By Rick Reeno
Former champion Jean Pascal (29-2-1, 17KOs) is ready, willing and able to face WBC light heavyweight king Adonis Stevenson (24-1, 20KOs) on October 18th.
The October date was previously reserved, by Showtime, for a unification between Stevenson and IBF/WBA champion Bernard Hopkins. Unexpectedly for Stevenson, Hopkins finalized an agreement last Friday to face WBO champion Sergey Kovalev in an HBO televised unification on November 8th.
Stevenson is looking to return on September 27th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, and names like Gabriel Campillo and Umberto Savigne are being kicked around as possible opponents.
Greg Leon, CEO of Jean Pascal Promotions, sees no reason as to why a fight between Stevenson and Pascal, arguably the biggest money fight on Canadian soil, is not being pursued by Stevenson and his promoter Yvon Michel of GYM. Pascal is also in line for a mandatory shot at Stevenson's title.
"Hopkins and Stevenson was on hold by Showtime for October 18th. Hopkins is out from October 18th because he's fighting Kovalev. Hopkins is out from October 18th, we want in. We're ready for October 18th. Is he going to run away from Jean Pascal like he ran away from Kovalev?," Leon told BoxingScene.com.
"They are trying to fight a schmuck on September 27th. They are talking to Campillo and Umberto Savigne, from what I hear. Rick, you're a smart guy. If they had October 18th on hold, and Adonis would have been ready to fight Hopkins on October 18th or November - why can't Adonis fight Jean Pascal on October 18th? He would be making his mandatory [defense] in the process and we would break the [revenue] record that we set with [Lucian] Bute [in January]."
However, Leon and Pascal are in no way taking anything less than a 50-50 deal across the board. Recent reports in Canada suggest that a split of 70-30, in favor of Stevenson, would be required to make the fight with Pascal.
"Anything less than 50-50 would be an insult to Jean Pascal. Yvon Michel said it best after our [co-promotional] deal fell apart. Pascal was going to get a million dollars to fight Tavoris Cloud - after Adonis Stevens knocked him out and without a belt. When Adonis Stevenson had a belt and fought Tavoris Cloud he made $650,000. So Yvon Michel did a better job at telling the press that Jean Pascal is worth more than Adonis Stevenson than I can," Leon said.
"Right now it's crystal clear that we want Stevenson and Yvon Michel talking about 70-30 in the press is ridiculous. Yvon Michel should know better, because when Jean Pascal was the champion he gave Bernard Hopkins 50-50 on everything, so why would you think that anything less would be acceptable to Jean Pascal when he brings more value to that market than the champion does? We can make the deal in 5 minutes....50-50 on everything...done deal, simple."
"We are ready to fill that void. From a network's perspective, if you lose a major fight you want to replace it with another major fight - not Adonis Stevenson vs. some non-descript opponent that's going to do a rating like Tony Bellew."
Hopkins himself told BoxingScene several days ago that Stevenson should now fight Pascal.
"I think Stevenson should go and fight Pascal. I'm going to put my promoter's hat on right now and I think the fight for him to do is Pascal in Canada," Hopkins told BoxingScene.com.