By Keith Idec
According to Jean Pascal, you need not look any further than how they fared against Carl Froch to determine the difference between him and Lucian Bute.
England’s Froch defeated Pascal (28-2-1, 17 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round super middleweight match in December 2008 in Nottingham, England, Froch’s hometown. Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) brutalized Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) on his way to a fifth-round technical knockout in their IBF super middleweight title fight in May 2012, also in Nottingham.
“If you look at my fight against Carl Froch and the Bute-Carl Froch fight, it’s day and night,” Pascal said. “It’s very different. You can see I’m the tougher guy and I can take shots, I can give back. That’s why I don’t think Bute will try to brawl with me. He’s going to probably box.”
The 31-year-old Pascal, a slight favorite entering their HBO main event, still doesn’t think that’ll enable Bute, 33, to record what would arguably be the most noteworthy win of his 10-year pro career on Saturday night at a sold-out Bell Centre in Montreal, the adopted hometown of both boxers. But Pascal expects to encounter a confident Bute, despite the Froch fiasco and the Romanian southpaw’s subsequent substandard performance in his following fight, a 12-round unanimous-decision victory over Russia’s Denis Grachev (13-2-1, 8 KOs) in November 2012.
“Honestly, Bute is a good fighter and a great champion,” said Pascal, a native of Haiti. “The only thing is, you know, he never faced A-plus fighters. The only time he faced an A-plus fighter, against Carl Froch, he got destroyed. But maybe, you know, that was an off night for him. Maybe it was because he went to England. We don’t know.
“Against Grachev, it wasn’t a good performance, but probably because of a lack of confidence. Now he had a long layoff, a 14-month layoff, so I feel that he could get his confidence back. So right now, I’m ready to face the best Bute.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.