The future of boxing is being unveiled on August 14th at the Molson Centre, as Montrealer Jean-Thenistor Pascal is finally set to fight, after a long delay, American-born Chad Dawson, for the World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Organization (IBO), and Ring Magazine light heavyweight championship. This will be the first time that HBO will host a World Championship Boxing (WCB) PPV event in Canada.
“All the ingredients of an amazing event are here,” said Yvon Michel, president and general manager of Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM), one of Canada’s most renowned boxing organizations which co-organized the event with Gary Shaw Productions. “Good crowd, good atmosphere, and good fighters.”
Pascal, a Haitian-born Canadian, has helped mark Montreal as the Mecca of young boxing talent. His dynamic speed, uncanny conditioning, and eccentric movements in the ring that slightly resemble his childhood hero, the legendary Roy Jones Jr., has earned him a laundry list of championship titles, including the WBC Light Heavyweight belt which he will be defending for the third time.
Though Pascal is usually given the upper-hand in the speed department, an equally speedy and unequivocally powerful Dawson is the heavy favourite. Most predict that Dawson will successfully claim the WBC belt, protect his IBO belt for the third time, and knock out Pascal.
Despite the predictions, Dawson does not have the star-power that Pascal has in Montreal. “[Dawson] has been a superstar in the states. He’s a television star, but he has never had a chance to develop a good fan base [because of his travels],” explained Michel. “Most of Pascal’s fights have been here in Montreal, so he has developed a large fan base.
“HBO has been reluctant to come to Canada [in the past]. “When [HBO hosted] the fight with Lucian Bute and Edison Miranda, they realized the quality of the fighters [in Montreal], and the passion of the fans. [HBO WCB] really wanted to come here.”
According to Michel, the HBO network forced Dawson – who is the sixth pound for pound best fighter in the world according to Ring Magazine – to wait until Jean Pascal’s shoulder injury, the cause of the delay, was completely healed in order for the fight to commence. “This showed the will and determination of the network to have the fight [in Montreal],” said Michel.
“Fighters [in Montreal] that we have now are at the level where we need the support of American television networks to pay fighters according to their value. For this fight, Jean Pascal will earn a little over one million dollars. It will be the first million dollar purse ever in Canada for a Canadian [in a boxing event].”
The WCB HBO event on August 14th is considered as a chance for both fighters to make or break their careers. A win for Pascal will rocket him into the ranks of international superstardom, and a win for Dawson – though it still may not be enough for him to earn the pedigree that critics maintain he hasn’t earned – will cement the fact that he is still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the business.
“The actual picture [of the future of Canadian boxing] is exceptional,” exclaimed Michel. “We are going to make history here.”