by Richard Cloutier
On May 21 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the light heavyweight world boxing champion of the IBO/WBC, Jean Pascal (26-1-1), will once again face Bernard Hopkins (51-5-2) in a main event battle which promises fireworks. Earlier on the same card, the half brother of Jean Pascal, Nicholson Poulard (16-3-0), will also step into the ring. He faces Jaudiel Zepeda (12-4-1) of Mexico. Poulard will try to get his hands on the WBC Continental Americas light heavyweight title. In anticipation of this duel, BoxingScene.com/Netboxe.com met with Nicholson Poulard.
Hello Nicholson. Can you tell us about your next fight and your preparation?
"I do not really know anything about my opponent, but I am preparing very well at the gym. I have two main training partners. Nikolai Nikolov, a former amateur hope who is very good, and the heavyweight Andriy Ivanov, who will face Eric Martel later in May. With big guys like that, it makes me work hard in the ring. "
You were injured his hand this fall, which had prevented the holding of a fight against Renan St-Juste. How are you now?
"I am fit and my hand is fully recovered. "
In the final bout of your card, your brother Jean Pascal is involved in a very tough battle against Bernard Hopkins. How are you approaching this?
"Sure it could be a pressure, but I take it as more of an accomplishment. For a long time it's been my goal. Jean is the head of the division. Since we started boxing, we always hoped to have the chance to box on the same card. For me it is something I'm really happy about because I have long hoped for it. As far as the cons, maybe it'll be more pressure for Jean. He will want to see my fight and he will be nervous. Me, I'll be more nervous when Jean is in the ring. In fact, it will be more pressure for our mother, who will be on site. "
Does your mother to watch you box on a regular basis?
"Before it was less, but she started to come around a little more regularly. She is interested. "
There have been changes to your opponents in some of your last few fights. Has it delayed your progress in the rankings. How do you handle this situation?
"It's definitely disappointing, but in boxing, you never know what will happen. For my last fight, I was very well prepared and the result is confirmed (Note: win by TKO in 1:17 over Patrick Tessier, who came as a replacement opponent for the American Rubin Williams). I was ready for my fight and Tessier, although he is usually a tough boxer, was not obn my level. "
What you waiting for during the next few months?
"Certainly, my promoter, Groupe Yvon Michel, gives me the chance to box regularly. But I must be ready, because I never know what kind of battle is going to happen. This time I'm going for a belt. So I must be ready at 100%. This time it's my chance, so I must take it. Thereafter it should be interesting, because I might find myself in the top 15."
Can you tell us a little about your firm managers, Eye of the Tiger Management, which counts among its ranks such boxers as heavyweight Stiverne Berman, who will soon fight in a WBC eliminater against Ray Austin.
"Since I associated with them, my career has skyrocketed. It gives me the chance to train without stress and Camille Estephan, the owner, always helps a lot. We should not kid ourselves, without him it would have been much more complicated. He's a good guy for the boxers and the boxing industry. I take this opportunity to thank my coaches and GYM.
It is difficult to interview you without mentioning your brother Jean Pascal. You were present at the recent press conference in Montreal. Without returning to the controversy surrounding the issue of the blood testing request for Hopkins, what do you think of this story.
"All I want is for Jean to KO Bernard Hopkins to properly resolve this issue. In fact, that day, Hopkins did not expect this. Jean simply asked if he wanted to pass tests and basically, if you are clean, why not? Jean is willing to do it and so am I if ever I'm asked. I'll take a test with no hesitation. I find Hopkins reacted quite strongly and perhaps he is hiding something. Anyway we won't know. "
"Since the last battle, Jean is more powerful and faster. If he is patient and he listens to his corner, I think it will stop Hopkins in the 9th or 10th round.
During the last fight, and you were there, were you surprised to see Jean's stamina decrease from the 7th round?
"It did not surprise me that much. Jean is always in shape, but the problem is that he was stressed. What do you want, he was facing Hopkins. Jean respected him very much and he was stressed. Jean works really hard in his fights. He throws a lot of shots. But here, for this second fight, he will better manage his energy. As I said to Jean, you've succeeded when the master becomes your enemy. I think this is what happens. Jean has made Hopkins angry. Rarely have boxers been able to annoy Hopkins, but Jean was successful. "
He is currently training outside the country. Have you heard from him?
"I talked to him a couple of times. He works hard and does his homework every day. He is very motivated and confident. Jean is a champion!"
Note that besides the duels between Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins and Nicholson Poulard and Jaudiel Zepeda, fans will get to see a battle between two former world champions: Adrian Diaconu (27-2-0) vs. Chad Dawson ( 29-1-0). This fight will open up the broadcast on HBO. Also on the program Eleider Alvarez (4-0-0) will take on David Whittom (11-14-1), while Mikael Zewski (9-0-0), Oscar Rivas (5-0-0), Didier Bence (1-0-0), Kevin Bizier (14-0-0) and probably the American Daniel Jacobs (22-1-0) will face opponents to be confirmed.