MONTREAL – Only two more days before Laval’s popular Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs) finally returns to the ring at the Bell Centre in Montreal, since his heart-breaking loss 19 months ago to Bernard Hopkins, which cost him his World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight title belt. Photos by Robert Levesque/A.R. PhotoZone
Contrary to his normally calm approach to a fight, Pascal feels anxious and nervous over his time, away from the ring going into Friday night’s fight against an opponent who also boxed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, as Pascal did, 2004 Polish Olympian Aleksy Kuziemski (26-2-1, 16 KOs). It is not the fear of his opponent’s attack – Pascal has never been afraid of another fighter – rather the anxiety of having lost his bearings, not being able to fulfill the expectations of the loyal Quebec public. He is well prepared, as skilled as ever, and he will give his best effort on Friday night.
Pascal’s potential world title fight on HBO against WBC World Champion Chad Dawson, at least for now, remains down the road. All that Pascal is focused on right now is Friday, Dec.14, and his tough European opponent.
As previously announced, Friday evening’s co-feature will showcase relentless Montreal slugger David Lemieux (27-2-1, 26KO) in a 10-round fight. His opponent is 31-year-old Russian Alberto Ayrapetyan (20-3-0, 9 KOs), who resides and fights out of Germany. Ayrapetyan has suffered only one defeat before the limit, losing to the great middleweight champion of the world, Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez, in the 11th round of their WBC Latino Championship fight. Ayrapetyan, as Lemieux, is of Armenian origin. Lemieux speaks French, English, Armenian, Spanish and Arabic; Ayrapetyan is also multilingual, according to his Facebook page, fluent in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian and Russian. These two should find it easy to understand each other the ring.
Englishman Danny "Big Mac" McIntosh (13-3-0, 7 KOs), 32, will challenge talented North American Boxing Association (NABA) lightweight champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (10-0-0, 6 KOs). McIntosh was the Great Britain light heavyweight champion from 2008 to 2009, as well as European titlist in 2011. He lost his last two fights by technical knockout in valiant efforts against aspiring world champions. In May of 2011, he lost his European title in the eighth round to Eduard Gutknect (24-1-0, 9 KOs) in Germany. The judges’ scoring indicated a close fight going into the eighth round. In a similarly contested fight last April in Liverpool, England, McIntosh was stopped in the fifth round by his United Kingdom compatriot, Tony Bellew (19-1-0, 16 KOs). McIntosh’s three career losses (his other defeat was to current World Boxing Organization 175-pound champion Nathan Cleverly) have been to some of the best light heavyweights in the world.
"Storm has so much talent and determination,” said Alvarez’ promoter, GYM president Yvon Michel, “it has been tempting to move him faster. He has demonstrated that, despite having had only 10 professional fights, he can do as good as the best in the light heavyweight division, even against those with twice his experience."
Quebec favorite Kevin Bizier (18-0-0, 13 KOs) will back into the ring for the second time this year, matched Friday night with welterweight Doel "Amish Guy" Carrasquillo (16-22-1, 14 KOs), of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Toronto’s unbeaten Logan McGuinness (18-0-1, 9 KOs), a protégé of Adam Harris (Hennessy Sports Canada), will defend his NABA super featherweight title against Carlos Manuel Reyes (23-1-1, 15 KOs), from the Dominican Republic.
Quebec heavyweight Oscar Rivas (11-0-0, 6 KOs), who has fully recovered from a recent hand injury, takes on 36-year-old Hungarian invader Lazlo Peczeli (4-2-1, 3 KOs).
The opening fights on the stacked “Fast & Furious” card pits spectacular featherweight prospect Marc "Gwapo" Pagcaliwangan (1-0-0, 1 KO), fighting for the second time straight time in Montreal, against Hungarian boxer Richard Voros (4 -10-0, 1 KO), followed by heavyweight battle between Ottawa favorite Andrew Gardiner (5-0-0, 2 KOs) and Attila Nagy Tibor (4-5-0, 3 KOs), of Budapest, Hungary.
Friday night’s event will be available for viewing by fans in the comfort of their homes via Canal Indigo, Bell TV, Shaw TV in Canada, as well as on WealthTV in the United States.
Tickets for the Dec. 14 event at the Bell Centre are on sale now, as well as for the three remaining GYM boxing series shows this season, the innovative and popular "Fast and Furious.” Tickets, starting at $36.00, are available to purchase at the Bell Centre, or at evenko.ca, or by calling GYM at (514) 383.0666. Despite the magnitude of The Return of Jean Pascal, GYM resisted the urge to raise ticket prices.