Avenge Éric Lucas: this is the mission that Jean Pascal has taken on and the turn he wants to give to the elimination championship fight that he will deliver to the German Michael Eifert, Thursday evening, at Place Bell in Laval.
On April 5, 2003, in Leipzig, Lucas lost his WBC world super middleweight championship belt by losing a split decision to the late German Markus Beyer, in what looked like a local verdict.
“At that time, I was only 20 years old, the fight had been broadcast on TVA and I still remember my sadness like it was yesterday,” Pascal sent to a press conference on Monday afternoon in Laval. “I couldn’t believe this injustice. »
Twenty years later, the Laval pugilist therefore invites fans “to avenge our defeat and restore our image internationally and more specifically in Germany” by coming to support him for this comeback fight after five years of absence from the Quebec.
Pascal (36-6-1, 20 KOs) even assured that the result would not be a split decision in favor of the German Michael Eifert (11-1, 4 KOs).
“I promise you this time we’ll see the soles of his boots. Treat yourself and your loved ones and come and contribute to the tribute I want to pay to our champion Éric Lucas. »
Would this appeal to patriotism be enough to attract the average boxing fan to the town where he grew up?
First to speak at the microphone, Yvon Michel delivered a vibrant plea in favor of Pascal and his impact on Quebec boxing.
“Jean Pascal is 40 years old, I went to see him in training and he is very, very close to the best Jean Pascal I have seen in his career”, supported the CEO of Groupe GYM.
“Will he fight Artur Beterbiev if he wins? I don’t know. Maybe not. Beterbiev’s coach [Marc Ramsay] says no. But that’s not what’s important. What is important is that he could fight back in the world championship and become the mandatory challenger. Who deserves it more than him if he wins? »
The veteran promoter listed the main contenders for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) light heavyweight (175 lb) belt that Montrealer Beterbiev has owned since 2017. In his eyes, none is more entitled than Pascal de try his luck.
“If Jean wins, are you telling me he doesn’t deserve to fight in the world championship? I think he deserves to go there and be supported. He deserves to have 10,000 people here on Thursday. Will there be 10,000? No, there won’t be 10,000. But I’m sure people will realize how lucky we are to have a boxer like Jean Pascal here. He is one of the last great boxers we had. »
Yvon Michel admitted that ticket sales had been “tough”, which prompted him, along with his American co-promoter Lou DiBella, to “invest [r] more”. Among other things, they obtained an international belt from the IBF super-lightweight that will be disputed by Quebecer Mathieu Germain (21-2-1, 9 KOs) and Ontarian Steven Wilcox (24-3-1, 7 KOs). Quebecers Caroline Veyre (2-0) and Jessica Camara (10-3) will also be there.
Obviously, Michael Eifert, in a red tracksuit, has nothing to do with these local considerations, especially since he understands neither French nor English.
As for his opponent’s desire to avenge Eric Lucas, he wishes in the same vein to “restore pride” in German boxing.
“He wants to follow in the footsteps of all the great champions we had in Germany,” relayed assistant coach Justin Steinforth, who played the interpreters for the occasion. “He’s ready and he wants to be one of the greats in Germany. »
At 25, Eifert will fight for the first time outside of Europe in the pros, a prospect that does not scare him, considering his international career as an amateur.
Eifert anticipates that his lack of experience will be compensated by his greater will. “He feels he wants a lot more [to win] than Jean Pascal. He is younger, hungrier. […] He also believes that he has more power thanks to his youth and he will demonstrate it on Thursday evening. »
Pascal judges that his next rival is simply trying to convince himself of this.
“I have no worries about it, that’s why it made me smile,” reacted the former world champion, a little surprised to feel the “butterflies swarming” in him.
“It made me think of my good years of youth. I know what it is, I know that I am a powerful boxer with a lot of experience. So I am a very dangerous boxer. »
The two boxers were perfect gentlemen for the traditional face-to-face photo.
“At this time, this is no place for bullying. You’ll see at the official weigh-in,” Pascal announced, preparing for Wednesday’s 5 p.m. meeting.
Jean Pascal kept quiet about his virtual appearance in the morning with the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) for the renewal of his boxer’s license. “The meeting went well and I’ll let the judge comment on it,” he said. In its summons, the RACJ cited among its reasons the “good name of combat sports” in relation to Pascal’s refusal to “submit to an alcohol screening test” after his arrest by police officers from the Service de police de la City of Montreal on the night of November 25. Yvon Michel had no concerns about his protege’s ability to get his license by Wednesday’s weigh-in.