By Richard Cloutier
A record crowd of over 17,000 people gathered last Saturday at the Bell Centre to see Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins, 46, defeat Jean Pascal to become the oldest world champion in boxing history, eclipsing the previous record set by George Foreman. Afterwards, Pascal, 28 expressed interest in a Hopkins trilogy and said "this is not the end, this is only the beginning," while Hopkins expressed interest in returning to Canada to face Montreal boxer Lucian Bute, but the IBF super middleweight champion is under an exclusive deal with Showtime. Hopkins has a two fight deal remaining with HBO, including an upcoming fight against Chad Dawson. According to CEO Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, a Hopkins-Dawson clash could possibly take place in Montreal.
Montreal promoter Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM) has taken some hits in the last few months but Yvon Michel is not worried.
"For my part, despite the recent losses by David Lemieux, Jean Pascal and Adrian Diaconu, who GYM has a 50% share of the promotional contract, I'm not worried. First, like David Lemieux, has only slipped to fifth in the world, and Jean Pascal should not fall much in the rankings, given the quality of the adversity he faced in Hopkins," Michel said.
Also, the Montreal firm counts among its ranks two boxers that can quickly be engaged in world championship fights, with Antonin Decarie and NABA super middleweight Adonis Stevenson. Moreover, welterweight Kevin Bizier is literally knocking at the door of the world rankings. Finally, we forget that the world aspiring Toronto boxer Troy Ross is also linked to GYM. The latter confirmed to BoxingScene.com, he should be involved in an eliminator for the IBF world title against Herbie Hide (49-4-0) of England on the 24th of June.
In July, GYM is planning a gala event in Quebec. The gala will be presented with the participation of broadcaster ESPN. However, as explained in BoxingScene.com - Antonin Decarie and Adonis Stevenson will appear in individual fights. ESPN is coming to Quebec with the intention of producing the show in 3-D. Indeed, the U.S. network has shown a few boxing cards with 3-D technology since February. A fantastic viewing experience, but requires a technical environment that can not be reproduced in Quebec. We should know more about the outcome of this card pretty quickly. Rumors of a gala in Ottawa before the fall, the possible return of David Lemieux in the ring in the fall and finally, the possible return of Jean Pascal in Quebec in December are the other options currently on the table with the local scene.
Moreover, as we previously reported that InterBox has created links with Top Rank, GYM is also changing its approach with the promotional links of their boxers. BoxingScene.com spoke with Yvon Michel about the rumors of a partnership between GYM and the California company Golden Boy Promotions. The latter said that nothing was finalized, but there were discussions.
"We discussed the possibility. It would allow some of our boxers to go there (Editor's note: California and Nevada) and also to bring some of their boxers to our area. I don't have any idea on when this might happen, but we think that we can start putting things together this fall," Michel said.