Jean Pascal believes he still has plenty left in his proverbial tank.
Of course, at age 37 it is never too soon to begin thinking about final score before heading off to the sunset for good.
The resurgent light heavyweight king from Laval, Canada—who ruled the roost a decade ago—presently serves as a secondary titlist, coming off a time capsule 2019 campaign which included upset wins over previously unbeaten Marcus Browne and former two-division champion Badou Jack. Wedged in between those moments was the one-time arrival of Mexico’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, who became a three-division titlist after knockout out Sergey Kovalev last December.
It remains highly doubtful that Alvarez (53-1-2, 36KOs) will ever return to light heavyweight, with far more lucrative and winnable options residing at 160 and 168 pounds. Still, any fighter would be remiss if they didn’t at least throw their hat in the ring for a crack at the biggest draw in the sport today.
“If Canelo wants to make history once again—if he wants to claim a second title in the division, I’m right here,” Pascal (35-6-1, 20KOs), the current secondary light heavyweight titlist insisted during his appearance on Time Out with Ray Flores on the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) Instagram Live channel. “I know for a fact, his style and my style in the ring that’s going to be fireworks.”
Pascal picked up a secondary version of the 175-pound crown with his upset win over Browne, scoring three knockdowns before the fight was stopped on a cut due to an accidental headbutt in round eight. His late surge was enough to take a technical decision, and along with it Browne’s record and light heavyweight belt. Pascal defended the strap with a 12-round win over Jack last December in Atlanta, Georgia.
The two wins were a massive career turnaround from his previous fall from grace. Pascal’s stay as World light heavyweight champion at the start of the 2010s lasted just nine months, losing a 12-round decision to Bernard Hopkins in May 2011, five months after the two fought to a draw. The most notable feat of Pascal’s career over the next six years would be a win over countryman Lucian Bute in January 2014. A pair of knockout losses to then-unbeaten unified titlist Sergey Kovalev would follow, along with a June 2017 points loss to countryman Eleider Alvarez.
Pascal turned back the clock later that year, scoring a stunningly one-sided 6th round knockout of unbeaten Ahmed Elbiali. Their December 2018 clash in Miami, Florida was believed to be the last of Pascal’s career, only to reconsider in order to not leave behind any regret once he’s truly ready to call it quits.
Wins over Browne and Jack—which both came after a lopsided loss to unbeaten 175-pound titlist Dmitry Bivol—have Pascal feeling on top of the world once again. Rematches with both have been discussed and remain viable options, but neither carry the monetary appeal or notoriety that would come with a showdown versus arguably the best active fighter in the world.
“Canelo right now is a top three, top four pound-for-pound fighter in the world. You know me, I love challenges,” notes Pascal. “It will be a risk, a great challenge for me as well as a great risk for Canelo but at the end of the day, we want to make history.
“When we leave Planet Earth, we want to be remembered. This is the best way to be remembered, to make history.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox