By Lem Satterfield
The light heavyweight division got shaken on Thursday, when WBC president Jose Sulaiman ordered an immediate rematch between champion Jean Pascal and veteran Bernard Hopkins. The two fought to a controversial twelve round majority draw on December 18 at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec, Canada.
There is only one problem. Pacal is contractually bound to face former champion Chad Dawson next. Pascal won an eleven round technical decision over Dawson in August. The rematch clause gave both boxers the ability to take part in a single interim bout before their rematch had to happen.
Despite Pascal's contractual obligation to Dawson, the WBC had an overwhelming vote of 30-2 for an immediate rematch with Hopkins. A purse bid has been scheduled for the first week of February. If Pascal refuses to face Hopkins, then the WBC will likely strip him of the title. If Pascal does not move forward with a Dawson rematch, an immediate lawsuit will be filed.
There is a hole in the rematch clause. Pascal can avoid facing Dawson if HBO takes a pass on the rematch. According to Dawson's promoter Gary Shaw, HBO very is interested in televising a Pascal-Dawson rematch and dates are currently being discussed. Shaw is not concerned with the WBC's recent ruling.
"My reaction is that we have a contract, and that the WBC can rule whatever they want. It doesn't over rule the contract that I have with [Pascal's promoter] Yvon Michel. Yvon Michel is a gentleman and I believe that he will honor our contract. I'm not going to go on record with anything other than that," said Shaw.
"Except that I will say that I trust Yvon Michel, and I believe that I have a solid contract for a rematch with Jean Pascal. I have a long-standing relationship Yvon Michel. Yvon has always been a gentleman. He called me today ask me for the dates that they're willing to do the fight, and I have sent a letter off to HBO requesting those dates."
Lem Satterfield is the boxing editor at AOL FanHouse and the news editor at BoxingScene.com. To read more from Lem Satterfield, go to AOL FanHouse by Clicking Here.