It has been 84 years since Canada declared war on Germany in World War II, but Jean Pascal is prepared to renew the dissension against Michael Eifert.
The two are scheduled to meet TONIGHT in a 12-round IBF light heavyweight title eliminator at Place Bell in Laval, Canada, Pascal’s hometown. The winner of the bout will become the mandatory challenger to Artur Beterbiev’s IBF 175-pound world title. The Montreal-based Russian also holds the WBC and WBO titles.
Pascal is motivated to avenge a loss for one of his heroes, Éric Lucas, who lost a highly-controversial split decision to Markus Beyer in April 2003 to end his WBC super middleweight title reign in Leipzig, Germany.
“I was only 20 years old at the time and watched the fight, which was broadcast on TVA,” Pascal recalled during a press conference held Monday afternoon. “I still remember my sadness as if it were yesterday. I couldn’t believe the injustice that I witnessed.
“There will be no decision here. I promise you will see the soles of his shoes. I am going to knock him out.”
After a career of ups and downs, including two unsuccessful world title attempts against Fabrice Tiozzo (WBC light heavyweight title) and Roy Jones Jr. (IBF super middleweight title), Lucas finally broke through in July 2001, stunning fellow countryman Glenn Catley in a rematch to win the vacant WBC 168-pound championship. In their previous encounter, in December 1999, Catley scored a 12th-round TKO in a non-title bout.
Lucas made three defenses of his title before getting mulcted in enemy territory. His career, however, went into a tailspin after that and never recovered its luster.
Pascal (36-6-1, 20 KOs) is also trying to regain his mojo. Unlike Lucas, the 40-year-old didn’t lose in the ring. In June 2021, Pascal failed five drug tests and tested positive for four banned substances in random Voluntary Anti-Doping Association-administered tests. The news came less than a week before he was set to face Badou Jack in a rematch on the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul undercard in Miami. In their first fight, Pascal and Jack each suffered a knockdown, but Pascal escaped with a split decision win. The Laval-based Haitian, however, could not escape scrutiny once the test results became public.
He denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs, although erythropoietin, better known as EPO, which he twice tested positive for, can only be administered via injection. Maintaining his innocence wasn’t enough, as Pascal was stripped of his secondary title and suspended for six months by the WBA, and the controversy kept him out of the ring for nearly three years. Last May, Pascal defeated Meng Fanlong via 12-round unanimous decision in his comeback bout in Florida.
Even if he were to defeat Eifert, Pascal stands little chance of beating Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs). He hasn’t held a major world title in over a decade and is certainly over the hill compared to the rest of the contenders in the division.
Pascal, nevertheless, has another opportunity to make more money before hanging up the gloves for good.