Former IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute plans to “have fun on Jan. 18″ against light heavyweight ex-beltholder Jean Pascal, who said his “opponent’s team conspired to postpone the fight” from its original date of May 25 “in order to demoralize me.”
Bute (31-1, 24 knockouts) is coming off a unanimous-decision victory over previously unbeaten light heavyweight Denis Grachev, which followed a fifth-round knockout loss to Carl Froch that cost him his IBF 168-pound belt in May of 2012.
A subsequent injury to Bute’s left hand forced the postponement of the Pascal bout, which will happen at Bell Centre in Montreal.
“As you all know already, I will arrive to the ring very well-prepared. This is a fight that I wanted,” said Bute, in a prepared statement. “I am going to have fun on Jan. 18, and so are the majority of Quebecers present at the Bell Centre.”
Pascal (28-2-1, 16 KOs) has scored a unanimous decision over Aleksy Kuziemski and a fifth-round knockout of George Blades since losing his WBC title via unanimous decision to Bernard Hopkins in May of 2011.
“Finally. I have been waiting for this fight for years,” said Pascal, who turned 31 on Oct. 28. “I believe my opponent’s team conspired to postpone the fight in an attempt to demoralize me. Believe me, it did not work. On Jan. 18, the ring will be too small for the both of us. Bute will not be able to hide. I will expose him.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org