This Saturday night Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute will finally meet at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, CA after what feels like ages of waiting. The fight was originally scheduled for May 25th of 2013 but an injury to Bute’s left hand forced the fight to be postponed nearly seven months. In their absence, the light heavyweight division has surged. And while this fight is one of the biggest in the division, the winner will have some very good things to look forward to in the year 2014.
In their absence, Bernard Hopkins reestablished himself as one of the division’s biggest threats even at 48 years old. He schooled an unprepared Tavoris Cloud to capture the IBF heavyweight championship and defended it successfully against Karo Murat in a surprisingly exciting fight. Adonis Stevenson decimated WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson with a sensational first round knockout. He went on to do an even better number on Tavoris Cloud than Hopkins did as he stopped him in seven rounds. Just two months later Stevenson found himself in the ring again where he also destroyed world class contender Tony Bellew. Sergey Kovalev rose as an HBO star with 4 KO’s in 4 fights in 2013, including one over the promising English star Nathan Cleverly. None of Kovalev’s fights lasted four rounds. Hopkins, Stevenson, and Kovalev stole the limelight in the light heavyweight division in 2013.
Despite the success of the division last year two of its biggest names were missing. Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute. This weekend as Pascal and Bute fight for the NABF light heavyweight champion of the world the conclusion of the fight will draw a simple result. Win the fight and land a huge showdown against Stevenson or Kovalev. Lose it, and the road to face the best in the division hits a stumbling block. Neither have a simple task this weekend yet for both of them it’s their most significant fight that they’ve had in more than a year.
While both fighters are coming off victories, in their last big fights they both fell short of becoming the light heavyweight king. Jean Pascal had his moment after he defeated Chad Dawson, who at the time was the best light heavyweight in boxing. Pascal would then go on to win a very close majority decision over Hopkins. An immediate rematch against Hopkins wouldn’t go his way as he was beaten soundly. Pascal’s fall since then mainly has to do with inactivity. He’s only had two fights since his loss to Hopkins against less than good opposition. He only managed to get into the ring once in 2012 and once in 2013. Last year’s inactivity was mainly because of his determination to fight Bute despite having to wait nearly an entire year to finally get the fight. Pascal will look to rebound from inactivity as he tries to defeat Bute this weekend on HBO.
Lucian Bute made his first move to the light heavyweight division after he was destroyed by IBF super middleweight champion Carl Froch in 2012. Before the Froch fight Bute was considered one of the most dangerous fighters in the super middleweight division. After his devastating loss to Froch, Bute decided to move up to the light heavyweight division. His first, and only fight, at the light heavyweight division saw him beating a tough Denis Grachev. Bute seemed to be back on track when he lined up the fight against Pascal for a huge showdown but the injury to his left hand in early of 2013 forced the postponement in their scheduled May bout. Bute has therefore been active since 2012.
Both fighters were once considered the best there was in their respective divisions. Inactivity and injuries made Pascal and Bute become ghostly figures in the light heavyweight division in 2013. Pascal and Bute will use this fight to put themselves back into the light heavyweight mix. In their absence other fights soared through the rankings and to the championship. It’s not a bad thing. The rise of Stevenson and Kovalev have given them options. First off, they need to take care of business Saturday night. The winner sets themselves up to get a huge payday against either Stevenson or Kovalev. It’s what makes this fight even more interesting than it was back in May of 2013.