Officials at HBO are negotiating with the promoters of IBF light heavyweight titleholder Tavoris Cloud and ex-beltholder Jean Pascal for a bout that would take place on Dec. 17 likely before Pascal’s partisan fans at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
In the past, however, Cloud (23-0, 19 knockouts) and his trainer, Al Bonani, claimed that Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) had been trying to bypass the unbeaten titleholder in favor of a matchup against WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov (12-1,8 KOs).
“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.”
But Pascal’s promoter Yvon Michel took umbrage at Bonani’s assertion.
“Contrary to what Al Bonnani says, Jean Pascal wants to fight Tavoris Cloud. He’s not afraid of anybody. It’s funny that a guy likie Bonani would claim that Jean Pascal is afraid,” said Michel.
“Although Cloud has a belt around him, he hasn’t got the stature of Jean Pascal. If you look at Jean Pascal’s resume, he has fought much higher quality of opponents than Tavoris Cloud has. So there is no way that Cloud has beaten anyone like Jean Pascal has fought in the last six fights.”
Pascal handed Dawson his lone defeat by 11th-round technical decision in August of last year.
“Jean Pascal fought Carl Froch when Froch was undefeated, and he fought him in his own town of Nottingham in England. And then he fought Adrian Diaconu, who was undefeated and the WBC light heavyweight champion and also gave him a rematch [won while Pascal fought with an injured shoulder,]” said Michel.
“And then he fought Chad Dawson, who was an undefeated super star in the light heavyweight division at the time that he beat him. And then he fought twice against Bernard Hopkins. And, yet, this guy has the disrespect to say that Jean Pascal might be scared?”
MITCHELL’S MAYHEM DELAYED
The 29-year-old Mitchell (22-0-1, 16 knockouts) was pursuing his eighth straight stoppage, his 10th knockout in his past 11 fights and his 21st consecutive win as a precursor to the junior welterweight main event that was to feature Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs) of Argentina and Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) of Gilroy, Calif.
Considered to be among those with America’s next-best chance at a heavyweight crown, Mitchell’s debut on HBO was to follow his first-ever appearance on Showtime, when he stopped Evans Quinn in the first round in May.
But on Aug. 10, Guerrero suffered a shoulder injury that forced the cancellation of the entire card.
“I am in tremendous shape. I was ready to fight three days ago. Normally, I like like to be ready to fight 10 days out, and then, it’s just a matter of maintaining my conditioning and not overtraining. So I had already put in the most difficult part of the training,” said Mitchell, who was featured on the front page of The Washington Post’s sports section last month.
“I am in tip-top shape. I was telling my trainer that I was tired of training and that I was ready to fight. So it’s very disappointing, what has happened, but it’s boxing, and some things you just can’t control. That’s not going to deter me from being ready for my next fight.”
Mitchell’s promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, is attempting to reschedule his clash with the 31-year-old Mollo (20-3-1, 12 KOs) for Sept. 16 in Las Vegas — the day before WBC welterweight titleholder Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) is to defend his belt against Floyd Mayweather. Jr. (41-0, 25 KOs) at the MGM Grand on HBO Pay Per View.
“I just know that my team is trying to get me a fight sometime in September. Nothing is solidified,” said Mitchell. “But they’re just trying to get me a date in September. That’s all that I know right now. So I’m just going to stay in training.”
Mollo is 1-2-1 in his past four fights, and is coming off of October’s eight-round draw with Gary Gomez.
Mollo was stopped once in the fourth round of a May, 2006 bout by DaVarryl Willliamson, and lost a unanimous 12-round decision to former contender, Andrew Golota.
“I just want to be on television again and to have the opportunity to show the world what I can do,” said Mitchell. “I am ready to fight, and I just want to fight, and that’s the bottom line.”
GUERRERO WAS ON HIS GAME
“Robert was just dominating the sparring sessions, and if you would have seen his body, I mean, we were so confident in this fight,” said Santos.
“I don’t think that I’ve been any more confident for any fight that Robert’s ever been in than I was for this fight.”
“Robert just threw a freak punch from a weird angle, and he tried really hard to suck it up,” said Santos. “But once I saw that he couldn’t move his arm two inches off of his side, I was like, ‘Oh, Man, this is not good.’”
Guerrero is expected to receive final prognosis on Monday after being examined by Dr. Michael Dillingham, the San Francisco 49ers’ team physician.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com