Former RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal of Canada will challenge IBF beltholder Tavoris Cloud of Tallahassee, Fla., on Aug. 11 in Montreal, the fighters’ promoters and Showtime, which will televise the bout, announced on Tuesday.
Pascal (26-2-1, 16 knockouts) and Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) are ranked Nos. 2 and 3 by THE RING in their division, but are both coming off disappointing efforts in their last bouts.
Cloud was last in the ring in February for a controversial Showtime-televised split-decision over Gabriel Campillo (21-4-1, 8 KOs). Cloud floored Campillo twice in the first round, but Campillo appeared to thoroughly take control for the rest of the fight and deserved to win, according to most observers.
“I think that in the last fight, there was a combination of reasons why Tavoris fought the way that he did. We were supposed to fight a right-hander that was short, and we ended up facing a guy that was a 6-foot-3 southpaw,” said trainer Al Bonani of Cloud, whose original opponent, Zsolt Erdei, withdrew with an injury from a bout that had been slated for New Year’s Eve.
“You won’t get that with this guy. Jean Pascal is perfect for Tavoris Cloud. He’s a little shorter than Cloud. He runs around and then comes at you. He’ll fight on the inside, and I think that it’s going to be a fan-friendly fight. This guy’s a banger who is going to come forward. I think we’re a better boxer, we hit harder, and we’ll show the fans that Cloud’s back.”
“This fight with Jean Pascal is a bout I’m looking forward to. It’s going to be what I call a ‘Release the Kraken’ match. Everybody knows I come to fight,” said Cloud, 30, who will be making the fifth defense of his belt.
“What I like about Pascal is that he doesn’t fool around either. When I look for him, he will be there, and the same goes for me. Fans like to see leather thrown with bad intentions, and that’s what they are going to get in Montreal on August 11.”
Former RING and WBC champ Bernard Hopkins, who turned 47 in January, dethroned Pascal as WBC beltholder by unanimous decision last May to become the oldest man to win a significant title belt in boxing.
Hopkins-Pascal II was a rematch of their disputed draw in December of 2010, during which Hopkins rose from two early knockdowns.
Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) was dethroned by unanimous decision in April by southpaw contender Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs), their initial bout having ended in controversy in October. Pascal had vanquished Dawson by 11th-round technical decision in August of 2010.
“First, I want to thank Tavoris Cloud for giving me the opportunity to fight for his IBF light heavyweight belt and to prove who I really am in the ring. He has shown true class seeking out the best challenger in the division, and for this, he has my full respect,” said Pascal.
“Our styles make for the best, most explosive and spectacular fight possible in boxing. Having been away from the ring for more than a year, I am hungrier and more determined than ever to get back on top. Don’t miss it Aug. 11 in Montreal. I am going to get back on the throne for good.”
In the co-feature, Canadian super middleweight knockout artist Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, (18-1, 15 KOs), of Montreal, will be matched agaisnt an opponent to be determined.
Trained by Emmanuel Steward, Stevenson is coming off April’s second-round knockout of Noe Gonzalez, who entered the bout with a mark of 27-1 that included 20 knockouts.
“I am so proud to be making my Showtime debut fighting in this major event in Montreal. I am on a mission to destroy anybody that has the courage to get in the ring with me,” said Stevenson, 34, who has scored 12 of his knockouts in three rounds or less.
“I am not looking for any favors or compassion. My goal is to show the world that I truly deserve to be on a major network fighting Carl Froch for his IBF belt. Watch me make a major statement August 11 on Showtime.”
Photo by Esther Lin, Showtime
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org