight him, and I said, 'Yes, we would fight them if the money is right.'"
Bute was slated to face Kelly Pavlik in November, but Pavlik turned down the offer as well as last Saturday's scheduled bout with Darryl Cunningham.
"They would be talking about sometime in November," said Bonani. "And we could be ready for that and we would take it. We're not ducking anybody."
AGING TIGER STILL HAS CLAWS
But after having undergone two separate surgeries to repair a torn meniscus, the married father of seven has stopped each of his five opponents after suffering an 11th-round knockout loss to Wladimir Klitschko July 2008.
"I've had a bad right knee and needed surgery even before the Klitschko fight. So then, since the Klitschko fight, I've had two knee surgeries on it. So for me, it's been about getting my health together," said Thompson, a Washington, D.C. resident who turns 40 on Oct. 18.
"When I fought Klitschko, I wasn't properly trained because I couldn't do any running thanks to my knee. So it's been three years since the loss, and I'm just now starting to feel good again. Now that my health has returned, I have no doubt that I can perform in a good way if I can get these people into the ring."
A 6-foot-5, 250-pound southpaw, Thompson (36-2, 24 knockouts) will try to earn a rematch with Klitschko by defeating Philadephia contender Eddie Chambers in their IBF eliminator, which probably will take place around his birthday in Atlantic City, N.J.
The Thompson-Chambers winner theoretically gets another shot at Klitschko, who holds the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts while his older brother, Vitali, has the WBC's version of the crown.
Thompson believes that he can take out Klitschko in a rematch, that is, if his health holds up.
"Which it should because I take care of my body, play golf, bowl and hang out with my kids. Secondly, I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I don't really party," said Thompson, an employee with homeland security.
"Plus I only started fighting when I was 27, so I'm not as beat up as a lot of heavyweights would be at 38 or 39. I don't drink, I don't smoke, and I'm not as beat up as some other fighters."
The 29-year-old Chambers weighed 208 pounds for his last fight, a unanimous decision victory over Derric Rossy in February.
Chambers was knocked out by Klitschko in the 12th round of his previous bout, in March of last year, ending Chambers' winning streak at five.
"I'm always going for the knockout, but Eddie will present some different problems for me as a smaller fighter," said Thompson.
"I'm going to have to be patient and stay in position to counter his speed. So I think that it will be his speed against my power, and I think that it will be a knockout."
MIKE PAVLIK'S LAMENT
Growing tensions surrounding his son, former middleweight beltholder Kelly Pavlik, caused Mike Pavlik to become estranged from the camp "about four weeks ago," the father said.
"This is about the first time in Kelly's career where I have stayed away from the camp for so long," said Mike Pavlik, who has functioned as an advisor to his son if not co-manager with Cameron Dunkin.
"With work, my own health and everything else, I just thought that it was best that I just stayed away and let them have at it and do as they would."
Kelly Pavlik cited dissatisfaction over the money he was being paid as his reasons for pulling out of last Saturday's super middleweight fight with Darryl Cunningham, as well as a subsequent deal to face IBF titleholder Lucian Bute in November.
"Kelly just turned the switch so instantly, but I really do believe that if I would not have been estranged from the camp, that I could have settled it," said Mike Pavlik. "Of course being the dad, you're always going to blame yourself."
Mike Pavlik said his son will have a difficult time resurrecting his career after alienating so many — including Showtime — with his decision.
"I've always been able to put together an A, B or C game plan along with Cameron, but now, I'm at a loss. Cameron has never failed Kelly. He's always come through. But it's up to the fighter. It's up to Kelly to follow the advice of Cameron and myself," said Mike Pavlik.
"If Kelly continues to fight, and he has told me that he does want to fight, I told him, 'I just don't know how we're going to go about this.' It's going to be hard for him to overcome this and to rectify what has happened."
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com