A boxer brief weighs 0.4 lbs. At least, that of Michael Eifert in the colors of the Minnesota North Stars.
The 24-year-old German had to drop it to meet the 175 lb limit to the nearest ounce during the weigh-in for his fight against Jean Pascal, late Wednesday afternoon in Laval.
To the applause of his imposing entourage, Pascal climbed the needle to 174.8 lbs, apparently without much effort since he had already dropped to 182 lbs when he returned to Quebec from Miami, 10 days earlier. For a 40-year-old athlete, that’s worth noting.
The two light heavyweights, who will face each other this Thursday evening in the Place Bell ring, with an IBF world championship duel at stake, then lent themselves to the traditional face-to-face.
Rebellious, the Quebecer supported the gaze of his vis-à-vis until he turned his eyes towards the cameras. Followed a small demonstration of bodybuilding where everyone was able to show the definition of their abs. The two then shook hands.
Contrary to what he had hinted at a press conference on Monday, Pascal did not intimidate, or very little.
“If I am provoked, I will react,” said the former world champion a few minutes later. He tried to keep his gaze very steady on me. I broke him at the end because he was the one who turned around first. »
A trivial detail? Not in the eyes of coach Orlando Cuellar, according to whom his protege played the game perfectly.
On Monday, Pascal did not really plant his eyes in those of Eifert. “He was almost embarrassed, submissive, but it was very subtle,” the Miami cornerman said after approving the choice of gloves.
“Today at the weigh-in, her look was 100% different. Pascal looked right through him and never took his eyes off. Eifert then had to turn. In the United States, this is called breaking the gaze. »
Pascal had gone through the same thing in his previous clash against China’s Fanlong Meng, his first under Cuellar: soft at the press conference, bold at the weigh-in.
“It’s part of bullying, it’s a way of showing you’re fearless and determined,” Cuellar said. It also means: I’m ready for you, ready for that. This is an important part. You can lose a fight during a face-off. »
Against the unbeaten Fanlong Meng, Pascal (36-6-1, 20 K.-O.) had taken 10 rounds before getting rid of the rust of two and a half years of inactivity following a positive doping test. The Lavallois had nevertheless managed to finish in force to remove the last two assaults and obtain the favor of the judges on points.
“Fanlong Meng was bigger, probably stronger, more experienced, with an Olympic background,” the coach recalled. He was very different [from Eifert]. And we did that with a 31-month break. »
Cuellar nevertheless assures that the 24-year-old German, with his record of 11-1, 4 KOs. is not taken lightly.
“I can’t tell you what Eifert will bring to the ring [Thursday] night because we don’t know. It is unclear how hungry and determined he is. Just because he’s not as experienced as Fanlong Meng doesn’t mean he’s not as hungry. I’m sure they’ve trained as hard as they can and expect to win. I foresee quite a fight. »
Pascal reiterated his prediction to pass the K.-O. to his opponent, however refusing to specify the round in which he would succeed.
“It’s very bold to make a prediction like that, but honestly Pascal can do it,” Cuellar said. He has the tools to do it. I will even say that I am ready to bet that Pascal will stop it. »
Jean Pascal admitted that the last week had been more “complicated” than desired, with a hearing on Monday to show his best profile at the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux. His arrest on November 25 for refusing to blow into the breathalyzer raised eyebrows among the commissioners. He finally got his boxing license minutes before the weigh-in.
“No stress because with me, we always try to complicate things, to always make things a little more difficult,” said the pugilist who grew up in the Saint-François and Laval-des-Rapides neighborhoods. I am ready for the fight. Whether there are 500 or 10,000 people, I will offer the same performance to the amateurs who will travel. I always give my 2000% in the ring. »
On this subject, co-promoter Yvon Michel continued to be delighted with the response from fans this week, assuring that more than 3,000 tickets had found takers.
For Kim Clavel’s belt defense, some 4,200 spectators had passed through the turnstiles in January, but the needle had stalled in the previous 24 hours due to a snowstorm. “Typically, 20% of sales are on the last day,” the businessman noted.
While La Cage, where the weigh-in was held, quietly emptied, Jean Pascal wolfed down fresh berries before stalling a drink of sugar and electrolytes. “It helps absorb the liquid better,” he said as Angel, his daughter in her early twenties, looked on.
This is another source of motivation, if necessary, to win Thursday evening. And do not ask him if a defeat would mean the end of his career, he will not understand the question.
Stéphan Larouche, who trained Jean Pascal for a few years, does not see how his former protege could bow to Eifert.
“Jean has way too much experience,” he said. He’s going to take the little guy to school. The little guy will find it rough. Jean has seen it all in a ring. He is going to be intimidating, physically strong, confident, in good physical condition. The little guy has a very, very amateur style, not very elaborate, without much refinement. He’s just a headhunter. Jean has a chest full of tools to beat this kind of guy. »
Larouche will be in the corner of Mathieu Germain (21-2-1, 9 KOs), from Mascouche, who is going to conquer the IBF intercontinental light welterweight belt against the Ontarian Steven Wilcox (24-3-1, 7 KOs), from a famous family of Hamilton boxers. “He’s mean and he’s ready,” assured the trainer whose colt has seen four potential dates canceled since the fall. “We couldn’t wait any longer. »