By Edward Chaykovsky
Last week, former WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal threw a big verbal jab in the direction of fellow Canadian star Lucian Bute. Both boxers suffered big defeats in the last two years and both of them recently returned to the ring to secure wins. Pascal appears to be heading to rematch with WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in March, and Bute is pushing to have a rematch with Carl Froch around the same time period.
During his comments, Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KO) took a shot at the Romanian background of Bute (31-1, 24 KO).
"The fans should put pressure on Bute, since he and [his promoter] InterBox owe it to them," Pascal stated. "He's a Romanian who came to Quebec to make money and he did it because of Quebeckers. It's the least he can do to give them that. It would be an historic event."
Pascal has since made it clear that he was not making a racist remark and simply stating the facts. Pascal, who was born in Haiti, moved with his family to Quebec at the young age of 4. Bute was a decorated Romanian amateur when he moved to Canada in October 2003, at the age of 23, to start his pro career.
The head of InterBox [Bute's Promoter], Jean Bédard, was not pleased with Pascal's comments.
"Let me remind you that Lucian Bute is a human being of high quality and not only in [boxing]. He fell in love with Quebec from the moment he arrived here. He learned the language, he has adopted himself to the culture and the values [of the city], including that of respect. And it is with pride and emotion that he got his Canadian citizenship [earlier this year]. If these words were part of a strategy to encourage us to change our game plan [for who we plan to fight], it is definitely a bad strategy - because it could have the opposite desired effect," Bedard said.